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Infopackets Windows Newsletter

March 23, 2005

by Dennis Faas

Original article on Infopackets Windows Newsletter

Infopackets Windows Recommended

Acronis True Image 8.0 Review

RE: Disk Imaging software versus Regular File Backup


Rating: 5/5

Regular file backup programs such as Genie Backup Manager are fantastic for backing up personal files such as downloads, documents, emails, pictures, bookmarks, and the like. And as we learned previously, Regular file backup is also a great way to archive files onto a more permanent location (such as CD-Recordable) in order to save space on the hard drive.

The flipside of the coin is that regular file backup is not capable of backing up the Operating System. In other words, if your hard drive crashed or if Windows suddenly became inoperable, the only way to resolve the issue would be to:

  • format [erase] the hard drive
  • reinstall Windows and download all the updates
  • reinstall all your programs
  • reinstall the backup software
  • restore your data that you backed up

In all, that might take 6 to 8 hours to complete (at best) — not fun.

I personally use regular file backup to archive my most critical files on a regular basis; but, for those truly disastrous situations [often as a result of a Spyware infection, Virus, or something that I downloaded recently that didn't install / uninstall properly], I also use a Disk Imaging software to backup and revert my entire system to a previous healthy state... often within minutes.

Disk imaging is just one of the functions that Acronis True Image Server provides (see Figure 1). It also does disk backups, disk deployment (formatting and partitioning) and disk wiping, but the disk backup feature alone is worth the price.


Introducing Acronis True Image 8.0: True Disaster Recovery

Introducing Acronis True Image 8.0: True Disaster Recovery

Recently voted best disk imaging solution by our Readers, some of the features provided by Acronis True Image 8.0 include:

An Easy to Use Interface: Simply click "create image" and Acronis' built in Backup Wizard will guide you through 8 Simple Steps to begin backing up your entire system.

Works within Windows: Unlike inferior MS DOS-based disk imagers, Acronis True Image never requires you to restart your computer in order to complete an imaging backup operation.

Split Image Files: Image files can be stored on permanent media (such as another hard drive), or on removable medium (such as ZIP disks, CD/DVD-R, etc). If the image is too large to fit on the destination medium, Acronis True Image can split the image across multiple volumes.

Store Images Remotely: Image files are typically quite large in size; in addition to storing the backup on a local computer, Acronis True Image also provides the option to save the image backups on a remote PC — perfect for laptops and older PCs that are short on storage space or don't have a CD burner to store the backup!


Explore Image and Restore Single Files

Explore Image and Restore Single Files: In addition to restoring an entire volume, users may choose to extract single [or multiple] files by exploring an image file.

Full and Incremental Backups: Acronis True Image is one of the few disk imaging solutions to offer both Full Image backup as well as Incremental Imaging, which only backs up new or changed data from a previous backup set.

Side note: If you choose to save all your image backups to CD or DVD media, incremental backups can save a substantial amount of time, medium, and money in the long run.

Scheduler: Automate your backups using Acronis' built in scheduling mechanism — also a great feature for making regular incremental backups!

Test Backup Medium: Backing up your data is completely pointless if you can't restore it; Acronis True Image uses bit-level verification to ensure 100% data integrity and restorability of your images — even after you burn them to CD or DVD.


Create Image mode

Built-in CD and DVD Burning: Image files can be archived directly to CD or DVD. Note that DVD burning requires additional packet writing software (which comes standard with many applications such as Nero Burning ROM, Easy CD Creator, etc).

Side note: If you don't own Packet Writing software, you can save your image files to another location and then burn to DVD using any CD Mastering application.

Bootable Rescue Media: In case Windows is inoperable or your hard drive is no longer startable, Acronis True Image offers bootable Rescue Media that allows you to revert a previous image backup in a stable environment.

Great for Seamless Hard Drive Upgrades: Transfer Windows and all installed programs from an old (smaller) hard drive, to a new (larger) hard drive: a perfect solution if you're looking to upgrade your hard drive and don't want to reinstall Windows and all your applications on the new drive.


Acronis True Image 8.0: Using it on My Machine


Acronis True Image 8.0: Using it on My Machine

Installation went relatively smooth, except for the fact that Acronis True Image gave me an error message when I tried to create a bootable CD Rescue Disc.

I later found out it was because my particular brand of DVD burner [Sony DW-D56A] uses a "non-standard driver," which conflicts with the CD creation process.

But not to worry —

After searching the official Acronis True Image web forums, I found a simple workaround which involved booting Windows XP into Safe Mode, launching Acronis True Image, and then choosing to create the rescue disc from the main menu.

With my Rescue Media now burned to a CD-Rewriteable, I decided to test the boot disc by rebooting my computer. Sure enough, the disc started and the Rescue Media screen appeared.

Satisfied that the bootable Rescue Media was working as it should, I rebooted my system once more and created my first image backup. There were 8 steps in creating my image:

  1. Choose Hard Drive to Backup
  2. Choose Save Location
  3. Choose Full or Incremental Backup
  4. Choose Automatic or Fixed Image File size
  5. Choose Compression Level
  6. Password Protect your Backup
  7. Enter optional user Comments
  8. Proceed with Backup
  9. The interface was very straight-forward and easy to use. In all, Acronis True Image took roughly 25 minutes to image my 10 gigabyte C drive [Windows] partition, write it to DVD Recordable, and test the integrity of the backup.

Acronis True Image 8.0: Compatibility

Acronis True Image 8.0 recognizes all hard disks connected to the PC, along with a wide variety of removable media drives with P-ATA (IDE), S-ATA, SCSI, USB, IEEE1394 (Firewire) and PCMCIA interfaces including: CD-ROM/DVD-ROM and CD-R/W recorders and burners, magneto-optical drives, Zip and Jazz devices, and many others.

Acronis True Image 8.0 works with Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT 4.0 Workstation Service Pack 6, Windows 98, and supports FAT16/32, NTFS, Linux Ext2, Ext3, ReiserFS, and Linux SWAP file systems.


Conclusion

If we lived in a perfect world: Windows would never crash, Spyware wouldn't be nearly impossible to remove, and there wouldn't be any need to worry if a recent download has caused irreversible damage to the integrity of our systems.

With a 5-star rating from the editor's at download.com, and an overwhelming percentage of Gazette Readers in favor of the program, Acronis True Image offers premium PC protection that absolutely no computer user should be without. Hopefully, this disk and file backup software review is another reminder that backing up your data is more than important and Acronis True Image is a backup and recovery tool that will satisfy demands of both novice and professional users.


Acronis True Image: 8.0 Download

Acronis True Image 8.0 is a bargain at only $49.99 and can be downloaded immediately from the RegNow website. To find out more about Acronis True Image, click the link below; and remember, a portion of proceeds go directly to fund our web site — so please show your support by purchasing this incredibly useful utility today!