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on 15 February 2013
I received ATI 2013 as a present so I'm reviewing as a user and not the buyer.
I had previously used ATI 2010 on Windows XP and found it to be very good so was keen to have ATI 2013 on my new Windows 7 computer. My first impressions were good. The user interface is very good and intuitive to use. Unlike backups using Windows Live Backup you can access the individual files backed up. I found this very useful with ATI2010 when I had accidentally deleted some files.
I started out by doing backups of Partitions, Documents including photos, and Emails. I found it possible and easy to direct specific backup types to different hard drives, internal and external.

The problems started when I attempted Windows LiveMail backups which all failed. After trying different approaches I got onto Acronis support and then a 3 week phase of communications started with more than 40 Emails exchanged and 2 long Remote Assistance sessions. I uploaded Process Monitor Logfiles (typically 130MB zipped) and Task Manager Dump Files to aid Acronis' specialists to identify the cause.

Eventually on the second Remote Assistance session their specialist found that the failures were caused by 2 of the Windows LiveMail Inbox subfolders I had created. At this point I was happy to pinpoint the specific root cause of the backup failures. By removing various types of Emails I found that the failed backups were caused by Emails received with photo attachments. Other attachments such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint did not cause failures nor did Emails with photo attachments in the `Sent' box or .eml messages. I removed the inbox files with photo attachments and the backups were successful. I have now created an Inbox subfolder for `Email with photo attachments' and exclude these Emails from the backups. All other Email folders can be backed up.

I found Acronis support to be perseverant, perhaps a little slow at times due to complexity of the problem, and very helpful in providing information to create the logfiles etc. The Acronis KB was also very useful. Acronis has assured me I will receive a software update when the problem has been resolved.

The bug in this software prevents me from awarding 5 stars, but ATI 2013 is worthy of 4 stars because of its otherwise good performance on other backups and the help from their support department.
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on 16 June 2013
Like some glamorous stars, this package looks good superficially, but day to day use reveals its many weaknesses.

On the plus side I was able to successfully recover files and disc images with it. However, it soon became frustrating to use and made me feel anxious, as above everything else, a recovery package must inspire confidence. Acronis True Image 2013 failed on that.

This software gets very good reviews, but I doubt whether the testers actually try it for long, or test it thoroughly. It ticks many boxes, as it can do many things, so receives a high score. In fact it is full of bugs. Like, for example, when using the recovery disc, if you move a window it does not repaint properly. Like when setting the number of incremental backups before the next full backup, and it gets it wrong. Like when I added the update patch and lost my internet connection (I restored and retried 3 times, but this happened every time).

It is also heavy on the computer's resources, and slow to respond.

I have changed now to EaseUS ToDo Backup Home 6.0, and after exhaustive testing have found it rock solid, stable and reliable. It doesn't do quite as many things as Acronis (almost though) but it does what it does reliably. I would not recommend Acronis True Image 2013.
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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.

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.

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 claimed to be quite compatible with Windows 8 (however, see Postscript below). 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.

Postscript @ 06-2013
++++++++++++++++++++

Although being a user of this product and its previous versions for many years, I have not needed to ever seek Technical Support until now. The most recent 6514 build adds support for Windows 8 but has in the process apparently broken the support for Secure Boot, which worked correctly in the previous 5551 build, and that most Windows 8 PCs have turned on by default although it can be disabled in BIOS with some (but not mine). In attempting to resolve an encountered issue, for the first time ever, the Recovery procedure failed and I sought support to resolve it. Despite being recently coerced into buying an additional licensed copy, I am told that free support expires after 30 days and there is then a £10 or 10 Euro fee per incident. The consequence of this issue is that, although it is still possible to recover data backups, it is no longer posible with many Windows 8 installations to recover the working partition. You therefore will need to rely upon Windows' own recovery solutions or those of the PC manufacturer until such time as Acronis are able or deem it appropriate to fix those elements of the software which are currently broken.

I cannot any longer give a solid recommendation to this product and haved reduced my star rating accordingly.
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on 6 July 2013
Looks like Acronis has improved this software since I last bought it. It now supports and compliments the Windows 8 operating system. I always liked the idea of having a compressed password protected backup the can remotely transfer over to my external 2TB NAS drive, even though my NAS can do the backup feature, it cannot do the compression or password protection part.
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on 15 July 2013
I would recommend this program for safeguarding data on hard drives. Although there are many options available, i mostly use the "Clone Drive" facility whereby I make a duplicate copy of my hard drive onto an external USB drive. I thus have complete protection against any kind of data failure, whether it be due to software corruption, virus infection or a physical failure of the internal drive. Ideally, one should have two external drives, in case of failure of one of your backups. As one data security expert has said, "If you haven't three copies of your data, then you do not have any data at all!" So this is most definitely a data life-saver. It is easy to use and provides many other options to the one just described, a very versatile and useful package indeed.

My only reservation is that each version of Acronis is suitable for only a very limited number of versions of the operating system. So, as I upgrade the operating system, so I need to repeatedly buy new copies of Acronis. Hence the four star rating as opposed to five.
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on 15 April 2013
Had purchased Acronis True Image 2010 and it was very good so I thought I could not go wrong with the new release
Wish I had not bought it, after installing I kept getting error messages about "comm stop working" and many program would not load
after I had a look on the internet I found many people had had the same problem and there was no solution I could find so I had to uninstall it, £26 for nothing!!.
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I'm sure this must be me but I rate myself as very capable with computers. Three times now I've had to try to recover a PC using Acronis and, clicking through the Recovery Wizard, choosing everything according to instructions, I get to the "Destination Drive" (i.e. the one to recover to) and it's greyed out. I spoke to a PC expert who walked me though but to no avail. Fortunately I was only changing to a new SSD hard drive so there was no disaster to recover from but it's taught me a lesson. I downloaded and installed the free version of Paragon 2013, ran it and, what do you know - worked first time on two computers.

Really - a disaster recovery program should be straightforward to use and I cannot therefore recommend Acronis, even though I've been using it for years! Well done Paragon. You get my vote.
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on 4 May 2013
There are already some very helpful customer reviews of Acronis True Image, so I would just like to add that if you're being put off by the negative comments of others, you may have the wrong impression of this product. Acronis True Image is probably the most important program you need on a computer, and if you're just a normal user running Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium, (I haven't tried Windows 8) I think you will find it money well spent. An external USB-connected hard drive and a 'boot' disc will also be needed. The most difficult aspect of Acronis True Image 2013 is in knowing how to use it. Here is a procedure which I have followed to successfully backup my computer and recover it to an earlier time. The backup type is Full, with date and time included in the filename. Backup archive filesize is about 40 GB. Acronis recommend that after having created and validated a backup archive, you should then start the computer using the boot disc and validate the backup archive in the 'recovery environment' as well. This should ensure that a future recovery operation will be successful.

System software is Windows 7 (64-bit) Home Premium
Computer is Acer 5749 with volume labels Acer, PQSERVICE and SYSTEM RESERVED on drive C:.
The backup archive file is saved on partition 1(E:) of a My Passport external drive
Windows headers in the procedures below are shown [in brackets]

Backing up procedure
Connect external hard drive
Start Acronis True Image 2013

Step 1
[True Image 2013 by Acronis]
Click Disk and partition backup

Step 2
[Disk Backup]
Click Switch to disk mode

Step 3
[Disk Backup]
Change the Backup name to DiskBackup

Step 4
[Disk Backup]
Click Disk backup options

Step 5
[Disk Backup Options]
Click Validation
Tick the box Validate backup when it is created
Tick the box Save the settings as default
Click the Backup scheme tab

Step 6
[Disk Backup Options]
Set Backup scheme to Custom scheme
Set Backup method to Full
Tick Save the settings as default
Click the Notifications tab

Step 7
[Disk Backup Options]
Tick the box Show notification messages on insufficient free space
Change Notify me when free disk space is less than: to [50 ][GB ]
Tick the box Save the settings as default
Click OK

Step 8
[Disk Backup]
Click the down arrow in the Destination box, then click Browse.

Step 9
[Browse for Destination]
Expand Computer
Expand My Passport 1 (E:)
Expand My backups (default folder)
Click DiskBackup (default folder)
The File name box shows DiskBackup
Click Add, Add date
Click Add, Add time
The File name box shows DiskBackup@date@@time@
Click OK and go to Step 10

Note:
If this window doesn't show the default folders, click Cancel
In the Configure disk backup process window, click Back up now
After the job has started, in the main window click Cancel
Right-click the location E:\My backups\DiskBackup and then click Delete
This will delete the job, leaving an empty default folder structure
Start again at Step 1, and at Step 3 select Destination E:\My backups
Change the Backup name to DiskBackup
Click the down arrow and then click Browse
Repeat Step 9

Step 10
[Disk Backup]
Click Back up now

Recovery procedure
Connect the external hard drive
Start the computer using the boot disc
When the splash screen appears, select True Image

Step 1
[True Image 2013] Welcome to True Image
Click Recovery

Step 2
[True Image 2013] Data recovery and backup management
Click Browse for backup

Step 3
[Browse for Location]
Select the wanted file
Click OK

Step 4
[True Image 2013] Data recovery and backup management
Right-click the selected file, click Recover

Step 5
[Recovery Wizard]
Choose recovery method
Click Next

Step 6
[Recovery Wizard]
Tick Disk 1, all items become ticked
Click Next

[True Image]
processing...

Step 7
[Recovery Wizard]
Click the Serial ATA disk to highlight it
Tick box Recover disk signature
Click Next

Step 8
[Confirmation]
The destination hard disk drive you have chosen contains some partitions that could contain useful data. Hard disk drive image recovery is possible only if the destination hard disk drive is empty. Click OK to confirm deletion of all the partitions on the destination hard disk drive.
Click OK

Step 9
[Recovery Wizard]
Summary
Operations
Number of operations: 7

1. Deleting partition
Hard disk: 2
Drive letter: -
Type: 0x27 (Windows RE Hidden, PQ, MirOS)
File system: NTFS
Volume label: PQSERVICE
Size: 15 GB

2. Deleting partition
Hard disk: 2
Drive letter: D:
File system: NTFS
Volume label: SYSTEM RESERVED
Size: 100 GB

3. Deleting partition
Hard disk: 2
Drive letter:C:
File system: NTFS
Volume label: Acer
Size: 683.5 GB

4. Recovering partition
Hard disk: 2
Drive letter: -
Type: 0x27 (Windows RE Hidden, PQ, MirOS)
File system: NTFS
Volume label: PQSERVICE
Size: 15 GB

5. Recovering partition
Hard disk: 2
Drive letter: -
File system: NTFS
Volume label: SYSTEM RESERVED
Size: 100 GB

6. Recovering partition
Hard disk: 2
Drive letter: C:
File system: NTFS
Volume label: Acer
Size: 683.5 GB

7. Recovering partition structure
Hard disk: 2

Check that settings are correct, and if so -
Click Proceed
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on 1 December 2013
I've used Acronis TrueImage for a couple of years. It's a powerful, comprehensive and generally fairly reliable method of scheduling backups. It's not without it's little peculiarities - setting up a backup to a NAS drive will often have you tearing your hair out - but once you learn them, it's fine.

If you use a Windows Machine, throw away the useless Microsoft Backup (it's free, and worth exactly what you paid for it I'm afraid), don't go near Symantec Ghost, and give Acronis TrueImage a go. In my experience, for the home user, it's just comprehensive enough - and doesn't overcomplicate either backups - or perhaps even more importantly - recoveries.

Recommended - particularly now that you can obtain licenses around the £20 mark.
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on 12 April 2013
The main problem with Acronis is that it STILL doesn't fully support disks larger than 2.2 Gb. or any disk formatted with a GUID Partition Table (GPT Disk).

At the end of all the problems listed below, Acronis Customer Support pointed me towards the following knowledge base article:
[...] I quote: "....This means that neither dynamic disks per se nor files or folders on them can be backed up or restored." I will probably not surprise you that nothing of this critically important information is mentioned in the marketing information.

I have been using Acronis since Version 9 - in about 2006 and it has got me out of trouble on a number of occasions since then. It has now been the cause of 2 recent, unrecoverable crashes since I installed a new 3TB drive on my system.

Crash 1: I was using version 2011 at the time and was aware this version didn't support 3TB drives, so I upgraded to 2013, installed the new drive and restored all the files without bother - no trouble so far. I continued with the scheduled incremental backups I had started with the old version (Without verifying them - big mistake!). Not sure what went wrong, but I lost the RAID Array I use as my 'C' drive which is on a on a couple of small SSD drives. I re-booted and this time the BIOS picked up the RAID drives correctly - but threw up an MBR error 1, which I just couldn't sort out. (It may sound as though I'm good at all this and know what I'm doing - but I'm soon out of my comfort zone - hence Acronis).

No problem - Restore from than morning's Acronis backup. Nope: Recovery Manager on boot just hung. Acronis Emergency Recovery disk didn't boot, Acronis Installation Disks didn't boot and Windows 7 Installation disk wanted to do a fresh installation.

I gave up the next day, re-formatted the SSD Array and re-installed Windows and virtually all my programmes. They air was blue and Acronis was no longer a trusted friend.

Crash 2.
During the tail end of the process to re-install my programs, I wasn't sure I could install just a few of the elements of Nero Burning Rom and avoid most of the bloatware that useful application has become - no problem use Acronis Try & Decide. I set it going, found I could just get the applications I wanted in Nero and decided to accept all the changes and went for the faster option of accepting them during a re-boot.

BIIIIIG MISTAKE!!! Froze during re-boot and displayed an error screen asking me to take a digital photo and send it to their Customer Services Desk for further investigation.

I had excellent service from their very helpful people in Mumbai (no sarcasm intended; they were very helpful and tried lots of things). In the end it was the incompatibility of ny GPT formatted 3TB partitions that had caused the problems.

I am now in the long process of moving all my files off the 3TB drives and will reformat them with standard MBR partitions and moving the files back again - keep your fingers crossed!!

I believe Acronis is still the best backup software out there - but be aware of its server limitations and don't bother with this upgrade.
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