Acronis True Image Home 2010 review
Last year’s True Image finally revamped the interface to make it genuinely user-friendly, but didn’t exactly pile on the advanced features. This year, Acronis is making an effort to rectify that, with True Image Home 2010 bringing several new additions aimed squarely at the more experienced user.
Windows 7 is at the heart of things, with full support for the new OS now in place. The most interesting aspect is what you can do with your backup sets. True Image 2010 allows you to save your backups as virtual hard disk (.vhd) files, so you can access and edit backed-up files in a virtual machine on another Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate PC. It also offers those Ultimate users the ability to boot directly from the Windows 7 image.
The task scheduler now includes options for periodic backups, and tasks can be suspended and moved around very easily, but that’s nothing compared to the new Nonstop Backup. Enable this mode and Acronis will back up changes every five minutes; you can then use the Time Explorer to retrace your steps and pick out the precise moment – presumably limited only by disk space – at which a particular file went awry.
The restore part regresses back to an explorer tree that’s smaller and fiddlier than the rest of the software, but the sheer flexibility it brings over Windows’ own Previous Versions tool is tremendous.
The other headline feature is an Online Backup facility – a second line of defence. Upon buying True Image 2010 you’ll get 2GB free storage for 90 days, after which it will cost you £3.95 a month – the cost of the software again over a full year – and then 60p per month for each additional 5GB. It works as you’d expect, with no major surprises. We can see the appeal of having both on-site and off-site backups handled by the same piece of software, although Acronis doesn’t have the best track record for customer support, which is worth bearing in mind.
The rest is consistent with last year’s True Image. On first run you still get the Acronis One-Click Backup, which takes an image of your MBR and system partition and scans your PC for appropriate external locations. If it can’t find any it will automatically create a Secure Zone on the system partition – not an ideal solution but it ensures you’re still able to run the backup, even on the most ill-prepared PC. Try&Decide remains, for testing system changes without applying them, and you can alter the boot sequence and create Rescue Media from within the software.
In all, it’s a positive step forward. The online backup component may or may not prove a tempting proposition for the money depending on your needs, but virtual hard disk support and the Nonstop Backup feature are both excellent additions to an already comprehensive, yet affordable, home backup suite.
UPDATE: After numerous emails on the subject, we must point out that Acronis’ free support is now offered for a mere one-month period after purchase. Beyond this point you have to pay for any required support. We still feel the software itself is the best available, but this lack of support makes it much less of a clear margin over the alternative recommendations.
|Software subcategory||Backup software|
Operating system support
|Operating system Windows Vista supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows XP supported?||yes|