Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


True Image Home 2011
by Alan German

Another year. Another version of Acronis True Image Home. So, what does the 2011 edition of this perennial disk imaging software have to offer?

The first obvious item is a new user interface. Now, there may well be some who are huge fans of the new look and feel (the program development team for instance); however, I regret that I am not a member of this particular fan club. There doesn't appear to be any major new functionality, but there is a fairly steep learning curve as to where all the functions are now located.

For example, let's take a look at the bread-and-butter backup and recover options. The disk backup wizard is gone. Instead, there is a screen showing all the available disks and a whole host of optional entries. You need to check off the partitions that are to be included in the backup, and then make sure that the options are set correctly for your preferences.

In my case, the program defaults to G:\My backups as a storage location for the disk images. I don't mind using the G: drive, which is an external USB disk, but I certainly don't want to use the default “My backups” directory since I have already set up a directory tree to maintain some degree of order for backups of various hard disks and their associated partitions. So, this is one item that needs to be reset.

Similarly, the default backup scheme enabled is “Version chain”. This too is not a preferred option for me since it creates full and differential backups, and deletes versions older than six months. My normal mode of operation is to use the “Single version scheme” to create a brand new, full backup every time I run the software, and keep the resulting images until I decide that they are no longer required.

Now all of the items along these lines are simple changes and the specific preferences, once set, can be retained for future use, so it's really just a question of getting used to how the program now operates.

But, some other odd features show up when you run the program a few days after making one or more backups. The main screen shows some details of the last few images that were created. However, in big letters, it indicates that the disk is “not backed up yet”. Of course, this isn't true. The backup was indeed made some time ago. And, to be fair, there is a message in a smaller font indicating that the backup was completed. So, I guess what it's trying to say is that a new image can be created right now, using the previously-specified imaging options.

But, there's another odd thing. The option to “Back up now” is quite evident, but where do you go if you want to restore one of the images? Immediately after making the image, the summary information includes a “Recover” button. However, after a few days, the recover option mystically disappears, leaving you to figure out how to accomplish this operation.

And, this process is not very intuitive, nor is it very well described in the help menu. One way that seems to work is to click on the “Browse for backup” link on the main screen's menu. Browse for the image that you wish to recover, and select “add to backup list”. The listing for the image will now appear in the lower window pane, together with a “Recover” button.

For images that are already displayed in this list, you can also click on the right-arrow button, immediately to the right of “Home” in the navigation window. A list of the available images will drop down. Clicking on one of these loads a new window that also provides a Recover button.

So, while everything still works, the user interface needs some getting used to. However, no doubt the UI will change again in 2012 – perhaps for the better...


Bottom Line:

True Image Home 2011 (US $25 - user group discount)
Acronis
http://www.acronis.com


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Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

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