Barry's rigs 'n reviews
March 15, 2007
by Barry Little
Original article at Barry's rigs 'n reviews web site
Acronis True Image 10 Home Review @ BRnR
You might experience some strange problems with certain hardware configurations if you use the full version but are not using any of the disks supported by its drivers. A friend whom I had recommended Acronis True Image to, was going nuts trying to get the Rescue CD he had created to work, which was crashing out to its Linux kernel screen with some bizarre SATA port errors (he has a pair of WD 150GB Raptors in a RAID 0 stripe and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition). Turns out, he was booting into the full version and his nForce 590 motherboard didn't like the disk drivers it was loading. I had him boot into the safe version on the CD, and it worked just fine.
Acronis Bootable Rescue Media can be created in the following formats:
- Floppy Disk
- USB Flash Devices
- .ISO File
If you have a 3.5" 1.44MB floppy drive installed, this is obviously the least desirable alternative, as it would require over thirty 1.44MB disks to create, and for you to sit there and swap each one in and out to load Acronis True Image. Unless you've got a lot of patience, time on your hands, and 1.44MB floppies lying around, I'd avoid this method entirely.
- Selecting Create Bootable Rescue Media from either the Menu or Tool Bar launches the Acronis Media Builder wizard.
- You can install either or both versions of Acronis True Image on your media, the rationale being that if for some reason the Full version doesn't work say for example, its USB, PC Card and SCSI drivers might be causing hardware problems the Safe version should get you squared away. Click either of the Acronis True Image Home entries in the left window pane...
- ...and you can check the Start automatically after box and set the number of seconds Acronis True Image Bootable Media will sit in the Main Menu before launching Acronis True Image.
- You can create bootable rescue media on just about any removable storage device, as well as create .ISO image files to burn to CD. Here, I have my DVD-Burner selected to create a bootable Acronis True Image CD. The E: drive is a 2GB Corsair Flash Voyager, which isn't as fast as a CD, but a much better choice than the 3.5" 1.44MB floppy drive.
- Once you've selected the media of your choice and click Next, it doesn't take long to create a Rescue Disc.
- If you have packet writing software like Roxio's Drag to Disc or Nero's InCD for re-writable media installed, you may get an error when trying to create Acronis True Image Rescue Media. If so, you can use Acronis True Image to create an .ISO image file to create the CD. Here, I'm setting up a folder for it.
- I'll call it Acronis Rescue Media ISO Files.
- And I'll create a folder under that based on this latest Acronis True Image build. Whenever you upgrade your installation of Acronis True Image to the latest version, ALWAYS update or create new bootable rescue media immediately after.
- Here are the folders. Click this little icon to automatically name the file.
- Okay, I'm ready to burn my .ISO file. It'll take less than 30 seconds.
- Here's the file. Double-click it...
- ...and your CD/DVD burning software should automatically launch with all the correct settings to burn the bootable Acronis True Image CD.
- Here's my disc.
- ...and here it is in action. Whether you use a CD or USB Flash Drive, you'll need to make sure your BIOS supports booting from the device and its priority is set as the first boot device.
Most PCs have a CMOS/BIOS option that allows you to change the order of boot devices and boot from an installed CD/DVD-ROM drive or burner, or a USB Flash Drive. Either would be the preferred method of creating bootable rescue media. Third-party software for burning CDs and DVDs usually have a packet writing utility or plug-in which allows you to format and use a CD-RW or DVD±RW disc like a large re-writable "floppy." Some of those programs may interfere with the creation of a bootable recovery CD (Roxio's Drag-to-Disc and Nero's InCD are two that come to mind, but there may be others). If you get an error message that your CD or DVD burner is "busy," when trying to create the CD, temporarily close and/or disable any packet writing software running, and give it another shot.
- While there's nothing wrong rolling with Acronis True Image's default options, you can definitely save yourself some time by configuring them to your liking. Don't like Acronis True Image's default fonts? Change 'em here.
- Scroll through the Application list to change Acronis True Image's interface fonts...
- ...and here to change the font for the Menu commands.
- Not sure if the font you picked will make things look worse than better? Click the Browse Fonts button...
- ...and you can preview the font!
- Acronis True Image can be set up to send notifications from backup and restore jobs to an E-Mail address...
- ...or through the Windows Messenger WinPopup service (not to be confused with MSN Messenger).
- Acronis True Image allows you to password protect backup archives for additional security. Just don't forget the password or you won't be able to use the archive to restore your system!
- In addition to the most common types of files that don't need to be backed up, you can specify other files to be excluded from Acronis True Image backups by clicking the Add button...
- And entering the file here. Paths and wildcards are also accepted. As you've seen from the previous screenshot, you can easily add, edit and delete exclusions from the list as needed.
The Acronis True Image 10 Media Builder can also create .ISO Files image files that can be burned to a CD or DVD. Using the wizard, you can create an Acronis True Image .ISO file to a folder on your hard drive. When you click on that file to open it, it will launch your burning software with all the necessary parameters to burn your bootable Acronis True Image disc. If you don't feel like trying to shut down your packet writing software every time you go to burn an Acronis True Image disc, this is a quick and easy way around the issue. Whenever you upgrade to a newer True Image build, you should always create updated recovery media with the new version to avoid any unexpected issues.
- Acronis True Image also allows you to run batch or script files, or programs before or after the backup process. Click the Edit button to add the commands and their execution parameters...
- ...here. Keep in mind that any Pre/Post commands you set up must be completely non-interactive. Running a process that requires user input could cause problems.
- You can adjust the level of compression Acronis True Image performs when creating backup archives here, to strike a balance between the length of backup time and amount of space required for the backup.
- Another option that affects backup performance is Backup priority. Setting priority to Low will have a minimal impact on other processes running on your system, while High is more suited for off-hours scheduled backups when the computer isn't being used.
- You can adjust the size of Acronis True Image's backup archive files here, and let Acronis True Image Automatically split the archive file up into manageable pieces based on the target backup media...
- ...or you can use a Fixed size for industry-standard removable media or type in a size yourself.
- Under File level security settings, you can choose to retain or remove the security settings of files and folders during a backup, and backup encrypted files with the encryption removed. Most users will have little need to change the defaults shown here.
- Media components allow you to place a copy of Acronis True Image on removable media along with backups. You can place a full version of True Image, which includes drivers for USB, PC Card (also known as PCMCIA) and SCSI hard disks, or Acronis One-Click Restore, on the media...
- ...or you can choose between the aforementioned full version of Acronis True Image or the Safe version without USB, PC Card and SCSI drivers.
- The biggest time and grief-saver in Acronis True Image is under Additional settings. If you check the Validate backup archive upon its creation completion, Acronis True Image will perform a consistency check on your archive file right after the backup finishes. Better to find out right away if there's a problem, than later when you need to restore your system and you can't because you forgot to run the separate Validate Backup Archive job after you did the backup.
- You can choose how Acronis True Image overwrites existing files (or not) during restore operations.
- Just as with backups, you can run programs, batch or script files before or after a restore job (with the same limitation that any Pre/Post commands must be completely non-interactive).
- Setting Restoration Priority determines how quickly a restore operation takes place and how much of an impact it has on anything else running on your system at the time.
- You can restore files with or without their original security settings. Again, most people shouldn't need to change the default shown here.
- Unless there's some specific need for you to do otherwise, you can leave Set current date and time for restored files box checked. The second option shouldn't be necessary if you've checked Validate backup archive upon its creation completion. The third option (Check file system after restoration) shouldn't be necessary under normal circumstances either, but a little extra insurance never hurt anyone.
When you launch the Create Backup wizard in Acronis True Image 10 Home, the first thing you'll notice compared with previous versions, is not only that the selection categories under Select Backup Type have been simplified, but there are two new categories as well:
- My Computer Creates an image of the entire disk and its partitions. Also backs up Track 0 and the MBR (Master Boot Record) on the boot drive, which you can restore separately if they become damaged.
- My Data Here's where you can select specific data to back up. You can either manually select files and folders to backup or you can use Acronis True Image's all-new File Categories feature to back up certain types of files (documents, pictures, music, etc.) using Acronis' predefined categories or by creating your own.
- My Application Settings A new feature of Acronis True Image that allows you to back up user-customized settings of popular applications and utilities.
- My E-Mail Another new feature of Acronis True Image 10 Home, you can now backup your Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express messages, settings, E-Mail accounts and address books and restore them.
Acronis True Image supports backups to a wide range of removable and non-removable media:
- Hard disks
- Networked storage devices (DHCP or Static IP Addressing supported)
- CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R (including double-layer DVD+R), DVD+RW, DVD-RAM
- USB 1.0 / 2.0, Firewire (IEEE-1394), and PC card (PCMCIA) storage devices
- Floppy disks, ZIP, Jaz and other removable media.