Acronis True Image Home 2012 review

£40
Price when reviewed

Annual software updates are always a difficult prospect for developers, few more so than in the world of backup, where there can’t be much more to add without going way off topic. Acronis already does scheduled backup and restore, including altering partition sizes in the process; it does non-stop backup, disk cloning and imaging; and it long ago introduced its excellent Try & Decide module for safely testing new software or changes in a quarantined environment.

So True Image Home 2012 moves into an area that’s not quite backup, but close enough that Acronis can comfortably include it: synchronisation. Few would ever argue it’s a replacement for a proper backup routine, but services such as Dropbox and Live Mesh are hugely popular for working across multiple locations. Update a file at work, and it’s ready for you in its latest form when you get home.

Acronis True Image Home 2012

Acronis works in largely the same way: you set up an account, choose a folder (only one per sync process), and leave it to do its thing. It isn’t quite the same as the free alternatives, though: you’ll need True Image Home 2012 installed on every system you want to sync, it doesn’t work with proxy servers, and there’s no web access to your files as standard – unless you enable file versioning and sign up to Acronis Online Storage separately for £40 per year. It’s a neat addition if you’re already an Acronis user, and Online is now integrated into the main True Image interface, but if you’re not, we can’t help but feel a bit wary of throwing all our eggs into one Acronis-shaped basket.

There are few other changes to True Image’s features. It offers greatly improved support for NAS devices – the software now finds and recognises them as a disk, rather than requiring you to wade through network trees, and non-stop backup will finally work properly with network storage. And if you’re still running Windows XP the software will make disks larger than 2TB usable with little fuss.

The only other tempter is the revamped interface. It borrows chunks of True Image 11, such as the large, expandable horizontal backup listings, but moves them all into one place and puts them beneath a Ribbon-like toolbar, represented as large icons in a row. There’s a clean and intuitive Get Started screen that strips out all the complications for backup novices, while advanced users can, with one click, integrate True Image into the Windows control panel and other system areas.

Acronis True Image Home 2012

It’s all good stuff, if not exactly a great leap forward, but our concern is that we’re no longer convinced local backup software is the ideal solution for most home users. The popularity of free sync services such as Dropbox is rocketing by the day, while online backup services such as Carbonite take ease of use to a level even Acronis can’t match. If your net connection isn’t up to that, the low cost of huge hard disks and Windows’ own free backup utility is rendering do-it-all backup suites a little unnecessary for all but the most advanced users.

That said, if you want it all in one package, True Image Home 2012 is undeniably well put together, and does pretty much anything a home user could ask for. We don’t think its move into synchronisation is likely to pull up any trees, and it certainly doesn’t justify an upgrade from last year’s version, but it’s a neat addition to a good all-round piece of software.

Details

Software subcategory Backup software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes

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