Barry's rigs 'n reviews
June 15, 2006
by Barry Little
Barry's rigs 'n reviews web site
Acronis True Image 9.0 Home
Like most software sold these days, the Acronis True Image 9.0 Home User's Guide
is in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format, rather than a printed manual (you can download a copy here). The
guide is well-illustrated with plenty of screenshots, concise, and does a good job of
explaining things without going too heavy on
technical terms that often intimidates and turns off
new computer users (it could use an Index in
the end, thought). Acronis True Image is so easy and
intuitive to use, you probably won't have to refer
to the User's Guide that often — if at all. In fact,
you can probably get all the information you need on
using Acronis True Image from the program's Online
Help. Acronis uses its own proprietary-format
for the online guide, rather than the usual
Microsoft .CHM help files. While this makes
for a much better-looking guide consistent with Acronis True Image's interface, it lacks the usual
amenities of conventional help files used under
Windows — like the ability to print, copy/paste, and
bookmark individual topics.
rescue functions may also be accessed
through the Button Bar. This button
activates the wizard for the Acronis
button launches the Startup Recovery
Manager, which works in conjunction with
wizard launched with this button checks Acronis True Image archive file for errors. You
should run this on any archive file created
which has not been verified
immediately after the backup.
launches the Bootable Rescue Media
Image logs each backup and restore
operation under Windows.
brings up online help.
takes you to Acronis Support Page
on the Internet.
Acronis True Image 9.0 Home
is completely wizard-driven, providing information
and instructions in Plain English every step
of the way. This makes backing up and protecting
your system a breeze rather than a chore. But the
latest version of Acronis True Image 9.0 (Build 3633
as of this writing) is more than just a streamlined,
slightly updated pretty face. Its real beauty lies
not only in its traditional power and ease-of-use,
but some incredibly cool improvements under the
Acronis True Image 9.0 Home
retains all its previous advantages of using an
image-based backup utility, with a wide range of backup
configuration options. When an image file is created
with Acronis True Image, it only records the areas of
your disk that actually contain data with the drive's
partition information. It doesn't back up paging or
hibernation files--which are automatically recreated by
Windows after restoring a system with Acronis True Image
anyway. This is why Acronis True Image backups run
quicker, using less disk space than competing products.
recovery CDs aren't worth much without a
backup. Let's get one started.
Create Backup Wizard launches.
Acronis True Image Home 9.0 combines the
power of image-based backup for quick
"bare-metal" disaster recovery...
well as backups of individual files and
folders. Normally, you'd have to purchase
two separate backup programs to
accomplish the same thing!
to create an image backup of the
entire disk on this machine, which will
return it to its most recent state in the
event of a catastrophic OS or disk failure.
No time-consuming OS and program re-installs
and separate data-recovery routines!
useful pre-backup information.
back up to a number of any supported sources
with Acronis True Image. The target backup
device that you see here is a
Buffalo TeraStation NAS. Not good with
coming up with file names? Click on the
little icon next to the File name dialog box
and Acronis True Image will create one for you.
selecting a target backup device and a name
for the backup archive file, you're given a
choice of full backups...
differential backups. What's nice about Acronis True Image is that a description is
usually provided for various functions in
You can set a password to protect the
archive file from unauthorized access, and launch
commands before and after a backup (for example,
stopping and starting services). Three compression
levels are available for the backup sets you create — None,
Normal, High and Maximum. The higher the
level of compression you select, the smaller the archive
file will be, but the longer the backup can take.
There's plenty of room to experiment to find the best
balance between compression to maximize backup storage
space, and the length of time it takes for the backup to
complete. Keep in mind that some files don't compress as
well as others. For example; if you have many digital
photos in the .JPEG format, these files will yield
little if any compression improvements by archiving them
with Acronis True Image's Higher and Maximum compression
When backing up to CD or DVD ±R/RW media,
image or file archives will rarely fit on a single disc.
Acronis True Image can split the backup archive file
across removable storage media with ease. It does so
automatically by splitting the file only when it's
absolutely necessary, completely filling one disc before
requesting the next. This can save the number of discs
you'll need for the backup. Or, you can specify the
archive file be split into the following
industry-standard removable media sizes:
100 MB Zip Disk
650 MB CD-ROM
700 MB CD-ROM
4.7 GB DVD-ROM
Because Acronis True Image is able to back
up your system in the background while you work, you can
adjust the Backup priority. When set to Low, the
backup will proceed much more slowly than it normally
would, but its impact on other processes and activity
taking place on your PC is minimal. Normal will
permit the backup to proceed at normal speed with minor
to moderate impact on system performance. High
allows Acronis True Image to process the backup at
maximum speed, with the most impact on all other
processes and activity taking place on your system.
I ran Acronis True Image on a system with
an Athlon 64 X2 4400+ dual-core processor, and an Athlon
64 FX-55 single core processor — both with 2 GB of DDR 400
RAM, performing full image backups to a share on a
TeraStation NAS at each priority setting, while
performing common tasks on each system (E-Mail, web
browsing, creating Word documents and editing photos
with Photoshop CS). Low priority works the best on
single-core processors and Normal on dual-core or
Hyper-Threaded processors. High priority should
definitely be reserved for scheduled backups when there
is no activity on the computer, as just about anything
you try to run will slow to a crawl or come to a
screeching halt. Keep in mind that your actual results,
based on your particular hardware and other variables,
set the Default options to your liking as
previously shown, you can just click Next
you rather set the options manually you can
example, I decided at the last minute that I
wanted to change the priority from Low to
High, I can do so with just a few mouse
didn't set "Validate backup archive..." as a
default, you can also do it here.
it's strictly optional, it's also helpful to
write a description of what you're backing
a summary of our backup. You can go back to
make any changes or click Proceed to
kick it off.
we go! Acronis True Image can backup open files in
One of my favorite improvements to Acronis True Image is the automatic verification of
the image backup file as soon as it's completed. You still
have the option of manually verifying an archive file by
running the Backup Archive Validation Wizard
right after the backup, or any archive you've created.
Since it takes the same amount of time to verify the
archive manually as it does automatically, I prefer the
set-it-once and forget approach. This option was missing
in previous versions of Acronis True Image, so I'm really
glad Acronis finally put it in here.
Acronis True Image 9.0
can now perform differential backups to speed up
recovery time and better consolidate the number of image
files required to get your system up and running again
in a disaster-recovery scenario.
Having a snapshot of your system to make
things right again when they go horribly wrong is a
great convenience. But what if you want to back up just
a few important folders or files? Now, Acronis True Image 9.0
Home lets you do just that with its new files and
folders backup feature.
- Launch the Create Backup Wizard.
- Click the Files and Folders radio button
under the Select Backup Type dialog box and
- Select the files and folders that you want to back
up at the Source Files Selection.
- Specify any hidden and system files that you may
want to exclude from the backup, if applicable, or
files that meet a specific criteria.
- Select the target location of the backup (CD or
DVD-R/RW, Network, External Drive)
- Choose whether you want the backup to be
incremental or differential
- Follow the rest of the Create Backup Wizard steps to
create your backup.
What could be simpler? Acronis True
Image 9.0 Home is the only imaging backup solution available today that offers you this kind of
Although they share the same ".tib"
extension as disk/partition images, Acronis True Image
file-by-file backup sets contain only the selected files
and folders. As a result they cannot be mounted as
virtual drives with the Acronis True Image's Mount Image
Whether it's hardware or software
related, or just plain-old bad luck, you're bound to run
into a situation where you can no longer boot into
Windows — which is where the Acronis Rescue Media
Builder comes in. The Create Bootable Rescue
Media Wizard steps you through creating a CD-R,
CD-RW or 3.5" floppy disks that boots a stand-alone
version of Acronis True Image 9.0 Home to recover your
system. The "Full" stand-alone version provides all of
the functionality of Acronis True Image 9.0 running under
Windows, with support for USB, PC Card and SCSI hard
disks, while the "Safe" version does not. Just so you
know, it takes ten 3.5" 1.44MB floppy disks for
the Full version and nine of them for the Safe
version. Acronis One-Click Restore can
also be added to bootable rescue media containing an
image archive file. Just boot the disc, click Restore,
and Acronis True Image will go to work quickly and
quietly restoring the image to the target disk.
first thing you should do after
getting True Image Home 9.0 installed
on your machine, is create a bootable Acronis True Image disc. You can launch the
Create Bootable Rescue Media wizard from
either the Menu Bar, Button Bar, or Task
Bar on the left.
Interestingly enough, the Rescue Media
wizard is called the Acronis Media
Builder. But that's OK, just go ahead
and click Next.
both of these checked and click Next.
your CD or DVD burner here and click Next.
you've got a blank 650 or 700MB CD-R or
CD-RW disc in your burner and click
Primary CD or DVD-ROM drive as the first
boot device in your BIOS, if it isn't
already. Then boot your PC with the Acronis True
Image bootable disc you just created, in
briefly see this as your PC boots from the
the Acronis Rescue Media main screen.
As you can see here, you can launch either
the Full or Safe version of Acronis True Image, or go directly to Windows.
I'll select the Full
The Acronis True Image splash screen is briefly
it is. Not only does it look like the
Windows version, but it's just as easy and
intuitive to use — compared to other products
that use different interfaces running under
and outside of Windows which can be
confusing and intimidating for novice
Acronis has broadened the scope of
supported rescue media in Acronis True Image 9.0 to
include removable flash devices like USB thumb drives,
ISO images and RIS (Remote Installation Services)
servers. The RIS option is more relevant to an I.T.
Department than home users. But the ability to use USB
thumb drives as bootable Acronis True Image devices is a
long overdue and welcome improvement (sure beats having
to shuffle around nine or ten 3.5" disks).
With Acronis True Image's ISO imaging
(you'll need third-party CD and DVD burning software
like Nero and Easy CD to take advantage of it), you can
create bootable DVDs that also support other Acronis
products like Acronis Disk Director, or an Acronis
backup image file of a baseline Windows install, which
should fit nicely on an 8GB dual-layer DVD-ROM disc.
One nice thing about Acronis True Image
that sets it apart from competing products is that when
you load it from the bootable Rescue CD, Acronis True Image
loads completely into RAM. So if you only have a single
optical drive installed, you can remove the Rescue CD to
insert the discs containing your backups without having
to worry about swapping the Rescue CD in and out during
the restore process. With DHCP (Dynamic Host
Configuration Protocol) installed on your home network,
Acronis True Image will automatically detect the IP
address of any network storage devices you may have to
store your Acronis True Image backups. If not, you can
quickly and easily configure things manually.
Just remember that disk letters in the
stand-alone Rescue CD can differ from the Acronis True Image
handles drive letters under Windows. For example, Drive
E: in the Acronis True Image Rescue CD may actually be
Drive F: under Windows! Note that this is not
an issue with Acronis True Image, but a limitation in the
way Windows handles drive letters.