Acronis – TrueImage 8 review

fast and simple hard drive partition backup
Photo of Acronis – TrueImage 8

Maintaining a backup image of your Windows installation is a useful security measure, and TrueImage 8 aims to make this task as straightforward as possible, even for non-technical users. It can create and save images of your hard drive partitions from within Windows, but you restore them from the program’s own operating system. This ensures you can recover your system, even if there’s a glitch that prevents you starting Windows.

To create a drive image, you click the icon in the True Image pane and a Wizard takes over, asking you to select the partition you want to copy, where you want to copy it and the level of compression you want to apply. Once you’ve confirmed your actions it starts copying, indicating all the time how long it has to go.

Its performance is good. True Image created an image of a 4.88GB system partition on a Firewire-connected external Peerless drive, compressing it to 2.04GB in the process, in just 3 minutes 51 seconds. It then restored the same partition in 5 minutes 18 seconds, automatically restarting the system when it realised it was restoring the active partition.

True Image can create images on different partitions of the same drive, on a separate internal hard drive, on CD or DVD, on an external hard drive or across a network to a drive on a different PC.

The default compression level is as good as with Symantec’s Drive Image, but there are two marginally higher levels of compression, if space is tight. Drive Image is probably True Image’s main competitor, though it can also duplicate the functions of Norton Ghost, another Symantec program with a similar feature-set.

Once you have created a drive image, you can work within it, so you can extract files from an image in the same way you would from a zip archive. You can also use it to copy images from one drive to another, though you will have trouble creating system partitions on multiple drives without the appropriate Windows license from Microsoft.

As well as facilities for backing up and restoring images, True Image 8 integrates upgrade utilities sold separately as Acronis Migrate. For anybody adding an extra hard drive to a PC, either as a new data drive or to take over as the system drive, TrueImage 8 can copy a working image, avoiding the need to re-install Windows or your applications.

Company: Acronis

Contact: 0870 240 4494

With DriveImage coming in at about £35 and Ghost closer to £45, True Image looks exceptional value at under £20. With the drive upgrade routines thrown in, it's an affordable security measure. It's a program you may rarely use, but is invaluable when you need it.