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Acronis True Image 9 review

So good that it almost makes backing up fun

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Our Verdict

Takes the headache out of backing up data

For

  • It does it all, and does it well

Against

  • Some features not for the inexperienced

You know, it's almost unfair. Here are all these other programs bravely listing a few features that make them all worthy in their own right, then the outgoing version of True Image comes along with everything in it.

So. File and folder backups? Check. Scheduled backups? Check. Disc and partition cloning? Check. Bootable rescue discs that doesn't need a working Windows install or an accursed floppy drive to recover from? Check. In other words, basically everything that its rivals offer, with the exception of Genie's online storage and Second Copy's straight duplication upon a file change trick.

There's more in there still: a back-up archive can be mounted as a virtual drive. So, if you want to recover a missing or damaged file, tell True Image to Plug image and the archive will appear in My Computer as if it was an additional hard drive. Just browse to what you want, copy it to wherever it's supposed to be, then 'unplug' and you're done.

The second killer trick is the Secure Zone. The program creates a hidden section on your hard drive that it backs up essential data to, which no other app has access to. So if Windows goes down, it won't take the contents of the Secure Zone with it.

Of course, this won't help in the event of mechanical failure, so occasional cloning to a second drive is still recommended. The tool to add a new hard disk and copy your current drive's content and layout to it is also useful if you want to move Windows to a better HDD.

Notably, Acronis manages all this without bloat and intrusiveness, and keeps it all within a remarkably simple interface (though manual reading is strongly advised for the disc cloning tool). It's a heck of an achievement and undisputedly the best in its class.