Acronis True Image 2014 is the latest release of the popular disk imaging software. What is a disk image? Think of it as an exact copy of your hard drive, which can restore your computer to the exact state it was in when the backup was made.
I’ve been using True Image for years and it’s saved my data from system crashes on numerous occasions. For this reason and more, it gets my highest rating and this year’s Editor’s Choice award.
- Backs up your entire PC via full disk imaging, even to the cloud
- Can backup files and folders
- Easy-to-use interface
- Free 5GB of cloud storage
- Try&Decide can roll-back system changes
- No free support after 30 days
The Bottom Line
Acronis True Image 2014 remains the leader of disk imaging software. I found it easy enough for anyone to use, yet powerful enough for even the most complicated backup jobs.
Acronis True Image 2014 costs $50 ($30 to upgrade from a previous version). It can be combined with 250GB of cloud storage for an extra $5/month.
The cloud backup option is useful for protecting your data from fire, theft, flooding, and other disasters that a local backup can’t protect you from.
I downloaded the 30 day free trial and was emailed a serial number to use. As with previous versions, the installation was very easy. I simply clicked through the menus, accepted the licence agreement, and it was done.
When first started, Acronis True Image gives you 3 options:
- Back up system
- Recover data
- Back up to Cloud
For testing, I chose to backup my entire C: drive to a local USB hard drive. However, I could have just as easily backed up online. Acronis True Image 2014 is the first release to support full disk imaging to the cloud. It’s also the only consumer-level backup software I know of to support this.
In previous versions, I chose to only backup files and folders to the cloud. I think I will continue to do this (saves bandwidth), and reserve disk imaging for mammoth USB hard drives (which should be your first line of defense, anyways).
Acronis True Image also supports:
- Backup schemes (incremental, full, differential)
There are advanced options such as backup reserve copies, backup splitting, automatic consolidation, and more.
Bootable Media to the Rescue
Creating bootable media is an important step with any disk imaging software, and I’ve always been impressed with how quick and easy it is with Acronis True Image.
You can create bootable media using a CD, DVD, or USB thumb drive.
Restoring your computer after a system crash or hard drive failure is never a fun experience. Fortunately, as long as you have your rescue media and backups ready, Acronis True Image makes this as painless as possible.
After booting into the rescue media, I selected where my backups were stored (options include local and external hard drives, network places, and the Acronis cloud) and immediately began restoring my system.
Acronis True Image had no problem restoring my data during testing.
For situations where you can still boot into Windows, you can restore right from the desktop software. You can also restore individual files and folders, or mount a disk image and copy files over.
You can sync files between two computers, even if the computers aren’t on the same network. Note: both computers must have Acronis True Image installed.
This lets you rollback any changes you make to your computer. Not sure if that EXE file you downloaded is safe? After activating Try&Decide, you can make any change to your computer, then choose to either rollback or apply it.
Acronis Secure Zone
Acronis True Image gives you the option of storing your backups in a secure partition on your disk. It is only readable by True Image, and thus safe from viruses and other malware.
Copy partitions from one disk to another. Useful for migrating to a new hard drive.
You can access any backup image as a regular disk on your hard drive.
Convert to Windows Backup
You can convert your Acronis backup to a Windows backup (and vice versa). This is only useful on Windows 7 and earlier versions, since Windows Backup has been replaced by File History in Windows 8.
Free 5GB Cloud Storage
No, it’s not enough to backup your hard drive to, but it will store your important documents and other small files. It’s nice to see Acronis offer this for free, with increasing competition from online backup services.
If there’s one area Acronis suffers from, it’s providing quality tech support.
If you’re past the 30 day grace period of your True Image purchase, a support ticket is going to cost you $10. That’s not counting support from the Acronis community forums, which is free but may not get you an immediate answer.
Fortunately, recovery support is always free. That’s one less headache to worry about, as if data loss isn’t stressful enough.
|Files and Folders|
|Full Disk Image|