Acronis True Image 2014

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In my experience providing IT support for several businesses, I’ve discovered many business owners are so busy running their business, setting up and maintaining a regular backup often gets overlooked… until a hard drive fails. Fortunately my first employer taught me how it is important to have properly functioning backups. He shared with me an unfortunate experience he had, 20 years ago, with an IT company. How they setup a backup system but failed to verify it was functioning properly. How when he had a drive fail, it cost him thousands of dollars and many weeks of late nights to recover… mostly…

With that in mind, I decided to review Acronis True Image 2014 by trying out some real world scenarios.

  • Can I quickly setup a backup?
  • Can a backup be configured to report successful or failed backups?
  • Can a backup be configured to not exceed a quota of space?
  • Can I quickly recover a deleted file?
  • Can I quickly recover a failed hard drive?

As an IT professional, would I recommend this software to my clients or use it as part of a backup plan I configure for a client?

To start off my test, I quickly installed the software on my office PC and configured a backup that seemed most intuitive, an incremental disk backup. I selected all of my primary drive including system image to backup to an external USB drive. I set the schedule to once an hour to create several backup sets over a couple days.

acronis error

Acronis Error

When I tried to recover a test file I deleted, I found that I couldn’t figure out how to quickly access a deleted file. I didn’t read the documentation, cause I’m a geek… so I assumed I needed a file backup so I could access individual files. The file backup completed, I deleted a test file, but Acronis would crash when I clicked recover files or backup settings. I rebooted, but it still would crash.

Fortunately, I discovered hidden in the “gear” menu for the disk backup was “recover files” so I was able to successfully recover a deleted test file.

I also discovered the normal compression setting is keeping the backup quite small. At one point, my drive had only 67GB of data. An incremental backup, set for hourly, with 52 versions, was only taking up 53GB. I set auto-consolidation to limit the backup to 80GB and added and removed some test files to cause the backup to grow.

Unfortunately, the auto-consolidation is taking a long time. It has been chewing on the data for 8 hours as I write this. Perhaps I set the parameters a bit tight.

So far the software is easy enough to use. The individual file recovery option for a disk/partition was a little tricky to find but easy to use once I figured it out. The reporting works fine. I didn’t have a chance to test a full disk recovery. I plan to write a follow up with how that goes and if the auto-consolidation works.

I would recommend this to a home or individual office user using an external drive. Now I’m curious if there is a good solution for small business with central reporting. We shall see…

Author

Philip Housel

Phil Housel is the geek for hire at Cornerstone Technology Services and technical director at Abundant Life Foursquare Church, responsible for computers and networking systems, web development, live audio video and lighting. These opportunities have helped him to become a well rounded technical professional. He is aspiring to become a web app developer creating solutions for small and medium businesses

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