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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 21 January 2011
I have an ageing PC (8 years old which is pretty old) running XP. I have 2 drives, 180Gb and 120Gb, with the 180Gb having 2 volumes - C: and E: which holds music, among other things. The 180Gb had just 100Mb left so I thought of buying a new drive. When I was researching I came across many references to Acronis and thought this might actually help as I had about 20Gb of unallocated blocks I couldn't get at. I thought I'd give it a go before the hassle of formatting/fitting the new drive.

Well, in a nutshell Acronis really came up with the goods. It is a fairly small install with little to think about. The interface is very slick and anyone with a small bit of knowledge (eg drive letters and capacities) can just get on with the program as it is so intuitive.

It found the unallocated blocks, let me convert them to volumes and then let me join them up with the existing volumes. Suddenly my full drive had another 20Gb. Incredible! I then took the time to copy folders off of the drive and reformatted it to NTFS. Again this was simple. The menu options changed if you couldn't do certain things so you always knew what was possible. Then rather than incremental changes being processed it saved up the changes until I was ready to commit and then processed in one hit.

When I accidentally called a volume a wrong letter it was easy to change it again (it just needed a reboot).

I have only scratched the surface of what the package can do but I am already a big fan and would recommend this to anyone who wants to adjust drive settings in any way (I haven't even considered the backup facilities or disaster recovery yet). The price is amazing for what it does.

Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 22 November 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Had a spot of bother trying to install this software at first it wouldn't install due to some disc error, so I ran the demo install instead and added the serial number which was 64 character phew!!! I'm pleased to say that idea worked. I got this mainly to do Clones of drives as backups cause its much easier and leaving it to get on with it instead of copying file to file. Theirs a great feature that will let you click on switch off auto that switches off the PC once the Cloning has been finished. I checked the contents of my drive and its made an exact copy of my main backup drive so I have 2 copies of my back up drive now knowing that my data is backed up and safe. The operation was pretty straight forward that anyone with basic PC knowledge can do without problems due to the built in wizard. You can also do a complete system backup of everything on your C drive too inc OS or indeed any drive thats connected to your PC internally as well as by USB means. You can make up a recovery CD should a virus or something mess up your PCs disk volumes. Everything about this program is extremely easy to use weather you want to extend disk volumes, set up a RAID system, format volumes, etc. You can also select from a wide variety of file systems when formatting volumes, including NTFS, ReiserFS, Linux Swap, even defragment and more which is handy having all these things in one program. Windows of course will let you do some of these things but not as easy as Disk Director, I was very disappointed with True Image by Acronis but this time they have done a good job with this program.
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Review for Acronis Disk Director 11 Home Edition
===================================================

i have always found the basic partitioning tools avialable on Windows very lacking. There was some good tools round such as PowerQuests Partition Magic one of the best all time classics, was intially the only one that could resize existing partitions on the fly and this was like a decade ago. Unfortunately the company disappeared a long time ago so I was interested to see how the latest Partitioning Tools stood up to it. As with any Partitioning Tools, you can end up inadvertantly deleting, loosing or messing up operating systems or data, so make sure you are familiar with partitioning in general before you use these tools!

Installation was a surprise, requiring a ridiculously large serial key, and what is it these days for many software titles to come without printed manuals ?!?! This came with a short quickstart guide and online help, but with specialist technical software such as this would surely merit some printed documentation? Maybe its just me with high expectations?

The program supports all the usual formats ntfs, fat, fat32, ext2,ext3, reiserfs etc, although notably lacked the Mac file system and other lesser used formats such as xfs etc. Good see the program supports basic,simple, striped and mirror volumes, although in my test I only used ordinary volumes.

Usage wise it looks like a coloured version of the xp windows disk management tools albeit with a lot more features than the standard windows disk management tool, but having used parition magic over the years I could help feeling the gui could have been a little more intuitive - may not be so freindly to users not used to partitioning tools, although each operation opens a wiazrd to take you to the relevant task, so maybe its not so bad?

I didnt go down the recovery disk route as trying to create a Windows PE based recovery disk requires 1Gb+ of the Windows Automated Install kit - it kind of makes my head spin when for example recovery disks for PM were two 1.44Mb floppy disks - one to boot into dos (you could use your own ones for this) and the other to run a 500kb dos recovery version of the program!! It wouldnt be so bad if the newer programs offered strides more functionality than the older tools.

Some of the features in Disk Director are simply a front end for standard Windows features. For example, Disk Director includes an option to defrag your drives, but this actually just runs the Windows defragment utility via command line.The Acronis OS selector looks much better than the old parition magic boot switcher. Im old school so I still prefer grub or lilo to handle that side of things. Operation wise it is very similar to Powerquests PM.

For any other old timers this tool is slightly better than the older tools as it does purport to support hard drives larger than 2Tb and obviously the older tools will usually only support MBR (master boot record) whereas this supports the newer (well not that new) GUID parition table type disks (GPT), although I suspect most will still use the MBR type volumes.

Although Acronis is a well known brand name, it does not compare well price wise for home usage - take a look at Easeus Partition Magic (free home edition which offers most, but not all of the features in disk director) and profesional Easeus PM version at a similar price to this product. Intrestingly enough Easus is more similar to the original PowerQuest Partition Magic. Users may want to review easues PM or take the free version for a spin first, or look at the other good alternatives such as Paragon which also offer free and professional editions.

Overall not a bad program if you need to partition a lot, however I think these are a set of tools that have limited appeal as most users will not need to manage partitions on a daily basis - not recomended for non technical users, unless you read up on this first, because of the inherent hazards of partitioning.
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on 27 November 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Acronis® Disk Director® 11 Home is a program for managing disks (the physical hard disk), partitions (how a disk is divided up) and volumes (the way a partition is used).

All versions of Windows have basic tools to manage these operations. As such the main reasons to consider an add-on program such as Acronis® Disk Director® are what extra functions are provided and how much is easier is it to use compared to the inbuilt Windows tools.

I installed Acronis® Disk Director® 11 Home on my home PC running Windows 7 64 bit with no issues at all. The initial installation from the provided CD took just four minutes including entering a very long serial number. The version on disk was v 11.0.216, checking for updates showed a new version (v 11.0.2121 at time of this review) was available. Downloading and installing this update was easy from the installation program and was very quick taking just three minutes to complete.

Running Acronis is very straight forward. A comprehensive manual is available and the GUI is very intuitive to use. The interface shows a clear representation of the volumes and disks with any associated partitions.

Several of the tools such as changing disk label or drive letter are available in Windows but having them all in one place makes it much easier and quicker to work on these tasks within Acronis® Disk Director®. Where Acronis® Disk Director® really scores is the ease of resizing and merging partitions. Even the latest Windows 7 has limited functionality for resizing partitions in that it can only resize from the end and needs "empty space" i.e. it can only resize up to the first empty unallocated disk block. Acronis® Disk Director® does not suffer these limitations and can also easily add unallocated space across the whole physical disk to both primary and extended partitions. I decreased the size of a primary partition and reallocated the space to a logical partition located several partitions away very quickly and easily in the GUI. In comparison trying to do this with the in-built Windows tools would have taken many steps and a very long time.

Acronis® Disk Director® also has advanced tools e.g. converting GPT disks to MBR and vice versa which I have not tried.

Acronis® Disk Director® 11 Home supports all versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. It also is also fully up to date in that USB 3 and alignment on new 4-KB sector size hard disk drive are supported.

A little expensive at list price but if you regularly find yourself using the Windows tools to manage disks and volumes then the time this program will save you will justify the cost.
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VINE VOICEon 26 January 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been trying to adjust the partition sizes on a couple of USB drives that I've had lying around my office for a few months now, but for some reason my very out dated PartitionMagic was having trouble doing this task. I installed the program onto my computer, and this went almost without a hitch once I had managed to enter the unfeasibly long serial number. I was then able to easily and reliably adjust the partition sizes of the discs as and when I required. For data security though I prefer to remove the drive from its housing and connect it directly into the motherboard and add it as an internal hard disk on the computer itself, not something the fainthearted but after using Vista for a year or two I am still not trusting the reliability of the Microsoft USB drivers.

There are other options available on the software such as backing up the entire drive - something which I will certainly get around to doing as the installation of Windows is a very long and laborious task and with two teenage daughters using my computer is something I need to do on a fairly regular basis. Making an image of a freshly installed Windows drive which I can restore to my computer is going to save me many many hours in the long run.

This is a very capable and powerful program with good features and value for money, but as with all disk partition software it should be used with extreme caution as kit is possible, through no fault of the software, to delete your entire hard disk and render your computer unbootable.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I reviewed Disk Director 10, I commented that it wasn't compliant with Windows 7 unless using the bootable media. That has now been resolved with the release of Disk Director 11. Windows 7 has inbuilt tools that allow limited manipulation of partitions, but a third party application such as Disk Director is needed for creating partitions and more serious work.

The facilities offered by Disk Director 11 may be more than the typical home user requires, but it's nice to have them at your disposal. I haven't tried the partition recovery but having made a partition unreadable with Power Quest, that's a nice tool to have at your elbow. I've messed up a Master Boot Record with True Image so I know that Acronis can boot an otherwise unstartable computer. The user interface has been smartened up since Disk Director 10 and is less cluttered. The partition information is still shown towards the bottom of the screen, but if there are a lot of partitions, a wide screen is useful to show them in one band. It has tools such as a defragger, however they call the Windows resident tools.

It's easy to install and if you need to create and work on partitions, this is useful software and is currently good value for money.
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on 3 January 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this specifically to change the size of partitions on my laptop (Vista Home Premium) as supplied the laptop disk was divided into 3 section the two largest ones were for programmes and data. Unfortunately I store data on a NAS drive and so the programme partition was almost full and the data one almost empty and I wanted to use this programme to reduce the data programme size to 10Gb and add the other space to the programme partition.
This was easily achieved in a few steps first I reduced the size of the data disk the programme then showed this as unallocated I then added the unallocated space to the programme disk. At this stage nothing has happened and you have chance to review your changes before you commit to the changes once you are happy and commit to the changes you have to restart before the changes take place. This is the point when I worried as for a while nothing happened then a text black and white screen appeared showing progress of the changes, this took what seemed to be a very long time (did not time it) however after this the normal windows started up and all of the changes had been made. So very happy with the programme for the purpose I intended.
The installation of the programme was straight forward but laborious there are two ways of doing this either by entering the very long serial number on the disk or by registering the programme and "only" entering the first 16 digits when an email is sent with the full serial number to you which can be copied and pasted into the registration screen (Pasting needs to be done by keyboard shortcuts CTRL + V). Also on the disk is a demo (time restricted) version of a back up programme, I did not try this. There is also Acronis OS Selector on the disk which is an invaluable and effective programme if you wish to have multiple operating systems on your PC.
Acronis Disk Director 11 has many other functions some very advanced to make disk management very easy including the facility to undo deleted partitions if this has been done in error. Everything I tried worked well and it is a comprehensive disk management system, however if I had as specialist requirement I would download the manual from the acronis.eu website to see if it does it or not but it probably will.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
*** see update at end of this review; I've knoocked 2 stars off because of my experience with Acronis 11 since writing the original review***

I am a developer (Flash and Flex) and have previously worked full time as a book author (web design books). My data is important. Not only do I need to back it up, but I also need to be able to move my work environment between computers, and also need to be able to run different operating systems across the same computer (for when I am checking a design for multiple browser and O/S compatibility).

I have used previous versions of several applications (Acronis True Image, Powerquest Partition magic, etc), but Disk Director gives me all my required features in a single application. With a current Amazon price (as of this writing, Dec 2010) of 17 quid for a boxed version it has to be a bargain for the features you get, not least when the price for the download only version (from the Acronis site) is £34.95!

Only downside is that it requires a bit of basic knowledge of hard drives (difference between physical and logical drives, partitions, different format types, etc).

Finally, for those unsure what this application actually does, I've provided a quick comparison below.

Things this application lets you do;

- Create/edit partitions without having to reformat.

- Backup your entire hard drive onto another drive

- Make an exact copy of your hard drive onto another drive
(so you can physically swap the two in case of failure).

- Helps recover your computer if the hard drive gets a fatal disk error on the operating system.

- Run windows XP, vista and Windows 7 on the same machine via a boot selector

- If your computer has more than one hard drive, you can make it look like one big drive.

- Helps if you want to move your OS to a solid state drive

Things that this application doesn't do;

- Provide virus protection.

- Perform regular back up behind the scenes

- Optimise your drives or file structure (although it can help).

- Make your computer run faster than it would without this application.

*** Update 2011 ***

I used Acronis 11 recently to clone a boot drive on Windows XP (I wanted to clone an old IDE drive to a faster, higher capacity SATA drive). As part of the cloning process, I was given the option to clone the hard drive ID (if you do this, you can't use the clone and the original on the same computer, as the operating system sees the two drives as the same device). I selected no. No further options or warnings were given and the cloning proceeded.

After a successful cloning, I rebooted the computer on the original hard drive, leaving the clone connected. That's where the problems started!

Windows spread the boot files across the two drives, so that it only booted if BOTH the original and clone were connected, and when I later removed the clone, the computer no longer started (the Windows XP installation was no longer even recognised by Windows repair options from the Windows installation DVD). It took me about 3 hours to get back to a stable boot without the clone (after having spent about 2 hours learning the low level windows boot procedure, so I could locate and rebuild the boot sequence files), and once I did, Windows inexplicably started seeing my quad core processor as a single core (complete with performance reduction). Only fix for that was a repair install; another hour wasted!

Using something like Disk director, you would expect a simple clone operation to be painless because you are steered away from all pitfalls (a helpful requester to remove the clone `because this may split your boot files across the two drives' is all that is needed in this sorry case).

Such an ommision takes the shine off Acronis 11 for me; previous versions always second guessed what you were doing and stopped you making such mistakes. Some further quality control may be required with Acronis 11 to get it up the the usability standard of previous incarnations. Two stars off the original review score... and I'm beginning to wish I'd stuck with my older version (Acronis 10) from way back in 2007!
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This product is probably one of the best programs for disc management, you might not think you need it but when you use it you will realise very quickly that it is indispensible and you will also wonder why you never used it before. Now that disc sizes run into Terabytes and Gigabytes it is a must.

There are really only two questions that need to be asked:

1. Does it do what it says it will?
2. Is it easy enough to use so that even Grandma won't break a sweat using it?

The first question is simple to answer. Yes it does and then some.

You can resize, move, copy, split and merge the disc to your heart's content. You can also spread one piece of data over several volumes on the disc.
Have you ever wanted to try Ubuntu, another Linux distribution, run Vista, XP, Windows 7 or even an older version of Windows on the same computer? Acronis Operating System Selector will let you do this.

If you want to mirror your drive, in other words have two hard drives that replicate each other just in case one hard drive fails, you can.

Have you ever had the need to boot your computer from a CD or USB drive to access all your data? Then with this it is possible.

In fact you can even clone your hard drive onto another, swap them over and, it will work. Everything will have been transferred over, operating system, files, data, everything.

Finally if you are so ham fisted that in a moment of madness you accidentally delete a volume or partition then do not despair, Acronis will save the day.

It will even recover damaged or deleted volumes to another disc when there has been a severe meltdown or corruption of hardware and software.

These are the qualities of the product that I can actually comment on, having been there and done that. All this and there are things it can do that I haven't managed to scratch the surface with yet. It is a very fully specced piece of software.

Oh, and the answer to the second question?

Honestly would you let your Grandma loose on your computer? I think not even if she knew how to switch it on!

However it is very easy to use, as with all Acronis products it is user friendly, has plenty of guides to get you through what you need to know. It is pretty fool proof and it is not just there for the beginner, this product has real power and at this moment in time, it's competitors can only look on with envy.

Oh and if you haven't already, get Acronis True Image for backups as well, if these products cost twice as much they would be a bargain, at this price they are a steal.

`Do you want to keep your sense of humour when your computer goes wrong (which it will one day and that is a guaranteed fact), when all about you are losing their heads?
Then use Acronis my friend!'

Full 5 stars.
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VINE VOICEon 15 December 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've never really paid much attention to managing disk space on ym PC but having received this I have to say i'm very impressed.

I did try to partition a disk once so I could keep all my computer games separate from the rest of my computer, only to find that Windows wanted me to wipe the hard drive first... Something I wasn't willing to do!

After a quick play around with this I was able to move all of my games to their own partition, my business files to another one and all my photo's and video to a third one. This meant that when I carried out my weekly back up of all my work related stuff it was now just a case of point and click, taking about 5 minutes instead of the usual 30.

I did make a few mistakes along the way but it was easy to restore the partitions i'd accidentally deleted and I also managed to set up LINUX in it's own sepearate partition very easily.

Overall it was easy to use but I would say that it's not really for the amateur PC user, you should have some idea of what you're doing to get the most out of it and it possibly a little pricey for something that most people will only use once in a blue moon, I certainly doubt I would have paid for it if I hadn't received a free copy.
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