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Original article on Let's Talk Computers website
Backing up with Acronis True Image 11 Home Edition pt. 2
Complete Transcript of Stephen Lawton — Acronis Interview — Host — Alan Ashendorf on Let's Talk Computers
October 27, 2007
Alan: Today, on Let's Talk Computers, we are continuing our conversation with Acronis, talking about their brand new True Image 11 Home and it's our pleasure to welcome back Stephen Lawton, Senior Director of Strategic Marketing with Acronis. Welcome back to Let's Talk Computers, Stephen.
Stephen: It's always a pleasure to be back with you and your listeners.
Alan: Stephen, we hear all of the time how important it is to have a complete backup of our computer system. But, for the average home user or student, how often should they back up their data and back up their operating system?
Stephen: It really depends on how much has changed during the course of a week. Having a weekly backup, for some home users might be sufficient. But, if you use a TIVO and you are constantly downloading files onto your computer; if you are working a home business and you send out a lot of email or you make a lot of changes, (certainly a student, who uses their computer in school) — student should be backing up daily. It really depends on how often the data changes.
Alan: We've been talking about a lot of the new features that have been added to Acronis True Image 11 Home. But, when we are using this new Software to back up our hard drives, are we backing up a complete image, like we had in the past or are we now backing up file by file?
Stephen: Well, you have the opportunity to do both. When you create an image of an entire partition, and that includes that there's an operating system there, it's for applications. You take a snapshot of a point in time. Anything that's on that partition at that point in time, you've got an exact image of it. And you can then bring that image back to that very point in time, later on.
Quite frankly, sometimes you just need to back up some files and folders. We give you the ability to do that, as well.
Alan: Not only just backing up an image, if we want to get the whole partition and that gets the operating system; that gets all the files and everything. For somebody in college or somebody who's writing a book — they need to back up file by file. Can we then set it so that we're only backing up certain directories?
Stephen: Absolutely. That's what we call our Smart Backup. You can set the various settings to back up certain folders; you can set it to back up for example, every night at 11:00. It'll just automatically start and do an incremental backup of everything that's changed in that folder, for example. It's very easy to do; it's all wizard-driven. You don't have to be a computer expert.
Alan: What type of operating systems are we looking at, that work with the Acronis True Image 11 Home?
Stephen: We support all of the versions of Windows, which have been designed for home users, since Windows XP. We work with all the XP series, with XP Home, with Professional, Media Center — we even work with Windows 2000. So, any operating system that might be well be found in a home environment, we can support them all.
Alan: Will the new Acronis True Image 11 Home Edition support all the different versions of Microsoft's Operating System, Vista?
Stephen: With all the flavors that Vista, today, that really is not an issue for us. So, we support them all. And in fact, if you have a PC that's maybe running Windows and Linux, or Windows and Novell or some other unusual operating system that will run on a PC — we can image those operating systems, as well.
Alan: You mention that you don't have to go back into DOS, anymore. But, how do you handle Windows' open files? Because, everybody says that you can't back up files that Windows has locked?
Stephen: The way we handle that is actually pretty darned clever. What happens is that when you start to do a backup, we will stop all of the system operations for just a brief moment. We'll empty all of the cache that's on the system and we will take, literally, a bit by bit snapshot of that hard disk, using Acronis' patented Snapshot Technology. Then we start the system, again. So, you can continue to work, but that snapshot that we just took — that's the image that gets written to the backup file. And so, you can continue to operate, even with the open Windows' files, because when we stop the operations, even open files are stopped.
Alan: That makes it so easy for the home user to make sure that everything is backed up and ready to go. What can you back up to; to what kinds media are you able to back up?
Stephen: We can back up to just about anything that is out there. We can back up to external hard disks, whether they are USB or FireWire. We can back up to Network Storage. A lot of folks are buying these 1-Terabyte Network Storage Devices and hanging them on their home networks. That's not a problem for us.
We can back up to tape; we can back up to a ZIP drive or a JAZ drive from Iomega — we can even back up to floppies, if you still have some of those around. Although, I quite frankly, don't know why you would!
Alan: But you also are able to back up to your Acronis Secure Zone. And this is very important, because if you are backing up all your data and a virus is launched on your computer system, it may take out all your backups. This is a way of securing those backups, where nothing can get to them. How does that work?
Stephen: The Secure Zone is a really interesting capability. Quite frankly, there's nobody else in the industry that has the Secure Zone.
What that is, is a hidden partition on the hard disk. People are buying PCs today, with a 250-500 Gigabyte hard disk, (one of these massive hard disks). There's a lot of real estate that's available for the user to save their data. A lot of the users just don't have that much data. So, we are able to take a piece of the hard disk, create a partition that the operating system cannot see. We can see it, but the operating system can't.
We will take an image of your hard disk and store it right there, locally for you. This is actually very, very useful for users of notebook computers, who travel often, because they might not be able to get to their backup, should something happen. But with the Secure Zone, you have this hidden partition.
And should there be a problem, we finally found a function for the F11 key on your computer. When you turn on your computer, you hit the F11 key and you'll start what's called Acronis Recovery Manager. Even if your operating system is completely trashed or even if you don't have it anymore, you could still launch your Acronis True Image, access the Secure Zone and restore that image and your operations will be started all over again.
Alan: And this also answers the question — if you only have one large hard drive, "How do I back up C: drive to C: drive?"
Stephen: That's a real challenge for a lot of other products out there, because they just simply cannot do it.
Alan: Here, you don't even have to worry about partitioning your hard drive, in order to split it up into a C: drive and a D: drive, which is what you're going to back up C to say, D. With Acronis Secure Zone, it is its own partition and you do that automatically, without our even having to worry about it.
Stephen: Absolutely. If you decide to create the Secure Zone, you simply click on an icon; tell the system that you want to create the Secure Zone and you actually get this little slider that you can set the Secure Zone to whatever size you want. Once you tell the system how big you want it to be, the Software will automatically create the Secure Zone; it automatically formats it; it will put all the information that needs to be in the Secure Zone, there. So, in case Acronis Recovery Manager needs to access the Secure Zone, it's all done for you. And it's all done, automatically.
Alan: Well, what happens if your hard disk completely fails? What happens to the Secure Zone, then?
Stephen: The Secure Zone won't help you if your hard disk physically breaks. The thing is, is that today, most of the failures on hard disks are called, "Logical Failures". Files get deleted; an operating system gets corrupted — maybe your System Registry in Windows gets corrupted and the system doesn't know where anything is, anymore. That's the most common type of failure that a user sees, today. With the Secure Zone, you can literally restore your system to a known, working state in just a matter of minutes.
Alan: Stephen, what about things like back up our emails? If we are in a corporate environment, we know our IT Administrator is going to back those up for us and we don't have to worry about it. But, home users live in their email programs, because in most cases, that are their life - everything's there!
Stephen: In Version 10, the version that we introduced a year ago, we have the ability to back up Outlook and Outlook Express. Now, we've taken it one step further. Not only can we back up Outlook and Outlook Express, but when it comes time to restoring the data, we now have the ability to let you select the specific folders of email or even specific messages. So, now you can get very granular on your restore. Let's say that you're looking for all the emails from a certain person — you can search through the emails and pick the ones you want and it's much, much easier to restore your emails.
Alan: And what are we looking at, as far as the price of Acronis True Image 11 Home?
Stephen: Remember, we have added Acronis Drive Cleanser, which was a $50 value. Awhile back, we added Acronis Migrate Easy, which was a $30 value and yet, Acronis True Image Home still lists for just $49.99! That's the same price it's been for 5 years.
Alan: And do we have a Trial Version on your Website that we can download and work with?
Stephen: There's a Trial Version that will give you 15 days of full capabilities of Acronis True Image. It's available on our Website — and again, 15 days of full capabilities. We're not backing down just a limited version.
Alan: There are so many software packages out there that will only allow you to back up for 15 minutes or 2 times. That doesn't do you a bit of good, does it?
Stephen: No, it really doesn't. We want the user to get full user experience. That means create an image; we want you to be able to mount it as a virtual hard disk — take a look at it and see what it's like to restore the image; see what it's like to use the Secure Zone. The only way to do it is to do it.
Alan: Let's say that I downloaded your Trial Version; I've used it a number of times and made some really critical backups and the time has run out. Does that mean I that can never can restore my backups again?
Stephen: At that point you have perfectly valid backups. The way to restore them would simply be to purchase the product and then you'll be able to restore those backups. But, the backups don't time-out. The backups are there, forever.
Alan: Where can people find more information about the Acronis True Image 11 Home and all of the other great backup Products that you have on your Website?
Stephen: They can visit us at www.acronis.co.uk. Acronis is also available from a number of download sites, such as TigerDirect, NewEgg, Amazon.com and so many other retail sites. Acronis can also be found in retail stores, such as Fry's Electronics, Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and BestBuy.
Alan: And I can't emphasize enough that as Stephen says, "It's not a case of 'if' hardware fails; it's a case of 'when' hardware fails" — and are you protected? Stephen, we've run out of time again. We didn't even get a chance to talk about all the new features that you've added to the Restore side of Acronis True Image 11 Home. I look forward to having you back as our guest, talking about those new features, real soon.
Stephen: Thanks so much. It's always a pleasure to visit.