Name: Acronis True Image Home 2012
Type: PC data back-up utility
System requirements: Click here for full details
Price: £39.95 (£23.95 if upgrading from previous edition)
Backing-up PC data can be a chore, but it’s a necessary pain if you hope to protect your sensitive and precious files from the odd ghost in the system. The Acronis True Image Home 2012 suite aims to take the hassle out of backing up your files, while also having enough flexibility to sate the appetite of even the most avid PC tinkerer. Read on for our verdict.
Rather than focussing on one form of data back-up, the Acronis True Image Home 2012 suite offers the complete package. Be it online back-ups, file-based or continuous incremental back-ups of whole drives as they update, drive image creation or images of partitions, the software pops all methods into a single neat product.
Whether you’re using True Image Home 2012’s Nonstop Back-up feature to keep your My Documents folder safely duplicated as you pop new files inside, or using an Acronis True Image Online account to synchronise local folders with a network or a laptop (which follows similar concepts to those that use the Dropbox service), there’s a solution for pretty much every situation.
It’s all presented in such a way as to be make it comfortable to use for even those who find the thought of back-up processed intimidating. A re-vamped interface opens with a “Get Started”, which offers tutorials on “How to back up?”, “When to recover?” and “What is sync?”. Whatever your skill level, Acronis have done a fairly good job of walking you through each step of each back-up process.
Of course, if you’re familiar with the concepts of preserving your files, you can dive straight in with the Backup and recovery” tab and picking from options like: “Disk and partition”, “Online”, “File”, “Email” and “Nonstop backup”. Again the interface is clear, letting you easily pick source and destination locations, and in the case of Online and File back-up processes, offering check-box style controls to select the precise files that need copying.
It’s all highly configurable too, letting you set back-up schedules, password protect resulting archives and (in the case of the online back-up tools) set network bandwidth limits so that your uploads to the Acronis servers don’t totally drain your internet speeds. Archives are created in manageable sizes, and the True Image Home 2012 processes can run happily in the background without hogging too much of your system’s resources. The program had a few issues recognising a Crucial solid-state drive we were testing with that hadn’t been assigned a drive letter, but it’s a problem that seemed unique to our set-up.
Those looking for very specific back-up tools will be pleased to discover True Home Image 2012’s Email Back-up and Try&Decide tools. Outlook users in particular will benefit from Email Back-Up, letting you quickly and effectively archive all inbox messages and contacts, saving invaluable stuff in the case of a disaster be you a business owner working from home or simply a person who’d simply die if they lost their email-archived holiday snaps. Try&Decide was our personal favourite tool, letting you road-test risky installations (say a work-in-progress driver or a download from an untrusted source) and then revert back quickly and simply to a prior state if you encounter any problems.
These are among a long list of features already present in previous versions of True Image Home 2012. Managing all these options could potentially become a pain, but again a clear UI means that it’s simply a matter of checking a list in the Back-up and Recovery tab to keep on top of everything lined up.
While the computer whiz-kids amongst us will already have fool-proof methods for manually creating back-up copies of their valuable files, True Image Home 2012 makes the whole process much simpler for newbies. There’s also enough smart features (like Try and Decide) to make even those with their own tried-and-tested back-up methods consider giving this a try. It’s not without its quirks, and the full suite of online support isn’t the most competitively priced, but it comes strongly recommended nonetheless..