Hands-on review: Acronis True Image - balancing act of usability & power
My wife works from home. It should be a fun and relatively stress-free thing to do, but for her it sometimes came close to hell on earth thanks to a PC that ran like a dog. Not a sleek, super-fast Greyhound type of dog. Nope, we’re talking an elderly dog riddled with fleas and arthritis.
She put up with it for ages before finally asking that I sort her out with a faster machine.
This presented some challenges. There were a bunch of paid apps and a tonne of documents and data she’d accumulated. How was I to retrieve them off of said slow-poke PC and transfer them to a faster machine?
After much head scratching and Googling, I turned to Acronis which is a user friendly and feature-rich disk imaging/backup app designed for home users like me.
The True Image app can create a full disk image copy – making it ideal for disaster protection. There’s also a cloud version that allows you to dump your disk image online which greatly increases the odds of it surviving natural disasters, house fires, theft etc.
It isn’t just whole disk images either. The Acronis True Image app can also back-up individual files and folders and the latest version also offers up the ability to back-up mobile data to a PC and even do Facebook back-ups. In short, True Image is pretty powerful. There not much that it can’t do when it comes to backing up your data.
The version I used was for Windows 10, but it’ll happily run on older iterations of Windows all the way back to Windows 7. There is also a Mac OS version.
Getting set up
Even with Vodafone’s ultra-fast gigabit fibre-X, the download took a few minutes (the Acronis install file is a chunky 500+ MB). Getting set up I entered in some login details and was delighted to see that it remembered my old account. Several background processes and services were now running processing cycles even when I wasn’t using the app. That said, My SurfaceBook’s performance hasn’t suffered any.
True Image's interface is clean, uncluttered, intuitive and simple. Another bonus for 2-in-1 owners is that the interface will work really well in tablet mode. Choosing the type of backup, the source and destination for the data was so idiot-proof that even I got it right first time around.
Digging a little deeper revealed some nifty tools for Disk Cloning, making Rescue-Media and syncing backups. All things told, Acronis have managed to pull off that delicate balancing act between simplicity, usability and power extremely well.
While Acronis defaults to backing up your entire PC (which was just what I needed), I was also able to change this to selected folders. Choosing a folder tree saw an estimate of the space needed for the backup show up at the bottom of the True image screen.
Hitting the options button also allowed me to schedule regular daily, monthly, and weekly backups. Impressively, True Image can also run a backup when it detects that a file in the backup set changes.
For remote use, True Image has a tonne of email notification options. This can handily let you know when a backup session finishes or fails owing to issues such as insufficient destination disk space.
The real beauty of True Image is that it can be as flexible or simple as you need it to be. Those wanting an easy backup will find its top level options are plenty for getting the job done. Those wanting to be a little more sophisticated can delve deeper. Either way, you don’t need a doctorate in advanced rocket science.
Acronis True Image is ideal for non-techies, but still more than powerful and flexible enough for power users wanting greater flexibility. The combination of backup, and cloud backup, disk imaging, and other capabilities makes it an easy to recommend app that manages to be both versatile and usable.