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Acronis True Image

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Introduction: Three types of your data and three types of your images

Some History

Vendor-restricted free versions of Acronis True Image

Three types of your data and three types of your images


Shortcomings of Acronis True Image

Introduction: Three types of your data and three types of your images

Image backup programs (or how I like to call them ghosters) provide a unique backup solution different form previous generations of backup programs. They merge Unix dd-type sector-by-sector backups with tar-style file-by-file-backups preserving major capabilities of each.

With version 10 Acronis True Image reached certain level of maturity. It has enough flexibility to accommodate most of the home PC backup situations and is a very (I would like to stress the word very !) powerful tool for fighting malware infections. See Softpanorama Malware Defense Strategy.  Can restore unbootable PC using special restore CD (can be burned on any other computer of you did not do it in advance or misplaced).  Later version, such as 13 actually has deteriorated quality due to multiple bells and whistles. Free versions from Seagate and WD are recommended if you use drives from those manufactures.

GUI interface is clumsy and misleading, but the program itself is very capable. Amazingly so. And bootable CD recovery disk is capable to perform complex operations too.  If you use it regularly you get used to it and know how to achieve certain results so clumsy GUI does not bother you as much as novices. Integrity of each image need to bested after backup.

Like in Ghost you can view and restore selected files. Just click in Windows File Explorer on the image and you can browse and copy any file or folder you wish. This is actually much better way to do this operation then built-in Acronis file restore capability. In version 2010 it is simply buggy and some folders are not restored. Use caution is you restore multiple folders with it and always check the results. That is very important if you merge data from older backup with new data saved from infected partition.

Generally I recommend to create inventory of files on your drive before backup using Unix find or similar program. This way if you experience difficulties with restore you will always be able to compare status of the restore with the status of the original drive.

NTFS partitions need to be thoroughly cleaned from junk and defragmented before creating an image. That's a must for drives that contain over 100GB of data as both backup time and restore time became exceedingly long which de-motivates users to make regular backups.  Each additional 10G adds approximately an hour to backup and restore.

It make sense to classify your data into three category:

  1. Your current, dynamic documents of high importance (letters written by you or to you, Ms Word documents, research, programs written by you, you Web site pages, etc)
  2. Static content of great value:
  3. Replaceable at no cost downloadable content.

You can split your drive into three section according to those criteria. For example 500GB drive can be split into three partitions:

For backup your can use a pair of mirrored 2GB drives also with three partitions:

NTFS partitions need to be thoroughly cleaned from junk and defragmented before creating an image. That's a must for drives that contain over 100GB of data as both backup time and restore time became exceedingly long which de-motivates users to make regular backups.

Some History

Acronis came to prominence when Symantec screw up Ghost after releasing Ghost 2003 (around 2006). When Symantec came to sense in 2009 and tried to reacquire lost and extremely valuable franchise with Ghost 14 and Ghost 15 it was too late. Acronis True Image (version 10 for XP and 12 for Win 7) is a backup solution of respectable level of reliability.  There are two free versions for two major drive manufactures (Seagate and WD). 

With version 10 it reached certain level of maturity, It has enough flexibility to accommodate most of the home PC backup situations and is a powerful tool for fighting malware infections. See Softpanorama Malware Defense Strategy.  Can restore unbootable PC using special restore CD (can be burned on any other computer of you did not do it in advance or misplaced).

GUI interface is clumsy and misleading, but the program itself is very capable. Amazingly so. And bootable CD recovery disk is capable to perform complex operations too.  If you use it regularly you get used to it and know how to achieve certain results so clumsy GUI does not bother you as much as novices. Integrity of each image need to bested after backup.

Like in Ghost you can view and restore selected files. Just click in Windows File Explorer on the image and you can browse and copy any file or folder you wish. This is actually much better way to do this operation then built-in Acronis file restore capability. In version 2010 it is simply buggy and some folders are not restored. Use caution is you restore multiple folders with it and always check the results. That is very important if you merge data from older backup with new data saved from infected partition.

Vendor-restricted free versions of Acronis True Image

There are several vendor-restricted free versions of Acronis True Image that is free for those who have bought hard drives from Seagate ( or Western Digital). Like Ghost it images your existing drive or partition onto your new hard drive or file. The cloning facility supports both FAT32 and NTFS partitions. Like in Ghost you can view and restore selected files.

TIP: You can upgrade from free (Seagate or WD) limited versions to full version of Acronis True image for $29.99 via a Promootion from Acronus site

The names for those free version are




Actoris is amazingly capable program. It has unique "try&decide" feature.

Tendency to overwrite the disk C in system image restoration operations

Partially due to bugs, partially due to mantra "one Acronis True Image instance -- one computer" complex operations with images can lead to disasters when due to built-in limitations that restrict the program you lose the information you tried to protect.

For example if you want to copy system partition to other USB drive. Any such operation is not safe if Acronis asks you to reboot the system. There is no need for it and generally this is hit that can overwrite your disk C.  For the same reason you should generally try to minimize the number of disks connected as Acronis True Image can mix them up. Just two drives is the best as there is no space for error in this configuration.

If you are not careful Acronis can wipe out your C disk performing a restore of the other system image on a USB drive that you intend to direct to other USB drive and instead will be applied to your drive C. The warning sign is when Acronis True Image wants to reboot computer to proceed. Never go past this point is your target is different from bootable drive (for example if you put C drive from other computer into USB enclosure, made a image from it and now want to restore it to a different USB drive).

You can imagine your surprise with the results if such thing happens ;-). I once did that. Thanks God there was no critical data on this wiped C drive. I already migrate it to a new PC. My first reaction was to throw this garbage program (and here I mean Acronis) where it belongs. But the problem is that other similar programs are not much better and now I am trained not to trust Acronis and probably can do better in future. Another factor is that if you don't use Acronis True Image often you forget about its capabilities (in this case the write decision would be to use cloning of the disk, not restoration from the image the whole disk (in this case my feeling is Acronis tried to apply restore operation of the physical drive with the same drive letter as the image -- this time C:). For drives with the data you are better off using file restore mode which works as expected.  But for system partitions beware Acronis ;-).  As I don't use complex operations with Acronis often I forgot about those bitter lessons and am punished by the my own stupidity and the stupidity of Acronis designers again and again. And believe me your jaw really drops in such cases when you see the results of the "restore"... It should properly called "wipe out"... 

Please remember that there are just two way of safely working with bootable images (partition C in Windows) in Acronis:

To copy bootable drives never try first to create image and then restore image. Bugs in Acronis can lead to restoring the image on your internal C drive instead of USB. Use two USB enclosures and  the "clone drive" operation from the Utilities menu.

So when you trying to recover bootable disk (disk with partition C:) I recommend never trust Acronis True Image GUI interface. It is a buggy junk. You can probably do better using bootable CD and having in computer just your target drive. Stakes are too high for error.

Capabilities in resizing NTFS partitions

Like Ghost, Acronis True Image can resize the NTFS partition on the fly (both shrinking and expanding is possible). You do not need a working OS to restore the image, as you can burn recovery CD. As Norton Ghost problems demonstrated a good recovery CD is difficult to implement. DOS is no longer suitable, flavors of linux are not always compatible with the hardware. True Image is suffering from the same problem. So testing, testing and testing all variants should be the rule. If this program fails you it will fail you a big time so you better be careful.

The forte of this utility lies in the ability to resize NTFS partitions. Products that perform such complex operation as "on the fly" NTFS resizing should not try to be "all things for all people". Ability to reliably resize NTFS partitions, speed and ability to recognize hardware for restore without OS are three requirements that are really important. Everything else is peripheral and should be viewed as such. Too high and/or unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment.

Sandwiched with NTFS and Ext3 partitions drives and complex setups

A lot of people who experienced difficulties and gave the product low marks belong to the category of users with sandwiched drives. Most have a complex setup with both Windows and Linux partitions. Some want the product to work seamlessly with Ext3 (linux) partitions. Some tried to perform some complex operation without much thought or preparation and were amazed that it failed. I think each second negative review was written by users who were either not well prepared or expect too much from the program.

First of all the installation and burning the CD (or better creating a copy of C-drive on USB drive for future restore operation using "disk clone" capability) should be done on a healthy system. While attempt to save a dying or infected system might succeed, failure in such case is more typical and should not surprise anybody...

Standalone CD recovery disk

Standalone (bootable) restore utility is a weak spot of any Ghost-like utility, so in case of restoration with OS some work should done to make your restore configuration as transparent for True Image as possible. Minimal amount of drives should be connected. For example laptops should taken out of dock and USB drive should be connected directly to laptop port without any hubs. That increases the chances of success. But any program that relies on custom standalone loader works badly without Windows and that's a critical problem of this class of programs. I think this is an irresolvable problem, so you need to find a way to avoid it completely (see below). Fortunately, with cheap USB drives available now this is possible.

The best way to avoid using the standalone loader is to create full copy of the existing C drive on a small USB disk drive (80-120G disk drive usually suffice) and then do regular backups on a larger (1-2TB) USB drive. In case your computer disk crashes or system became infected or other serious problem with Windows arise, you can boot from this reserve USB drive, load True Image (remember this is a copy of C-drive so True Image is installed) and restore your system partition from the most recent backup without using standalone loader. This works with XP and might not work with Windows 7 which is more tricky and may refuse to boot from USB drive. But those who migrates to Windows 7 from Windows XP always have XP system available so this is less of a problem that one might expect.

If you fail you still can use this bootable copy for some time and have time to simplify your setup and to prepare for a new attempt to restore the image without too much time pressure. This additional ability of bootable UCB drive to alleviate the time pressure is extremely important for success of the restore operation. In my experience the most stupid and most damaging for data blunders were done when I was under time pressure and need working computer "now".

One problem with True Image that I have found is that when I try to create an image of C drive it does not give me an option to perform the operation without rebooting to a specialized standalone loader. That's a blunder in the design of the program. In other words, for C-drive backup it does not uses Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS). This makes some sense as this removes any malware from the memory but as standalone loader is unreliable and always will be unreliable user should be given a choice. At least it is completely inexcusable in disk copy operation that True Image also provides (see below).

Again as it is inevitable that many users have problems with standalone loader (no matter on which OS it is based, Linux or something else) this is a blunder that need to be corrected. But at least using the trick that I proposed you can avoid using standalone loader when restoring the image.

The function of cloning of disks (hidden in Tools menu) is very useful and works really well for all partitions exact system. For system partition it behaves like the operation of creating an image of system partition and uses a standalone loader. Still it can and should be used for creation of alternative bootable drive on USB drive that I mentioned above. Having such drive is much preferable to bootable CD approach that True Image has.

Speed of the Acronis

The product is really fast. It took me less then 30 min to clone 30G of data on 90G system partition on 7200 RPM harddrive on my laptop using regular 7200 RPM USB 2.0 drive as the target. This is approximately three times faster then free partimage utility under Linux (1 hour 20 min for the same drive). I think that backup from solid state drive (for example Intel 80G X25-M G2) to 15K RPM eSCSI drive of the same partition will take less then 10 min which is as close to enterprise backup speed as one can get.

True image is much faster then Linux Partimage (at least three times faster: 30 min for 30G of data on C drive instead 1h 30 min in one of my tests)

Some random observations

Ability to shut down computer after the backup is a nice little touch. It tells that people who wrote it know something about its typical usage.

All-in-all, the better you are prepared for the disk crash or virus infection that cannot be disinfected by regular antivirus, the simpler is your backup and restore configuration, the better are your chances that True Image can save your day.

The product has excellent compatibility with various version of NTFS (for example it does not require that disk be defragmented before the backup). That is the True Image the strongest point. In way this is a "True Image" of NTFS filesystems.

It's priced approximately the same as antivirus programs and works much better that any of them if you have a clone of your C-drive on USB and the most recent C-drive image.

Shortcomings of Acronis True Image

Low tolerance to image errors

The structure of the image is proprietary and there is zero ability to recover from the errors. This is a weakness which can make backup unusable due to some minor problem, but it is shared with other similar programs.

The drawback is that has zero tolerance to errors in the image it creates. Also logging of errors  is deficient in a sense that errors in restore does not prevent the whole restore operation to be marked as successful. I have found that even if the size of restored files on the disk is less then original by significant margin (almost 50% - so only half of restore was accomplished), that restore was reported as success.

Still the absence of image recovery utility is a big drawback. That means that each time you created an image you better check if you can browse it with Acronis. It not you this image is unusable and you need to redo it.

Once I lost a very important image of system drive because of this "feature". See below Corrupt image problem.

In one case I backed up approximately 250GB information from the drive, image was approximately 200GB in size and the resulting restored files on the partition were around 150GB or so. As it turned out Acronis did not restore some ISO images and stopped in the middle of the backup on folder /ISO producing the following error:

Information 7/20/2012 12:27:16 PM Failed to recover file or folder 
'openSUSE-12.1-DVD-x86_64.iso'. Error occurred while reading the file

No folders after this one (in alphabetic order) were restored... So 100GB of so were missing and it was not initially clear what is missing and why: restore was marked successful. If this is success I do not know what is failure. I do not know whether those ISO's that were skipped were damaged or not (the drive was almost dead and I was extremely happy that I was able to make "the last image" from it), but this is not the level of diagnostic you can expect from a commercial program.

Corrupt image problem

Looks like some versions of Acronis True Image suffer from a nasty bug (I think WD free version does). In this case after you created the image you can't restore it. Acronis reports that image is corrupt despite the fact that the drive is OK and you can copy the image file form it to the other drive without any errors.

When Acronis True Image create an image, it also creates a check sum every few thousand bytes or so and embeds the checksums in the backup. Then each time when image is read those checksums are used to validates a file. Any failure makes the backup "Invalid." It looks like there is a bug in this process that either creates invalid checksums or in some other way forces Acronis True Image to mark it as invalid. Again we are talking about images on the drive that has no problems whatsoever.

According to Acronis support you are stuck and can say information on the image goodbye.

Before doing that you still can try to wave dead chicken:

Acronis is very bad in calculating backup/restore times

Another problem with Acronis is that it is very bad in calculating backup times and simply horrible in calculating restore time. In case of restoration mentioned above it estimated 1 day 2 hours which is way too much. Real time for 200GB backup on USB drive is typically around 8-10 hours.

For smaller it plays an interesting joke: you see 2 minutes left, go for coffee expecting to return when restore is done. Then after return you see "Remaining: 10 minutes" message. That does not inspire much confidence in developers, does it ?

Simple, trivial operations are OK and you generally should have not problems with it. For example you can create image of your C drive and then restore C: drive from the image. Same is true for your USB drives.

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[Jan 03, 2014] True Image has stopped working Knowledge Base

After running a while, TI2013 very often stops working.
In the eventlog are the following messages:

Faulting application name: TrueImage.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x50354ef2
Faulting module name: ntdll.dll, version: 6.1.7601.17725, time stamp: 0x4ec49b8f
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x0002e3be
Faulting process id: 0xc24
Faulting application start time: 0x01ce15bda8dbb80d
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\TrueImageHome\TrueImage.exe
Faulting module path: C:\WINDOWS\SysWOW64\ntdll.dll
Report Id: 327b1d97-81b1-11e2-adbb-005056c00008

Any suggestions?

Colin B

Uninstall 2013, download and run the Acronis Cleaner (See Grovers Guides in the left hand margin for the link to the cleaner(, reboot, re-install.

[Mar 09, 2013] kievite's review of True Image 2013

Pudugramam S. Narayanan:

This email is sheer rambling. A powerful back up software should be able to backup and restore. We are talking of restoring entire disk image which Acronis claims it does and apparently people are having problems. So what is the correct way to do a sector-by-sector or bit-by-bit cloning so that restoring is effortless. Stop rambling guys and be clear and concise.

Pudugramam S. Narayanan says: So what is the correct way to do a sector-by-sector or bit-by-bit cloning so that restoring is effortless

Unfortunately, there is no royal way to reliable backups ;-). The reliability of backup at the end depends on the level of user qualification. There is no way around this requirement.

As for the correct way it depends on your equipment, your data and on your level of qualification. As mentioned before, the latter is the most important factor.

The first commandment is to use for your data a different partition then C:, possibly a different drive. This way you do not need to backup OS files (30-40GB each time you backup your data. For desktops, one way to achieve that is to buy 80GB SSD drive for OS and use the drive that came with computer as the second (data) drive.

For laptops when the danger is for psychical drop it is important to have a SSD drive of the size you need. You need to pay money for that, and if you need over 300GB, substantial money.

And remember that if your OS or laptop goes south you can put your drive in a USB enclosure and read data partition with the different OS.

For small backups one thing to do is to have at least two backups on two different USB drives (for example on odd days you backup to drive A, and on even to drive B). Or USB drive and cloud storage. You also need to have multiple images so that one bad image does not mean a death sentence for your data.

If you have, say, more then 60-70 Gb of valuable data to have a more reliable backup requires dollar investment in better equipment. The way to diminish risk is to use a RAID enclosure with two or four drives and multiple partitions and directly copy you harddrive to one of those partitions With Acronis then all or by second level directories separately periodically (the later can be scheduled with xcopy which is a system utility that comes with MS Windows), so that you are less dependent of proprietary nature of Acronis backup in case of restore. They do not disclose what is the structure of the image so if it is bad, your data are most probably gone. In other words using the monolithic Acronis image to backup data over, say 60-70 GB is a bad idea.
I would like to repeat that in my view Acronis is an imaging program and its forte is to work with system images (resize, move to different computer, etc), not so much to backup your data.

Pudugramam S. Narayanan:
I don't disagree with what you are suggesting. The issue was how reliable Acronis is. Second, you need to understand that most customers are retail customers with a PC wanting to backup their data and restore their machine in case of a crash with minimal effort. Keeping it simple is very important.

The idea of separating OS from data is too outdated. Most desktops and laptops nowadays come with a single internal disk and that too large sized. There is absolutely no harm in having OS and data on the same disk. Second, OS files are as important and changing as data in that they keep getting updated by the manufacturer with new patches and dlls very frequently.

The size of the disk that can be backed up is irrelevant especially if you have a reliable back up software. And having a reliable back up software is the issue most users are trying to grapple with in this review board. I will discuss that now.

Acronis has a beautiful concept of backing up bit-by-bit the entire disk. The problem was how to achieve that reliably. And the answer is to boot the machine using Acronis CD and then back up the entire disk. That way windows or the OS or no other program is running in the background and we are assured of the integrity of the the back up. This is called taking a cold back up meaning backing up a static disk with no other program writing to the disk other than the back up software.

As far as the data is concerned, one can simply back it up using Acronis when running Windows since you can be make sure no other program is touching your data files while backing up.

Once this is clear, all one needs to do is to back up the entire disk maybe once or twice a week and take daily back ups of the data portion only.

An even better solution is to clone the C: disk using Acronis so that if a crash occurs, the recovery time is minimal.

I have been using Acronis for 4 years now and I realized only now that I have been taking the full disk back up incorrectly. But by booting the Acronis CD, my backup came out successful.

Of course one could go with RAID which I think is more expensive and not owned by most retail customers.

I am just a business user of my desktop and all I need is a simple inexpensive way to back up the entire disk bit by bit so that I can restore with minimal hassle. And I think most customers will subscribe with that intention. And Acronis seems to fit that bill.

Acronis does a job good if we understand how to do it right. Sadly, they themselves have not documented it clearly on how to take complete back ups reliably and how to restore.

Roy G. Biv:
I want to thank both Kievite and Narayanan for very helpful ideas on making a RELIABLE back-up. Making a couple of cloned drives instead of disk images sounds like a step up in reliability (and, secondarily, in ease of restore). Likewise, booting from the Acronis CD to make a "cold back-up" (or, really, a "cold clone," I guess) makes sense. I'm going to switch my backup strategy based on these ideas.

For me, I don't need a perfect restoration. I expect a no-more-than-several-months-old clone of my C: drive (system and programs) along with constantly up-to-date backup of my D: drive (data) will be adequate, so long as they really do restore when called upon.


"Likewise, booting from the Acronis CD to make a "cold back-up" (or, really, a "cold clone," I guess) makes sense. I'm going to switch my backup strategy based on these ideas."

Windows NTFS (which is the name of Windows filesystem) is a pretty advanced filesystem and has mechanism called snapshots. Which Acronis uses. So when you start to backup a disk, the OS redirects all writes to the disk to a different (non-visible to you) area of the disk and then when backup ends, changes are merged. You can edit your documents on it during the backup. That saves time and effort and I not understand why we should make your life more miserable that it already is. Rebooting PC with a CD takes time makes backup more complex and time consuming and adds very little to the plate. Only masochists do that ;-).

Please understand that cold back-up is necessary only in case you backup the partition which contains OS(system partition) or a disk with it. Actually what Acronis does in this case is performing cold backup anyway (note that it reboots the OS in a process substituting "native" Windows for its bootstrap OS), but mechanism is too complex and sometimes fails. So for OS partition backing up from a bootable CD does make sense.

Otherwise this is a waist of time and in no way increase reliability or security, with the exception of the case when your PC is infected (when you boot from a bootable CD, you also avoid all worms or viruses that might run in your PC memory and which might interfere with backup). So while using cold backup for the partition with the OS (system partition) makes perfect sense it is generally redundant for all other disks and partitions.

Restore in Acronis is generally more reliable from the bootable CD. It is just simpler environment and due to this chances for success are higher. In case of desktop or docked laptop with additional disks you also should disconnect all redundant disks, to make the environment simpler and less prone to errors in selection of the wrong partition for the restore.

Acronis "bit-by-bit" mode is bit-by-bit only by name. And in reality this capability is available for everybody for free, as you can always boot a Linux bootable CD (for example Knoppix) and backup the whole disk with the old Unix program called DD and then compress the image with gzip. The speed will be much less and the size of backup with be exactly the same as the size of the original disk (before compression). Also with the real "bit by bit" copy you can restore it only on the original drive or it's exact replacement (it's actually more complex and restore on a larger drive is also possible via Linux ntfsresize utility ).

The main advantage of "raw" image is that this method does not care about corrupted data -- you can backup even a partition that Windows can't see due to some serious problems with NTFS.

Acronis is a derivative of Ghost. The main advance that Ghost (the original program of this class created by Australian firm Binary Research in 1997) implemented is to imitate dd, while understanding the structure of filesystem. So it backs up partitions not bit-by-bit, but file-by-file just imitating bit-by-bit backup. This way you achieve much better compression (note that the size of Acronis image is usually just around 50% of the size of data on the drive, not 50% of the size of the drive as in case of compressed "raw" image, so if you have 10GB of data on a 100GB partition, the image will be around 5GB not 50GB ). And you can perform various manipulations necessary for restoration of those data on the partition of different size, can change id of the drive and can backup parts of the filesystems (in "raw" bit-by-bit mode the only operation available is backup of the whole disk or partition).

[Dec 10, 2012] ASUS VivoBook X202E-DH31T 11.6-Inch Touch Laptop

In Acronis you need to boot from the CD and copy the whole disk. Then restore the whole disk.
X202e hardware update, December 5, 2012


Clayton Abrams (Lincoln, CA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: ASUS VivoBook X202E-DH31T 11.6-Inch Touch Laptop (Personal Computers)

I was able to update the X202e to a 250G Samsung SSD drive. The increased performance is outstanding and almost unbelievable.

I could not clone the factory 500 Gbyte drive. Most cloning software will not work like Acronis etc. They get upset with a Win 8 partition on the system (GPT?). I may have that name incorrect. I tried for three days without success and felt it was mission impossible.

Microsoft Windows 8 has a binary backup and restore function. Look at the Win 8 Control Panel to find it. I tried dozens of time to use it, but for some reason all backup's failed using the Asus 500 G Drive. Not sure why this function will not work. When I installed the SSD drive the Microsoft 8 built in binary backup/restore worked 100% the first time. Strange!

I finally did a new clean new install on the Samsung 250G SSD drive using a USB CDROM. I used a Microsoft Win 8 install DVD the install was so clean and simple I concluded this is the only method to use. I found a lot of strange things happen with the initial install. Of course I needed more drivers.

I then went to the Asus Web Site and downloaded all drivers. There were about 20 drivers. Once installed as far as I can tell everything works as the laptop comes from the factory. Of course none of the 3rd party software was there. That's OK with me.

Now looking for a replacement battery. Found one for $115, will wait on this. Saw a Youtube Video on CPU update. This looks very easy to do.

This X202e sure is a great hardware platform for updates and upgrades.

Hope this helps, Clay

USB 3.0 vs. eSATA Is faster better By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols


USB 3.0's SuperSpeed 5 Gbps (Gigabits per second) is more than ten times faster than USB 2.0's top theoretical speed of 480 Mbps (Megabits per second). In addition, USB 3.0 supports asynchronous data transfers, which means that, unlike USB 2.0, it doesn't need to wait to poll a USB device every time it wants to start shipping data one way or the other.

In addition, USB 3.0 includes a new transfer method called Bulk Streams. With Bulk Streams, USB now supports multiple data stream transfers. The net effect of this is that the protocol will do much better with huge data transfers such as those required by viewing an HD movie that's residing on an external hard drive.

Still, on those same external drives, USB 3.0 must deal with the SATA to USB protocol conversion slowdown. So, who wins when it comes to raw read and write speeds? We still don't know.

I did, however, run some rough benchmarks to get an idea of what we're dealing with. For my devices I used a Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II 1TB 7,200 RPM external hard drive with its eSATA port and ran it against a Western Digital My Book 3.0 with a similar drive inside. I attached these to a Gateway SX2802 PC with a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 CPU and 6GBs of DDR2 memory. On this system I was running Windows 7 Ultimate. To enable it to handle USB 3.0, I installed a StarTech 2 Port PCI Express SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Card Adapter.

With this setup, USB tends to be about 20% faster than eSATA at reads, while eSATA was about 20% faster at writing data to the disk. While I make no claims for these to be definitive benchmarks (I used the freeware Crystal DiskMark 3.0 program for my tests), I do think the results indicate what you can expect to see from today's eSATA and USB 3.0 drives.

In both cases the real world results were quite a bit slower than their theoretical bests. With reads, my USB drive averaged 90 MBps, while the eSATA drive came in at 75 MBps. When it came to writing to the disk eSATA still processed data at 75 MBps while the USB drive dropped to 62 MBps.

[Dec 05, 2012] True Image 2013 Software


It's not Acronis True Image that is a problem. It's mostly the users ;-), December 4, 2012

This review is inspired by the discussion initiated by user Dave in comments to the negative review of Acronis True Image 2013 by Tech Guy.

I would like to thank Dave for his contribution to this discussion. He managed to convert a rant into something that is interesting and educational to read. Again, thanks a lot Dave. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

To counter negative reviews of this (actually decent and pretty valuable product) I would like to state that I am a long time user of Acronis. I regularly (daily) use the product from late 2009 to 2012 (I switched from Norton Ghost, because Symantec destroyed the product). I used Acronis 10 until recently and now I switched to Acronis 13 as I got a Windows 8 PC (never used versions in between). For all those years (and it took me probably a year to learn the features as well as strong and weak points of the program, including the different reliability of restore from the boot disk and Windows) it failed me only once. And in this case I was probably the culprit as much as the program. Acronis image is monolithic and failure of one part makes image unusable. So it is suitable only for small images, say below 60 GB where buying an additional disk drives for 1:1 copy would be expensive and not practical. I think this is a side effect of compression (format is proprietary). In any case this is a serious weakness of a product and should be taken into account by any user. IMHO image should consist of logical blocks so that if one block failed the other still can be restored. And like in real filesystems key directory data should be duplicated in the backup in several places. Currently the image is "all or nothing" proposition and that means that it is unsuitable for valuable data without verification (or several verifications) and "dry run" restorations. This "feature" also implies that you should have several "generations" of image for your safety, not a single ("the last") image.

To those who are in the field for a long time, it is clear that backup of huge amount of data is a serious, pretty difficult and expensive business. Decent equipment for backups of large amount of data is very expensive. Look at the corporate market for backup devices. So users can benefit from investment into better hardware. IMHO an enclosure with mirrored iSata/USB3.0 drives is a must, if your backup size in Acronis is between 20 and 60GB. In this case you can store several generations of your backup without running out of space. You also need religiously verify your backups from a second computer including running "test restores" to ensure that your data are safe without loading your main computer.

If the image is bigger then 60GB I would not use imaging at all. It is safer to buy several identical harddrives (three or more if data are valuable) and copy 1:1 your partition with data into it using Acronis clone the partition feature. This way you will not face the problem of corrupt image. Another advantage is that in this case after the first copy you can just rsync the backup partition with the primary partition which is much faster and safer that pushing hundreds of gigabytes via eSata or USB3 channel.

Please note that recovery of data from a 80GB drive with, say 30GB of data from a harddrive that physically failed and does not have a usable backup can run $2-3K quite easily. There is no free lunch in this business. From this point of view $150 eSata/USB3 enclosure with two mirrored 1TB 7200 RPM (or better 10K RPM) drives for your backups is just a bargain.

This "there is no free lunch" situation has another side: any sloppy or semi-competent approach to backup will inevitably be punished. This is a typical Greek tragedy situation when the hero who considers himself invincible is destroyed by exactly same forces that led to his success in the first place. In this case this is his ability to accumulate huge amount of data.

And typically a user projects their flaws on the program. It should be this, it should be that. That's terribly naive. Program exists on a marketplace and its the customers demands which shape the program. And currently all those programs are compared on features. So its the customers who are destroying this and some other great software products by their unreasonable demands requesting various features that they are actually unable to use due to excessive complexity of the product and which are generally incompatible with an imaging program basic architecture. This is an imaging program, not a file backup program, but they try to do both.

Resulting complexity interferes with the basic and the most valuable functionality: the ability to create disk images and restore them on a partitions of different sizes.

But still, while far from perfect, the program has an OK reliability and the fact that free version is supplied both with Seagate and WD disks tells something about its quality.

My impression is that in probably 80% of backup failures the key reason of failure is the user approach to backup. So it is the user not the program that is the culprit. Only 20% are somehow related to problems with the backup program you use.

As for reliability, all Acronis users should once and forever understand that you can't have all those wonderful, complex features and have the same reliability as Unix dd.

This is a very complex program which can do amazing things such as "Try and forget". And its key feature is not what Tech Guy want it to be. The key feature that sells Acronis is the ability to restore images on partitions of different size. It is a very reliable, excellent implementation. It is able to restore NTFS partitions into different size partitions even if a user is "dumb as a doorknob" and did nothing to run chkdsk, clean NTFS, defragment files, delete junk (at least on the level of CCcleaner), remove duplicates and do other sensible things before the backup to shrink the size of the dataset and increase chances that he can restore the data. After all, this is Microsoft NTFS partitions -- a very complex modern filesystem with a lot of amazing capabilities and undocumented features. Moreover, most often users do not have a separate data partition and use just disk C for everything which is a big no, if you have a lot of data. Windows 7 actually has the ability to shrink the C drive and create such a data partition out of the box. This way you can backup your data separately from your OS.

Actually heroes that backup 300GB of data to a single 1TB USB 2.0 drive using compressed Acronis image and then never verify integrity of those images before its too late represent an interesting subtype of Windows users. In a way, they get what they deserve. Kind of side effect of technology revolution that we have which creates an illusion that the restrictions of physical world no longer exists. They never lived in a world of unreliable media and failing hardrives professional sysadmins live in and thus are unable (and unwilling) to understand dangers and tradeoffs inherent in creating of a compressed image of a huge drive. Especially, if this drive is starting to have problems or OS is infected with malware and creating a backup is/was the last effort to save the data. So the first failure, when valuable data vanish, comes as a huge shock. It is actually important to get a proper lesson from such cases and do not blame the shoes when the problem is with the dancer.

[Dec 03, 2012] Tech Guy's review of True Image 2013

Sep 23, 2012 |


Sorry to hear this, and that TI 2013 is no better. One thing, Tom...did you make all your backups from Windows or via the boot disc?

One problem, and they discuss this in their documentation is that when you verify from Windows, you are only getting verification with Windows drivers. When you Restore, even if you start the process from Windows, you obviously have to reboot and then the restore mode takes over when the computer recycles, and the restoration process occurs with Linux drivers. For this reason, they recommend that if you make your backups from Windows that you do your verification separately with the Linus drivers, which means you have to call up your backups via the boot disk which is a royal pain. For that reason, I do all my backups and restorations from the boot disc so that I can verify with the drivers on which you rely, all at the same time. I'd say, over the years, with the various iterations of Acronis, I've done hundreds of backups and multitudinous restorations and I've never been left in the lurch when I've used a file that was verified in that manner.

Now why your backups made through Windows aren't for the most part usable, presumably not passing muster with verification with the linux drivers is yet another problem which I don't understand. Another reason that I went to just working with the boot disc is that in version 2010 there was a bug where a Windows originated restoration, following booting would crash and not load the drive image, even though it was appropriately verified. Somehow, the program seeimingly couldn't pick up where it left off before rebooting. There was never an error message, only a blank screen reflecting a hard drive that was unallocated! It was no problem though because you could just setup the recovery to the desired drive image file, and it would load perfectly well. I went through the same song and dance of purposeless stalling via their horrific customer service, which, as you note, is a royal insult to its customer base, and came up with worse than nothing. All those "service personnel" are are just window dressing, and are totally incompetent.

Furthermore, there is no way you can really contact anybody in the company to give them feedback about bugs, if they ever cared to fix them which is debatable. The engineers or whoever writes the programs just dance to their own tunes, completely oblivious, or seemingly scornful of the public they serve, perpetuating their programs' defiiciencies ad infinitum over repeated builds and updates.

All this for one of their few "loyal" supporters who has been able to work around the bugs, by using the boot disc exclusively, and for the kind of use I need from the program, seemingly quite siimlar to yours, it wokrs VERY RELIABLY. The boot disc menu is really quite full featured in that you can clone disks, which I have done successfully many times, and work their Try and Decide, Disk Cleaner utilities which I have not done. About all you can't do is set up there automatic features for which I have no interest, and I don't even have the program on my hard disk(once I have generated the boot disk), as I don't want its bugs screwing up Windows with which it has become progressively intertwined with successive iterations.

Would you be willing to do an experiment just to see what happens, if you were not using the boot disc?

From the Acronis program on your hard drive, go into Utilities and generate yourself a boot CD(they call it bootable media).

With the CD in your optical drive, and your optical drive set as the first in the boot priority in the BIOS, restart your computer and allow Acronis to load from the CD. Navigate through the Backup part of the menu and set up a full backup hopefully to a second internal drive on your computer(the fastest way). Be sure in the wizard's progressive windows, where you see Validation, check the box so that it will include the validation process following the backup. Note that such will had some time onto the overall backup time. If it passes and says: Backup completed successfully, reboot the computer and again allow Acronis to load. Now this time, go into the Recovery section and navigate to your drive image through the wizard which selects the drive image location you want, then the destination drive(be sure you check the proper box that includes all facets of the drive image so you don't, for example leave the MBR behind, and when you get to the final synopsis showing what you have set up, click Proceed, and see if you successfully restore that drive image to your hard drive. If you want to be extra special cautious before you start the restoration, there is button that allows you to validate the prospective drive image before you intiate the Recovery.

This is the method I have used for years which has yet to fail me, as I mentioned. I hope I now haven't jinxed myself!! Please note that if you have a UEFI BIOS, you have to have the Plus Pack addition or buy Acronis Plus because the simple versions do not support GPT formatted material which is intrinsic to bootable hard drives installed on computers with UEFImotherboards which is fairly recently used in Windows, and only by certain motherboard manufacturers such as ASUS. The Plus pack is also essential if you want to access external drives via USB 3, since the plain version doesn't have USB 3 drivers, unless they changed that in 2013(unlikely, I would bet, knowing their track record).

I know you're understandably frustrated with all of this and it sounds as though you've moved on, but if you care to do this, if only out of academic interest, I'd be interested in your followup.

Good luck with Ghost!

Tech Guy:

Hi Dave,

Wow, thanks for the detailed post!! I have already done nearly everything you suggested. I always try restoring using the Recovery disk (I've tried numerous .iso variants that tech support has sent me). The recovery process gets to the very end (after about 4 hours) then simply ends with an unhelpful error message that says "The Recovery Failed". When I power up the computer, it says "no boot device found". I've tried 3rd party MBR recovery tools on the disk but to no avail. But if I read the error logs correctly, MBR isn't the problem. For some reason the recovery software is finding a disagreement about the number of sectors or clusters being restored (or something like that).

Interestingly, I have no trouble mounting any of the images I've created with Acronis. I can see that all the files and data appear to be properly saved in each image. I just can't use the image to restore a complete HDD. Oddly, not a single problem with Ghost so far.

I'll try making a backup using the Recovery CD sometime (instead of from within Windows), but I'm skeptical this will make much difference since, as I mentioned above, the images appear to mount and I can see that all my files were successfully backed up.

Thanks again for your tips. You're a champ to share your experience with me. I just wish Acronis would get the message that, of all software that needs to be reliable and hassle-free, it is backup/recovery software. It is stressful enough when your computer crashes and that only gets magnified when you can't restore an image and get things going again. For some reason, this company thinks that pushing new features will make them successful. If I were running this company, I would take two years off from pushing new features and make this product bulletproof. Then maybe they'd start getting more 5 star reviews.

Thanks again. I'll let you know the outcome of a backup from the recovery CD when I get the time.


Your posting, and reading the endless stream of postings from frustrated customers, coupled with my own experience with Acronis' customer "no service", finally impelled me to, just now, write a most likely too lengthy letter to the CEO of Acronis which probably will be intercepted by some operachik and wind up in the circular file, but at least I tried. Rather than just complain, I wanted to give him examples, and some constructive ideas. I didn't know where else to turn. I'll post a follow-up if there be any meaningful response other than boilerplate apology! Fish excels or rots from the head down, right? :-)

Is your C drive multipartitioned? Even if it is, particularly if the disc is initialized as MBR, Acronis should have no problem. In the past I have made drive images of OEM hard drives which have a second FAT32 partition for the recovery program to revert to factory install, and have had no problem.

With the UEFI based discs which, as you probably know have a 100 MB second partition containing low level, but essential boot files, preceding the main C partition (and it actually is not labelled independently), the Recovery Wizard is a bit different, which I figured out by trial and error, in that when you set up the destination disc, you have to go through a two step process where you first pretend to select the FAT 32 partition (which is of course absurd and not intuitively obvious), hit next and then, a second time go and select the main partition, after which the Recovery works smoothly, as with the MBR discs where you just go through a one step disc selection and don't deal with partitions if you are backing up and restoring identical images. There is also a stealth tiny "MBR protection" partition on these discs that doesn't even show up at all(as expected), but it doesn't cause any problem. If you have GPT hard discs that are used with a UEFI BIOS for bootable drives, you have to have the Plus Pack added or Acronis will not support the backup and recovery functions for said discs. Since GPT, although having been used by Apple for a long time, is only relatively new on the consumer side of PC, most people will not need to be concerned with this at this time.



May I suggest two things: yes try doing the backup and recovery from the boot disc as suggested, but it might interesting to make your backup drive image from Windows which I assume you are validating, but if you aren't even within windows, schedule the Validation. If it passes, then run the Validation of that same drive image via the boot disc's linux drivers and see if it passes. If it passes the former, and not the latter, and particularly if you are able to boot and restore from files made exclusively from the boot disk, then you'll have your answer that somehow your backup process via the OS is giving you corrupted files. That's the easy part. the hard part.

I agree that this tends to be a stretch, especially since it hasn't been a sporadic problem, but seems to be repetitive, but it is conceivable that there is some kind of fluke interaction, perhaps some kind of screwy software conflict with something else on your system, who knows.

Please let me know of your results, as it is at least academically interesting, but conceivably could have some productive fallout for you.

Tech Guy:

I will try verifying an image from the boot disk, just for curiosity.

Good luck with your letter. I doubt you'll get any response, but if you do, I'd sure love to hear what they've got to say for themselves. In answer to your question, I've only got one partition (C:) and yes it uses an MBR. It runs Win7 and is a 4 year old Dell XPS laptop. Pretty generic laptop.


I look forward to your results. Based on my experience, if you do everything from the boot disk, it should work like a charm!!!

Since you have a laptop, you must be making your backups to an external drive. While 99% of my backups and recoveries have been on desktop systems, using a second internal drive(the fastest way), I do have an ultrabook and have successfully done the same backup and recovery scheme to a WD internal drive in a USB 3 enclosure connected to a USB 3 port on the ultrabook. I've only done a couple of these since I have had the laptop only a short time, but at least I can say that your problem hopefully shouldn't be related to the fact that you're not using internal drives exclusively.

BTW, it's especially worth having the Pluspack if you're using an external drive with a computer that has USB 3 support. The times involved making the drive image and recovery are substantially reduced. Optimally, and what I was hoping for when I installed the second internal drive as SSD on my current desktop, with the enhanced R/W with SATA 3 connections, there is yet another substantial reduction in time devoted to this process, even doing it all via the boot disc. Unlike with mechanical drives, where there is no significant difference in SATA 2 vs. SATA 3 because of the speed of the hard drive's being the limiting factor in data transfer, it DOES make almost a directly proportional improvement with SSD's, and the ones with symmetrical controllers such as Sandforce, in contradistinction to Marvell which is otherwise perfectly fine, are the best in that regard with data going both ways in the overall backup/recovery cycle. With this setup, I can recover a 150 GB drive image(compressed to about 73 GB by Acronis in its default setting) in about 5 minutes, and that is absolutely by the clock.....quite amazing. Used to take about 25 minutes with two WD 7200 black caviar drives.

Good luck.

Tech Guy:

There appears to be no way to verify an archive from the 2013 recovery disk UNLESS you do it as the step preceeding a recovery. So no way to tell if the Linux drivers would produce a different result than the windows drivers as far as verifying an archive that was made and verified in windows. Each of the times I tried to recover directly from the recovery disk, I did check that box to verify archive BEFORE doing the restore. You'd think that if the windows-made archive were corrupted that the recovery stage would not proceed, yet it did every single time. Maybe someday I'll try making a backup and recovery from the recovery disk, but I've only got one extra disk and with a working OS restored from Ghost on it, I'm hesitant to destroy that working OS right now. Hopefully soon I'll come upon another drive so that I can experiment. But gosh, it wastes so much time. But as before, if Acronis doesn't work reliably from within Windows, they shouldn't be selling the software that way. At least I'm having great luck on all my computers now with Ghost. I've done 5 backups/restores to different machines and not a one has failed. Acronis worked on only 1 of those 5 (using image made in Windows and restore from recovery disk). Thanks for all your suggestions.


I agree and would be inclined to think that if Acronis saw the backup archive from Windows as corrupted, there would be an error and it wouldn't proceed to erase the disk just to leave you with a "brick". Quite honestly, over the years, working from just within the Boot Disk environment, I have never had a corrupted archive. As I may have mentioned, when working in 2010, at least on my computers, when I'd run a Recovery from Windows, after setting the parameters there, when the machine rebooted(obviously out of necessity), the drive would be erased and then where Recovery should pick up, it seemed that it couldn't find the file, and it would proceed to the "finished" stage, with no drive image installed, and of course you were just left with an unallocated drive!! Of course, tech support was worthless. When 2011 came out with its worthless GUI, I did try running a few Backup/Restorations, on the same computer, and that problem seemed to have been resolved, but, by then, I had already started doing things entirely from the boot disc because all the features I needed were there, and everything was seamless, and really easy to do, without any significant time premium; in fact, it was one stop shopping for the validation process which was a plus.

I agree with you that even if 2013 works well in Boot Disk mode, but is flaky, or downright destructive in Windows mode, the program is not delivering.

Another plus in working from the Boot Disc, you don't have to install Acronis (except to make the boot disc in the first place, and then you can uninstall it), and you can be free of its interweaving itself into the Windows OS. They seem to be proud of that integration, whereas I view it as an intrusive liability, especially in view of their penchant for all kinds of bugs and incompatibility issues, not to mention absent constructive technical support, only in the form of useless, incompetent window-dressing!

I understand you're unwillingness to meddle with something that now is finally working for you, and will be interested to see what your results are when you can say try cloning your current hard drive either by GHOST or Acronis onto a spare hard drive which then, assuming it's working, you can backup and restore, hopefully successfully, using the Acronis boot disc exclusively. I have to think, based on my extensive experience, that it should work for you.

I'm glad you find GHOST working well for you. Many people have complained about its being rather user unfriendly, needlessly complicated, and unreliable, but, as you know, it's sometimes hard to know what is intrinsic problem with the software, versus user error for whatever reason. If you're like me, I think one of the prime requirements of this kind of software is that it should be intuitively obvious, that you can figure out most everything you need even without looking at a manual, or only quick reference to one. It's not like Photoshop or Illustrator where you can expect to spend many hours on the learning curve to learn a very complicated, but extremely versatile piece of software, which involves commitment and practice. After all, Acronis is really just a utility which should be effective, reliable and unobtrusive, in all respects.

Thanks for your followup. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customerStop ignoring customer

Tech Guy:

Have a look at Ghost sometime. It is very basic compared to Acronis 2013. There's really not much you can do except schedule a backup or do a restore from their recovery disk, so I find it hard to believe that someone could get lost. The user interface certainly looks outdated and it appears that Ghost 15 has not been updated in years. But at least the underlying mechanics appear to be bulletproof. No boot-time recovery environments or cloud backup to mess with or to go wrong. I completely agree with your dislike of the interweaving. I will try your suggestions when I get another disk and let you know, but it'll probably be a couple months. In the meantime, I hope you get a response to your letter. Please don't hold your breath!


Look at most of the reviews of GHOST 15 on Amazon, and earlier iterations as well. They're even worse than Acronis!!!

I'm glad though that it has worked for you. Statistics, for any one given individual are 100%, since there is no meaningful bell-shaped curve that is applicable to the end experience!

Acronis Customer Central:

Hello Hopeful Book Review,

Thank you for sharing for your feedback, we really appreciate it.

I was wondering if you could provide me with your existing case number so that we can check about the issue that you reported.

We want to make sure that it does not happen again.

Dave, thank you very much your assistance. If you need additional help with our software, please send me a private message through our support forum:

Have a good day,
Anton Deev
Acronis Customer Central


Tech Guy:

If you make Bootable Medium from the program and do all your backups and Recoveries from, the program works very reliably. Version 2013's boot disc works very well with both MBR and GPT disc images, and you don't need the extra Plus Pack which had been the case previously. I would also suggest making your bootable medium onto a USB flash drive as the program loads substantially more quickly. You can buy a cheap small capacity USB thumb drive and just leave it attached all the time, and then just access it through the Boot Menu in the BIOS when you need it. Unless you need special auto/custom functions included in the program when working from Windows, you're better off just working from the low level boot drive where all the important utilities are located. If you're working with SSD's, doing frequent backups or restorations, the combo of all flash media makes a BIG difference in convenience. You don't have to have Acronis loaded on your hard drive to work from the boot medium, but you have to install it in order to make the bootable media. However, if you have a bootable medium version made from an installation on another computer, you can use that on any other computer without installing the hardware. I would definitely recommend the 2010 or 2013 versions since some annoying bugs crept in during the interval therein, and definitely the latter if you have a UEFI BIOS because earlier versions wouldn't support it without the comparatively costly. Plus Pack.

I have done literally hundreds of backups and restorations with this format in Acronis, and it has been EXTREMELY RELIABLE.

As far as your comments on customer service, I agree with your every word, and regarding point in caps, exactly the opposite, and TOTALLY worthless. It's a real shame because the software is inherently very good, at least based on my own experience(and I have absolutely NO conflict of interest with regards to this company).

Rudolf Galan:


I have also experienced errors when restoring partitions with True Image. I can offer 2 suggestions:

When creating a boot disc, do not create a Linux based boot disc. Choose Windows (WinPE) based boot disc, yes you will need to download the WinPE pack from Microsoft website and probably Google instructions on how to extract it properly, but I have had many problem with Linux based Boot Disc while my Windows (WinPE) based Boot Disc has always worked 100% for me. I no longer create Linux boot discs when new versions come out, I only create WinPE boot discs.

Secondly, when my seemingly good backup gave my an error while I tried to restore it, I found it helpful to run a disc check, including bad sectors check, on the target drive and it might just do the trick in helping you find out what is the cause of the problem.


Good points. I would have thought that a hard disk that out of kilter might have caused problems during the routine function in the computer and not just show up as a problem in backup and restore, but maybe that is the problem. Simplest thing is to do as I suggested before is to try to get access to another computer, preferably one with two internal hard drives, and use your boot disc to do a backup and restore to see if it works properly. Based on my many years experience with this program, running Backup/Restore from the boot disc, I just haven't had any problems with multiple computers including my present one with all SSD's. I know that backing up and restoring from a USB 2 external drive does take an insufferably long period of time, and especially for the amount of data that TechGuy has on his HD. I remember that once when I mistakenly selected the wrong drive as the destination and wondered what was taking sooooooooooooo long!

[Nov 28, 2012] Difference between True Image 2013 by Acronis, True Image 2013 by Acronis Plus Pack, and Acronis Backup & Recovery 11.5 Workstation Knowledge Base

Very similar to version 2012. Compare with Difference between Acronis True Image Home 2012, Acronis True Image Home 2012 Plus Pack, and Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 Workstation Knowledge Base. Compatible with Acronis 2010 and Acronis 2012.
Feature True Image 2013 by Acronis True Image 2013 by Acronis Plus Pack Acronis Backup & Recovery 11.5 Workstation (Standalone) Other information
Acronis Online Backup: Files and Folders YES YES YES See also Acronis Backup & Recovery Online
Acronis Online Backup: Disks and partitions NO NO YES
Acronis Nonstop Backup YES YES NO See also True Image 2013 by Acronis Nonstop Backup
Archives in ZIP format YES YES NO
Data synchronization YES YES NO See also True Image 2013 by Acronis Synchronization
Backup contents search YES YES YES
File shredder YES YES NO
Drive cleanser YES YES NO
Try&Decide YES YES NO
E-Mail backup/restore YES YES NO
Dynamic (LDM) disks support NO YES YES
GPT disks support YES YES YES See also True Image 2013 by Acronis GPT & UEFI Support.
WinPE plug-in NO YES YES See also True Image 2013 by Acronis Plus Pack Creating WinPE Media with Acronis Plug-In
Acronis Universal Restore NO YES YES For Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 Workstation, Acronis Universal Restore add-on is necessary for restoration to dissimilar hardware
Acronis Bootable Media YES YES YES Linux-based bootable media is available for all products
Dual destination (reserve) backup YES YES YES
Archive encryption YES YES YES
Backup/restore YES YES YES
Disk imaging (sector-by-sector) YES YES YES
Acronis Secure Zone YES YES YES
Store to network share or FTP YES YES YES See also True Image 2013 by Acronis Backing Up to FTP
BartPE plug-in YES YES NO (!) BartPE builder runs on the following operating systems:

  • Windows 2000 (All editions);
  • Windows XP 32 bit only;
  • Windows Server 2003 32 bit
Windows XP support YES YES YES See also:
Windows Vista support YES YES YES
Windows 7 support YES YES YES
Windows 2000 Professional support NO NO YES
Active Restore NO NO YES
Acronis Disk Director Lite NO NO YES
VSS support NO NO YES See also Acronis True Image Home Database Backup.
Reboot required on product installation or update NO * YES NO See also Acronis Backup & Recovery Recommendations on How to Avoid Reboot after Installing, Updating, Upgrading, or Uninstalling the Product.
Convert backup to virtual machine NO NO YES
Support options in brief
E-Mail response time From 3 business days to 1 business day From 1 business day to 1 hour For a complete list of support options see Acronis Advantage.
Product upgrades Paid (Free within 30 days before a new version release) Free within the support subscription period
Product updates Free Free

True Image 2013 by Acronis Installation of Acronis Plus Pack Knowledge Base

The component supports recovery of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Home Server 2011.

[Nov 28, 2012] Tech Guy's review of True Image 2013 Plus

September 21, 2012 |
Tech Guy

Backup-Restore software needs to be reliable. Period. Acronis 2013 is just as buggy as 2012. I had no problem making backup images of my drive and verifying them. I even went to the trouble when I first purchased 2012 to test the restoration software. So when a drive failed last month, I was astounded to discover that the 2012 and 2013 software couldn't successfully restore the image, despite that all of my latest images verified ok. Acronis restoration routines are extremely touchy about what it will and won't restore. And THAT makes this software useless.

Yes, I tried another hard disk and other images, but with no success. That's when I tried to work with Acronis's pathetic excuse of a customer support department via email. They instructed me to try Acronis 2013, but that led to the same bad result. Each email communication with the customer support department took about 24 hours to turn around, which is UNACCEPTABLE when you've got a computer down. I sent them the error logs and system reports, but the support tech seemed incapable of interpreting them. His suggestion basically boiled down to "try it again". After 8 attempts with various images, I realized I was just wasting huge amounts of time. I reinstalled Windows from scratch, then copied my data from Dropbox. After that, I installed Norton Ghost 15 (which doesn't have nearly as many features as Acronis). But guess what? I found that Norton Ghost works quite reliably.

I confirmed the "touchy restoration problem" of Acronis True Image by trying to restore images I'd been making of a second computer. I discovered the same problem on that laptop too. Most of my images were unrecoverable (the restoration step fails), despite that the images were verified as "ok."

Anyone who buys this software and expects to rely upon it in an emergency crash of their system needs to have their head examined. You'll probably go through the same nightmarish surprises Acronis put me thru.

So here's a message for Acronis's CEO:


Backup-Restoration software must be RELIABLE. We don't want a bunch of buggy new features, when last year's features still don't work right. FIRST, we want the product's primary objective--backup and restore--to work with 100% reliability. Unreliable restoration software is totally useless as True Image 2013 (and 2012, 2011, 2010) proves. Please stop adding new features and changing user interfaces so your marketing department can put "NEW" all over your advertising propaganda. Instead, put some resources into making the product work.

You've lost me as a customer forever. Norton Ghost doesn't have all the "NEW" features, but guess what--the features that it does have ACTUALLY WORK. If you made a product that worked reliably, think of all the customer service resources you could save. Think of the reputation you'd build.

But instead, Acronis appears to be a marketing driven company that doesn't care a whit about bugs and reliability. For years, computer forums have been full of complaints about the bugginess of True Image. 2013 is just as bad. Get a clue and make the software work.


There is one warning point about the review of Techguy: he posted the review about Acronis 2012 not Acronis 2013 and just added the words "2013 is just as bad." For such a complex and capable program as Acronis True Image this approach flash red lights as for objectivity of the reviewer.

Techguy's assessment contains a very valid point about the dismal ability of cope with errors in Acronis images. But I respectfully disagree with your assessment that Acronis is generally unreliable and unacceptable program for home users and small businesses. The key point is that you need to check integrity of your images after backup. Moreover Acronis stepped in when Symantec destroyed its Ghost franchise and actually it was Acronis who saved this type of backup programs in the market and they should be commented for this.

I can attest that in my extensive usage of Acronis, Acronis 2010 (with testing of integrity of images after backup) proved to be very reliable. I restored many PCs in many different circumstances (mostly after virus infections) and only once have the problem with unability of Acronis to restore image (the source was a Seagate USB drive with factory formatting which might be a problem in this case). This was the case were I realized that without checking of integrity of Acronis backup program is really dangerous and this step is obligatory.

But otherwise this is an amazingly capable program for the price. The fact that you can open any image and browse it (and copy arbitrary folder) with just a click on it in Window's File Explorer make it the best for home user backup. Actually file restore capability in Acronis is completely redundant due to this amazing feature and actually implemented badly in comparison even with Windows File Explorer (you can't open the image in other, better, file managers such as FAR or Total Commander.)

Where I completely agree with you is the point that the program should pay more attention to recovery of bad images. Current situation is really pathetic. A single error makes the whole (yes, whole as data are compressed with unknown algorithm) image unusable. That's completely unacceptable. In my single case of failed image restore the image contained valuable data that were lost for the user.

And as in your case Acronis support was worse then pathetic: just a bunch of clueless entry level people. But here situation is hopeless: please understand this is a tiny company and providing high quality support for users who paid around $50 for the program is impossible. One hour of qualified tech on the phone is approximately $100.

[Jul 22, 2012] True Image Home 2012 PC Backup and Recovery Software

Coastal cruiser

Close, but no cigar October 7, 2011

As I write this review for Acronis True Image Home 2012 there are 11 existing reviews on Amazon, and each one of them rated the program 1 star. This is a real disappointment, because TI 2012 (let's just call it TI 12) could potentially be a 5 star program. In this particular version 2012, it *should* be a 4 star program. Reason being, TI does nearly everything that you want a backup program to do. It's massively rich in features. If there's something you need to accomplish related to backing up or restoring your data or operating system, TI 12 likely does it. You can't say that about most backup programs.

Still, I can't endorse TI in its current incarnation. However, since I happen to have been searching for the perfect backup program for years, and, since I have been using TI forever, perhaps in pointing out a couple of shortfalls of TI 2012 you can be clued in to what to look for in other backup programs. For example, one cool feature that's hard to find in most backup program is something you might term 'version management'. It's smart to keep multiple versions of a file in case you have to go back in time to retrieve an older copy. If you have ever had this need you know exactly what I am talking about. :>

Now, virtually all backup programs have the ability to backup only changed files. So once you do a full backup you can incrementally backup only the files that have changed. You make changes to a file 9 times... you end up with 10 backup copies (the original plus nine alternations). This occurs naturally with regular backups. A problem arises though when you need to get your hands on one of those older versions! How hard will it be to dig through your backups and locate the correct version? Traditionally this has been a tedious and time consuming process, and depending on a variety of factors such as luck, patience, karma, or whatever, you may or may not get your file back. Thus managing your versions should be a point of focus in a backup program. Traditionally, this has not been addressed well in any of the programs I've tried over the years.

TI 12 attempts to address the version management issue (version 2011 may have as well, but I skipped version 2011 due to a nearly unusable interface IMHO). TI 12 has actually integrated version management right into Windows 7. Windows 7 (and I think in Vista) added version management as a new feature to deal with the 'version issue', and provided "hooks" for backup programs to access this versioning facility. By integrated, I mean all you do is right-click on the existing file on disk (assuming it is still there), choose Properties, and there is now a "Previous Versions" tab that (theoretically) lists all previous versions of that file. In just a few mouse clicks you (theoretically) identify and restore the version you want. Wow! Cool!

Well, kind of cool. The Previous Versions tab seems to only be for use by the native Windows backup program (more on that in a minute). However, TI 12 adds a new tab to that same Properties window called "Acronis Recovery" which provides the same functionality (theoretically). But this is an example of where TI falls down sometimes.... poorly implementing what theoretically could be a very helpful feature. It's a shame Amazon does not allow you to insert screen shots, but here is an example of what I mean; Over three days I used TI 12 to do a full backup and then two incremental backs (only backing up changed files). I then looked at the properties of a file that I did NOT change. Unfortunately the file was listed three times, giving one the mistaken impression that three different versions existed. But in fact there was only one version. Furthermore, only the backup date was listed, not the file size, which would have given a clue as to if all versions were identical. What this told me was that I could not depend on the TI 12 to save me time in locating older versions of a file, which is one of the main problems such a facility should be addressing. So, close, but no cigar.

Let me go back now and say something about the built in version management in Windows 7, and then wrap up the TI 12 remarks. The aforementioned Previous Versions tab portends that Windows is somehow tracking versions of your precious files. Indeed, it does this two ways; via a Restore Point, or via Windows Backup (yes, Windows has a built-in backup program). All I will say about this facility is this: When I tried to use Windows Backup, it stalled on an "open file", giving me the choice of "retrying" or "aborting" the backup. How about a choice to skip over the open file Microsoft? You literally cannot complete the backup when this happens. Then when I tried to configure a Restore Point to track versions of my files I got two esoteric error messages. So how much faith can you have in letting Windows even back up your files, let alone version management? It is ironic that one would have to worry that files left accidentally open would hang up Windows Backup since most 3rd party backup programs (like TI 12) easily back up open files. To add insult to injury these 3rd party programs use a service built into Windows itself called Volume Shadow Copy. Yet Windows Backup does not use the service. Bizarre.

[UPDATE: A user posted a comment that Windows Backup does indeed backup open files. I tested again and did not get the error I reported. If this holds I would consider Windows Backup for use at least as a supplement backup for redundancy.]

Ultimately, a back up program needs to be nearly invisible. It should simply work. And when you need to restore a file you can, with full faith, intuitively find the one you need, including older versions. Windows does not satisfy this need. TI 12 does not satisfy this need. In fact I am not aware of any backup program for Windows that satisfies this need. TI 12 comes close, and in fact I would use the program until something better came along, but the negative reviews posted here about TI 12 rendering computers unbootable is disturbing. "Do no harm" should not only be the physician's creed.

Acronis has done a great job of evolving True Image over the years. I have used it nearly since its inception to take snapshot backups of my and my clients' operating system. Backing up the OS, by the way, is just as important as backing up your data, because restoring the OS to a previous point in time is the single best way to eradicate a virus from your computer. OS backups also are great for dealing with just about any type of slow-down, recurring crashes, bloat, or anything that destabilizes the OS. It's too much of a pain to reinstall Windows from scratch anymore. True Image really shines in this department. But Acronis needs to do more usability testing and reliability testing to reinstate faith in its flagship product.

[Sep 20, 2009] Corrupt image file -how to fix it

2009-09-20 | Acronis Knowledge Base


I get the following error message when I want to open a backup created with Acronis True Image:

Selected file is not Acronis True Image archive or is corrupted. Please select another backup archive.

In the attachment there are two Screenshots with more detailed error messages...

any chance to open this (once verified) backup file?


Attachment Size
Vollbildaufzeichnung 20.09.2009 135033.jpg 64.62 KB
Vollbildaufzeichnung 20.09.2009 135106.jpg 38.32 KB
  • Alexander

  • Hello splashote,

  • Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

  • Please note that corrupted archives could be created because there are some bad sectors or unreadable data resides on your HDD.

  • Please perform the following operations:

  • -Check the disks for errors

  • Go to the Command Prompt (Start -> Run -> cmd)
    Enter the command: "chkdsk DISK: /r"
    where DISK is the partition letter you need to check. Please note, that
    checking the C: drive may require you to reboot the machine.

  • -Change the backup location (for example save your backup to the internal HDD instead external)

  • -Please try to perform the operations using Acronis Bootable Media. To create it please follow: Tools -> Create bootable rescue media. Then boot your machine from it and you will be able to use Acronis True Image Home without booting any OS.

  • Acronis Bootable Rescue Media is a standalone version of Acronis True Image Home, burned onto a CD and based on a Linux operating system.

  • Thank you.

  • __________________
  • Alexander Nikolsky

    Scott Hieber
    Forum Star

    Joined: 2009-08-17

    Posts: 1594

    If indeed any bit in any byte has changed since the file was created, then the backup file is totally worthless for a full restore -- however, you may be able to explorer it with explorer and copy out some individual files.

    When ATI say a file is corrupt or invalid, what it means is that it can't read it and verify that it is unchanged since it was first written. That situation could be do to a corrupted file or to ATI being unable to read it. For example, sometimes people make a perfectly good backup from within windows and then when they boot up the CD to do a restore, the linux version of ATI can't handle the backup drive and says it can't read the backup (although the way it says this is to state that the file corrupt or invalid). If this is the situation, you need to get a version of Linux/ATI with diff drivers to work better with your hardware.

    If you're getting the problem and you did the backup and attempt validation from within windows (without rebooting) then the backup file is probably junk and the most likely cause is a corrupt drive or one or more locations in memory is intermittently bad -- one of the far out locations that rarely gets used except by ATI when streaming a big file. You can check the disk for some common probs with chkdsk (it won't detect filename case probs but those are rare. You can check memory with memtest -- letting it run overnight.

    Acronis True Image - Corrupt Archive

    PC Advisor


    view johndrew's profile

    Posted May 22, 2006 at 2:37PM

    I recently purchased a copy of Acronis True Image 8.0 as many people on these forums recommended it. I registered it and updated to the latest build standard (937) from the Acronis site.

    I created an image of my C: & D: partitions (one drive) on my external drive which Acronis said was successful and the log confirms. I then decided to check the image for errors. The checker started fine with the Task and Total progress bars moving up evenly. At about 50% of the Task progress the bar stopped moving but the Total bar continued to the end when I got a window saying the image was corrupt. I have repeated this 3 times in case there was something I had done during the check to confuse it.

    I have opened the file on the external drive and the `Errors` file/tab (red disk, white cross) information says there are no errors.

    The Helpfile gives me no direction.

    Needless to say I am confused.

    Should I not check archives for errors in this way?

    Is the something wrong with the image archive even though the action was reported successful?

    Is there any safe way of checking this file or must I go through the exercise of creating it again?

    Any advised help would be appreciated.

    view rawprawn's profile

    Posted May 22, 2006 at 2:40PM

    I would go to Acronis support, I have always found them helpful. Yours is not a problem that I have come accross.

    view gudgulf's profile

    Posted May 22, 2006 at 2:59PM

    I have had problems like this when imaging the "C" drive.....I suspect they occur because the system is in use and this causes occasional errors.

    When making a new full image this is what I do......boot the pc from the Acronis rescue boot cd.This gives you full access to Acronis and all your drives.....I then make the "C" drive backup from there.

    Since you haven't booted Windows you get a perfect image.

    You don't need to do this for anything but full backups of the main system.Other drives and all incremental backups work fine from within Windows.

    I would also trust the image check goes through every single file...something you can't do manually from a mounted image.Far better to redo the whole image until the checker gives a clean bill of health than find your image fails to restore when you need it.

    One other quirk I've noticed (I have Acronis 7) is that it reads from my USB external drive much better if the drive is the only USB device connected.


    Likes # 0

    view Caså's profile

    Posted May 22, 2006 at 5:52PM

    I agree with gudgulf.I only use the rescue boot cd...never had a prob.Also on ver 7


    Likes # 0

    view Wuggy's profile

    Posted May 22, 2006 at 10:37PM

    "I created an image of my C: & D: partitions (one drive)"
    I'm not sure if I have read your post correctly but is it the case that you created an image of the entire drive which had 2 partitions C & D on it?
    If so have you tried making an image of each partition separately i.e. one image for C and aanother image for D. Your description of the progress bar while error checking indicates a problem about halfway through. Could this be at the end of the C drive and it's not continuing onto D. Just a stab in the dark but it may be worth trying. I have used Acronis in versions 7 and 8 for the past few years and have never had a problem, but I always image each partition separately.


    Likes # 0

    view woodchip's profile

    Posted May 22, 2006 at 11:06PM

    I think it's a Bug in the Program, as all seem to get it but it does not appear to affect the Image when restored. I do not now bother checking for errors. As there is nothing you can do about it


    Likes # 0

    view johndrew's profile

    Posted May 23, 2006 at 10:21AM

    Thanks for all your responses.

    The reason for my long break in updating you is that I booted from the Rescue Disk and made an another image of the drive (single drive, 2 partitions C: & D:) as I did before. It took 10 hours and when I verified it with the Aconis tool I got the same result.

    I have contacted Acronis but to date they have only suggested an upgrade to v9.0 - perhaps they failed to understand that I have only just bought v8.0. I have gone back for more help. I think they should offer more than extra expense.

    Perhaps the next move is to make an image only of one partition and see if that works. I am a bit unhappy in not checking the image as Acronis haven`t admitted a bug exists but did advise using the tool at all times.

    Any more suggestions please?


    Likes # 0

    view johndrew's profile

    Posted May 23, 2006 at 7:32PM

    I booted normally and did an image of the C: partition only. When I verified it I reported as corrupt.

    I then booted from the Rescue Disk and did another image of the same partition. On completion I re-booted to normal Windows and verified that. The progress bars followed each other for the first 20 green blocks then the top line stopped and the lower continued to completion.

    Fully expecting another rejection I waited til the bitter end and was very surprised (and pleased) when I got a green disk/white exclamation mark and was told that verification was successful!!


    Has anyone any idea why the upper bar stopped and the lower continued? It seems odd to me but then I`m inexperienced in both Acronis and PCs.


    Your system seems to work. Now for the other partition, but do I need to do it from the Rescue Disk? By asking I hope to save 4 hours waiting!!!

    Thanks again everyone.


    Likes # 0

    view woodchip's profile

    Posted May 23, 2006 at 10:12PM

    I have version 9 it's just the same. As I said above it's a bug in the software, and it looks like there not botherd about fixing it. Cose it does not stop it working OK


    Likes # 0

    view woodchip's profile

    Posted May 23, 2006 at 10:14PM

    Just don't bother checking it. As there's nothing you can do with it once it's made


    Likes # 0

    view Wuggy's profile

    Posted May 23, 2006 at 10:26PM

    If your D partition isn't your Windows partition then you should be able to image it from within Windows without booting from the emergency disk. Having said that I make an image of my C Drive (I partition, 160 GB) on a regular basis from within Windows XP and have never had a problem verifying it. Glad you're half sorted at least.

    Quick backups. Reliable restores., December 2, 2009
    By Hawk521 (North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

    I primarily use Acronis True Image Home 2010 to make image backups of my C: partition on a daily basis. Takes less than 15 minutes to backup to a separate drive. These daily backup images have come in handy for those occasions where I've "experimented" one step too far with new software or O/S tweaks and have managed to introduce problems with my Windows 7 installation. When things go badly I have been able to simply restore to a prior image backup and all my mistakes are reversed. A full image restore of ~25GB of drive C: partition takes about 20-25 minutes.

    Of course I also backup my D: drive on a less frequent basis as I seldom have had a need for restoring this drive.

    The "incremental" backup option is very nice if you're in a hurry and don't want to take the time to do a full image backup. Acronis does a nice job of 'marrying' the incremental image backup to the prior full backup image to make it virtually transparent when you need to restore from these multiple incremental backups.

    Is nice to know that I'm always within a half hour of being at a fully functional system - regardless of how many dumb things I might do to the machine. :)

    Try several backup programs before you commit to one.,
    KD: October 23, 2009

    After purchasing a 1TB external USB drive so that I can make backups of my (64bit) laptop's 500GB HDD, I've been trying out many different backup programs.

    In the past, I had been using Ghost 2003 (DOS boot floppy) -- which I considered one of the best pieces of software ever created. I never bothered with the actual Window's Ghost 2003 install, other than simply just to create a boot floppy. Once I had a working boot floppy, I uninstalled the Window's Ghost 2003. My preferred method of doing backups is very simply. I simply want to boot into the backup program externally from any installed OS and manually perform backup/restores with an external USB HDD. I have no desire for automated backups. In the past, Ghost 2003 (DOS boot floppy) worked faithfully for me over many years covering (32bit) Win98, Win2000, WinXP, Linux, FreeBSD, and even Vista. While in recent years, I would have to manually repair the MBR and bootloaders after restores with Ghost 2003, it still remained an excellent program. Unfortunately, with the arrival of mainstream 64bit hardware, Ghost 2003 is now obsolete. Even more unfortunate is that Symantec, after borging PowerQuest, completely changed Ghost after 2003. Usually Symantec destroys any product that they acquire, but in this case they destroyed their own product (Ghost) after acquiring PowerQuest DriveImage -- which, just like PowerQuest PartitionMagic, was also an excellent product in it's own right before being borged by Symantec.

    After quite a bit of work, I was actually able to get Ghost 2003 to recognize an internal SATA drive, boot from a USB pen drive, and "work" with 64bit hardware, but there were still a few things going "weird". Read the wikipedia Ghost article on how to get all that going if you want to give it a try.

    What I am after is likely very common for what many others are after. I simply want to boot up into a backup program from an external source (CD/DVD, USB drive) and be able to do both backup and restores between an internal HDD and an external USB HDD. I don't even want a "main" backup program to have to be installed on an OS. I don't need nor even want automated backups. I certainly don't want the backup program creating any special "recovery partition" on the internal HDD. I just want a simple, and more importantly: reliable, completely external backup/restore solution.

    So, my journey to find a replacement for Ghost 2003 has started. After trying out the trials, this is what I have found so far:

    Most of the backup programs are finding themselves using the least-common-denominator approach these days, which I find to be quite troubling.

    - Ghost (latest version). Absolute complete rubbish. By "simplifying" everything, they have made it more complicated than needs be. Not to mention that my first attempt to install this program resulted in a hang. I had to uninstall and reinstall it. That definitely doesn't start out with much confidence. Ghost no longer allows for the creation of "boot media". Like most other backup programs, you now can only create "recovery media". This is boot media that allows you to do restores, but doesn't allow you to do backups. To do backups, you must run the main Window's Ghost program from an actual installed OS. I find this recent trend to be really, really, really, stupid.

    - Acronis TrueImage. Installed fine. Does the "recovery media" allow you to do both backups and restores? I couldn't get the "recovery media" to even work. TI has a bunch of automated backup features, all of which I could care less about. I had two MAJOR problems with TI, however. The first problem is that it did not allow a backup image to be created of my /entire/ HDD (containing multiple OS's). I would have to backup each partition individually. This is inexcusable. I want the option to be able to backup my entire HDD into one image. I want every single bit off the HDD in that image, the MBR and everything. I don't want to have fix MBRs, bootloaders, fstab's, etc, after doing restores. My second major problem with TI is that I could not get the "recovery media" to boot. It hangs after the initial splash screen, with a blinking CAPS LOCK key. I believe it may be a SATA issue, however there has been little response to others with the same problem on Acronis's support forums. This was simply too troublesome for me to continue using TI. I had no confidence with TI. My two stars for TI is because "I didn't like it", obviously because the "recovery media" didn't even work for me.

    - Macrium Reflect Free Edition. This is what I finally settled on for now. It works and works rather well, but like Ghost, the "recovery media" only allows for restores. Again, you have to actually be in Windows and running the main program to do backups. However, on the plus side, it does allow the entire HDD (with multiple OS's) to be backed up into a single image. It backed up everything: Vista, XP, Linux, Swap, FreeBSD. I was able to collect enough courage to try out a restore and it went without a hitch. I also made a backup of just the Vista partition, out of caution that I (unlikely) may want to fallback to Vista after the free Win7 upgrade arrives from Toshiba. I'm happy with Macrium Reflect (especially since it is free), but still would like to have the completely external approach. The "recovery media" runs in a Linux environment and loads a little on the slow side, however works well once it is loaded.

    - FarStone DriveClone Express. This one seems to be exactly what I am after, however there are no trials to try it out. Willing to take a chance on it and spend the $32 (google for promo). If I do, I'll update this after giving it a spin.

    - NTFS Active Boot Disk. This one not only also seemed to be exactly what I was after, but also seemed to really have potential. After downloading and trying out the trial, I am impressed with it for the most part. The actual installed program is simply to create boot media, either on a CD/DVD or on a USB drive. While it may be possible to get the other backup programs' boot media onto a USB drive, I really like how NTFS Active Boot Disk thought out to do it for you. Everything is done from the boot media: backups and restores. There are also quite a few other handy utilities on the boot media. I was able to not only backup the entire HDD (with multiple OS's) into one image, but also individual partitions. If the OS filesytem isn't natively supported by Active Boot Disk, you can still backup as a raw image. This means that this backup program will work with /everything/. The boot media runs in a WinPE environment and loads quickly. The downside on this program is that it is relatively expensive when compared with the others. I really like being able to do everything externally and also boot up from a USB drive on my keychain. Edit add: Now that I have used this program more, I am finding a few rough edges. I have yet to try doing a HDD restore, but I have been doing USB drive restores (which it also supports). The first attempt to restore a USB drive from an image always results in a (-5) error when it attempts to write the partition table, however it works fine on the second attempt. Also some of the WinPE utilities (i.e., File Explorer) give an error when deleting files. This may be from WinPE itself and not necessarily the Active Boot programs. While you can successfully do everything that this program is designed for, some things are needing a little "hand holding" and coercion. I feel as if Active Boot Disk and WinPE could use a little more polish.

    Summary: It is unfortunate that there is no longer a single utility out there that simply just works extremely well. I'm finding this problem not only with backup programs, but also other utility programs of recent years. I feel as if software has taken a down turn over the last few years. Programs seem to be "dumbed down" these days and also released before they are fully polished. Try out several backup programs before you commit to one of them. While TrueImage didn't work for me, it may work for you. Give Macrium Reflect Free Edition a try. Many will likely find that this program does everything that need and does it well. Best of all, it is free. If you are like me in that you want a completely external approach to doing manual backups and restores, take a look at NTFS Active Boot Disk and look for reviews for FarStone DriveClone Express.


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    The Last but not Least

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    Last modified: July 14, 2017