Acronis True Image 2014 Review

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.

True Image 2014 "Getting Started" screen

ed-choice-2013

Editor's Rating:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate It Now
User Rating:
Rating: 3.0/5 (110 votes cast)

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

Pricing

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 wouldn’t help with.

Installation

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.

Backing Up

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.

True Image 2014 disk backup

Setting up a disk backup in Acronis True Image 2014.

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)
  • Scheduling
  • Encryption
  • Compression

There are advanced options such as backup reserve copies, backup splitting, automatic consolidation, and more.

True Image 2014 Advanced Disk Backup Options

Acronis True Image 2014 has many advanced settings to choose from.

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.

True Image 2014 Rescue Media Builder

The Acronis Media Builder.

Restoring

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.

True Image 2014 System recovery

Selecting a backup to recover.

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.

Features

Synchronization

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.

Try&Decide

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.

Clone Disk

Copy partitions from one disk to another.  Useful for migrating to a new hard drive.

Image Mounting

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.

Support

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.

Specifications
Product Name True Image 2014
Version 2014
License Shareware
Price $49.99
Operating Systems Window
Backup Types
Files and Folders yes
Full Disk Image yes
Incremental yes
Differential yes
Backup Destinations
Hard Drive yes
Removable Media yes
Network Shares yes
Blu-ray yes
CD/DVD yes
FTP yes
SFTP no
Online Storage yes
Features
Compression yes
Encryption yes
Email Notifications yes
Error Handling yes
File Versioning yes
Priority Setting yes
Scheduling yes
Speed Limiting yes
Synchronization yes

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of BackupReview.com. He is a cloud fanatic and regularly reviews online backup services. He believes backups should be easy, affordable, and automatic.

Geoff Akerlund

@backupsoftware

Reviews and ratings of the most popular backup solutions

Review of French cloud storage service hubiC: http://t.co/iQWUIq4aUX – 5 days ago

 
  • awraynor

    I think everyone, but me likes this product. I have purchased TrueImage and upgrades 3-4 times. This time I installed 2014 and uninstalled in few days. They have cleaned up the interface, but it still has issues for me. When I went to search for files synced to an external drive the program couldn’t locate the files and froze. Promptly uninstalled and now I am using Genie Timeline Pro after they gave me an offer to purchase at $10. It is fast, search works well and I am thinking of using the builtin Zoolz glacier storage as another layer of backup?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Irma

      What if Genie Timeline like these days? I tried it about 18 months, but found it was slow to backup and used a lot of system resources all the time.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • awraynor

        Mostly good, but a big showstopper. The install went well, it was much easier on resources than other programs I have used.
        Now to the problem. It went well at first, check data items you want backed up and it did it quickly. However, when I went back to change the items the program would freeze and have to be stopped in task manager.
        I eventually found a bad drive, so unsure if that could have contributed to the problem, but I doubt it. That one problem for me was a showstopper nonetheless.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Dr. K. A. Rasheed

    I have almost made up my mind in favour of purchasing a license for Acronis True Image.
    But before that will you please enlighten me as to what happens if my Motherboard is damaged or if I want to upgrade to a new state of the art motherrboard ?
    Can I still bring back my Windows_8.1 to this motherboard ?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

      In order to restore to dissimilar hardware, a license for True Image Premium would be required (+$30). The Premium edition can inject drivers for new hardware at the time of recovery.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Steve

      You can restore to dissimilar hardware with Windows 8.1 anyway. No need for premium. Windows detects new hardware now and sorts itself out. The restore to dissimilar hardware feature was flakey at best anyway.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Peter Meinl

    My biggest problems wit TI 2014 are:

    The built-in scheduler does not wake my PC’s from sleep so I have to keep them running 24/7 for nightly backups. Configuring a Windows scheduled task with TI does not work reliably. This problem with TI exists for years.

    A running TI backup prevents Windows from shutting down with the message “…operations in progress”. They only option to get out of this is a hard reset. This happens often because the scheduling is unreliable.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

      Long shot, but I’m assuming you checked “wake the sleeping/hibernating computer” in the scheduling options? I prefer to run missed backups at system startup, but I haven’t had a problem with True Image waking my computer before I changed that setting. I must be lucky.

      I agree about True Image preventing Windows from shutting down. It’s very annoying! I’m not sure why they haven’t fixed that yet. Sleep/hibernate seems to be the only way around it.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • sgarcata

    Does Acronis only do images? So if I want to get up and running after a failure I have to wait until the entire drive is restored to a new one? I’d prefer to only restore the C: image and then restore specific files that I need urgently. Will it restore the boot sector and System partition?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

      Hi sgarcata. True Image can do file/folder backups as well. In the event of a hard drive failure, you’d have to wait until the entire drive is restored to a new one – yes. You can restore files, folders, individual partitions, just the boot sector, or the entire hard drive. One time when I couldn’t boot my PC, all I had to do was restore the boot sector, and I was up and running in less than 30 minutes. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • sgarcata

        Did you restore the boot sector and then restore the image?

        Do you have a link for me to learn how to restore the boot sector?
        Thanks

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

          Nope. I could have restored the disk image, but it wasn’t necessary because only my boot process was corrupted. I was messing with some system files at the time. There was nothing physically wrong with the hard drive.

          Acronis doesn’t have any specific instructions to recover the boot sector, but the process is similar to recovering the entire hard drive: http://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/documentation/ATI2015/index.html#16517.html

          Basically, boot into the recovery DVD, under “What to recover” select the master boot record (MBR) and system partition, then continue with the restore.

          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          • sgarcata

            thanks Geoff

            VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Mark

    @sgarcata you can read an Acronis 2015 review here http://www.acronisdiscount.com/acronis-true-image-2015-for-pc-review/

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • lisjatchij

    For the beginners here is a big collection of step by step Acronis True Image instructions http://www.allacronis.com/step-by-step.php and comparison with Paragon Hard Disk Manager http://www.softocoupon.com/comparisons/paragon-hard-disk-manager-15-vs-acronis-2015-comparison.php

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • lisjatchij

    @sgarcata here is review of true image 2015 with some backup/disk image features description http://www.allacronis.com/acronis-true-image-2015-upgrade-promo.php

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • dougs

    As the owner of a small IT business I have been using Acronis products for more than 7 years. In the beginning Acronis products worked well but during the last three or four years they have been unreliable. I just had a customer who backed-up regularly but then was not able to restore when his hard drive crashed. The backup file validated successfully but TrueImage produced an error when attempting to restore (we tried several new hard drives). I have had many times when the server version has produced images that were large in size but showed no files backed up and would not validate.

    And the home version (TrueImage) GUI has changed with every version: just when you learn how to use the (goofy) interface it changes.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • aghosheh

    I downloaded True Image 2015 and installed it on 3 computers
    as a trial.

    Computer 1: Windows 8.1 Quad Processor, 16 GB, 1TB drive
    Computer 2: Windows 8.1 2 Quad Processors, 64 GB RAM, 2 1TB Drives, 1 SSD Drive
    Computer 3: Windows XP Quad Processors, 8 GB RAM, 160 GB Drive.

    Backup steps After Installation which went quick and no problems:

    Backup drives to an external 1 TB USB drive. I did the Entire PC backup option with defaults. And took the external USB drive from computer to computer and the backup. It was quick for most part between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how much data on the drive.
    Computer 1 took the longest because of the massive data on that.

    Created a bootable media on a USB thump drive and a DVD to try both.

    Restore:
    From Windows 81 and XP run the application and select restore, select the image
    you want and off you go, after few warnings that you will over write your stuff, blah blah, the restore went great and the image was restored as advertised.

    The Drama:

    Computer 2 with the SSD drive crashed the second day after the backup, the SSD will not
    boot windows, will not restore save point will not go into safe mode and will not allow me to install windows over it from scratch. It was DEAD. Lucky me I got a backup. So, I popped in a new drive, booted the recovery DVD from True Image, it asks if I want to boot Acronis True Image or regular boot, I selected 1 to boot True Image. It boots, I got the screen from the
    recovery and an arrow for the mouse. BUT the mouse will not move, The KB will not type. I suspected the USB ports may not be turned on so I rebooted, went into the BOIS, checked
    everything and the USB are enabled so what the heck. After few tries, I dug up a serial mouse and I am back in business. STRIKE ONE.

    Selected Restore and went looking for the Image, it’s not there, but the external USB
    drive IS connected, and it is ON. Oh Yah, the USB Ports are killed by True Image, can’t read them. STRIKE TWO.

    At this point I can’t restore my drive because of that I will have to install Windows 8.1, reinstall True Image then HOPE it will restore my drive. STRIKE THREE.

    The strange ting is on the XP drive it worked great, no problems and didn’t have issues with the USB ports. Now I know it’s most likely incompatibility with my hardware, BUT this is my main business computer. Good thing is I copy the data off the computer daily so IF true Image still wouldn’t restore I can live.

    Also I couldn’t find anywhere in the restore option where I can restore a boot sector, I restore files and folders but nothing to tell me just get the boot. Interface is overly simplified, it’s like it’s for the dummies, I don’t see a power user option or advanced options, it’s a backup for the masses interface. Anyway. The thing worked on the XP and one Windows 8 but failed due to hardware incompatibility on the third. Try before you buy worked for me. I have to find something else.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

      Thanks for sharing that detailed review! That definitely sounds like a hardware/driver issue, and one that would drive me nuts if it happened to me.

      About restoring the boot sector: I haven’t tried True Image 2015, but in the 2014 version, you can restore the master boot record by ticking “MBR” in the recovery wizard. It’s a bit hard to explain, so here’s a screenshot.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)