Top positive review
17 of 17 people found this helpful
Adds some extras to the Home Edition
on 12 November 2012
Acronis True Image is a program I first discovered several years ago when the software I had used for a few years was quite suddenly discontinued. I have now used it for many years and find it quite indispensable. I have recommended it to many friends and relatives, several of whom have now become dedicated users.
The Plus Pack adds some extra options to the standard version, specifically allowing files to be backed up on one drive and restored to another and it need not be of the same size. It also allows restoration to a completely different PC. Not every user will need these additions, and in that instance, the standard version will suffice. If buying this Pack as an add-on to a previously purchased standard version, it will need the supplied serial number to be applied for activation.
On initial start-up you will be presented with a four-tab menu comprising Get Started, Backup and Recovery, Synchronisation and finally Tools and utilities. This simplifies the various groups of functions and mostly presents associated items together. Tools and utilities comprises a mixed bag of items that don't really fit anywhere else. You will need the serial number provided for initial installation and later in the event that it needs to be re-installed.
Its most obvious and probably most often-used function will be to perform backups which can either be disk-based on a complete drive or partition, or a data backup of certain directories. You can have a mixture of both, if that is what you want, schedule them to run daily, weekly or monthly at a specific time and day of the week. Provided that you use a distinctive name for the different files, you can have as many different backup series as you wish. It will allow either full (standalone and separate) backups or an incremental series where only the changes from one period to the next are backed-up after an initial full backup. Obviously, in the event of a disk failure, you can recover your data and place it back on the original drive. Although its files are in a specialised and compact format, it is possible to open them and to extract a single file, directory or several in the event that something may have been accidentally deleted.
Acronis True Image has one ability that many others do not; it can backup open files without any damage to the current state of the file and without needing to reboot soon after the program starts doing its thing. Consequently, you do not need to stop doing whatever you are doing if the backup on that drive is about due, has started or is part-way through to completion. This saves a considerable amount of time not needing to shut things done correctly, reboot the system for the backup and again when it is finished.
I would strongly recommend the purchase of a fairly large dedicated hard drive for the backup files that will created. Apart from the immediate issue of having the files on Drive C which would be obviously lost should the drive crash, Acronis will not permit it and insists on a distinct and separate target drive. It could be a drive used for another purpose as long as there is sufficient spare capacity; 2TB is the smallest I would suggest as individual files can be quite large, especially if movies are included and series can soon build to be very sizable. I would not suggest initially backing up to DVD or Blu-ray disk, but you can copy a file or a small series to such a disk once written to a hard drive.
Other functions will allow a drive to be cloned in the event that you may need to replace a smaller one with a larger one. It can also be set to substitute for Windows System Backup.
This is a backup tool that is, in my opinion, the best of those currently available. However, it may not be the simplest to use and it does have a short associated learning curve. However, it is very powerful and definitely worth spending a little time in order to better acquaint yourself with it. You will definitely benefit from spending that time.
One function will allow creation and burning to CD of a recovery disk which can be used in the event of a hard drive failure to rebuild the system or any single drive. This program has got me out of trouble on many occasions and allowed recovery of my system when it had crashed after a power cut or after I or an occasional user I had allowed to use it had done something stupid. The 2013 edition is quite compatible with Windows 8. You can, in the event of a version update, install it over the older version and all you backup jobs will be automatically transferred or converted if needed. If you have spent some time carefully setting up specific back-up jobs, you may not want to repeat that unnecessarily.
I give this my strongest possible recommendation.