Acronis True Image 11 Home
We had a problem shared by many. We would get a computer installed and running, and eventually it would get really slow as we installed new programs. We would then reformat the hard drive, reinstall all the software, reinstall all the data, reinstall all the updates, and start over again. This reinstallation process would take us a day or two, and was, at best, really annoying.
The obvious solution was to find software which would create an image of our hard drive the moment is was reinstalled. There are a number of such programs around, including some that are freeware, but we chose Acronis True Image. We first went through the usual nightmare of reinstalling the base software, putting in all the updates, installing all the other software, installing all their updates, and putting back the data. The system now worked flawlessly, and gave us the base to which we would like to return in the future, so we installed Acronis True Image and did a copy of the system onto a second, larger hard drive.
For the next several months we kept track of the updates we did and the additional programs we added, the install programs for which we saved on a DVD. At some point we realized that system performance was degrading, so we backed up all the data, And re-installed the system as it was. The entire process took under an hour!
AcronisTrue Image Home will also allow you to do backups: Full, Incremental, and Differential. Acronis True Image Home will allow you to handle your backups and restores rather handily. Indeed, it offers an extremely sophisticated set of choices for you.
In addition, there are a number of other valuable tools included. One allows you, in essence, to build a virtual computer with which to try software or load iffy Web sites. If it doesn’t go well you can reboot and the virtual stuff disappears, leaving you with your original system unharmed. Or you can install it into your real computer. It also includes software to securely destroy data, including all the hidden system data of which you are unaware, and to do system recovery.
There are also corporate versions, which cost only marginally more. We looked at, but have not yet tried, Acronis True Image Echo Workstation. This has even more sophisticated backup and recovery features, appropriate to a corporate environment, but does not include the additional features: The assumption is that your IT group is responsible for these.
But what it does include is an add-on that lets you recover a system to a different machine. Imagine that you are traveling with your laptop, for which you have an image, and drop the machine. You race to buy a new one, but it is a different brand and uses different motherboards, chipsets or even CPUs. Using Acronis True Image Echo Workstation in conjunction with Acronis Universal Restore, you can burn the image onto the new machine, and it will work just like the old machine, including all of your network settings, mail and system configurations. This is close to magic.
Acronis True Image Home is a worthwhile investment for anyone, but if you have more than one machine at home, use only a laptop, or work for a corporate IT group, you may be better served looking at Acronis True Image Echo Workstation.