Creating a Hard Drive Image using Acronis
Acronis True Image Home 2015 has just been released with some exciting new features to keep your data safer than ever. Including file synchronization and better network backup capabilities. Acronis has added New Windows 8 Integration to enable seamless integration into the Windows control panel. Friendlier user interfaces makes it easier than ever to backup and restore your data. See the True Image 2015 Review here.
For the sake of this review of Acronis True Image, lets say that I have just spent hours loading Windows on a new computer. I used Windows Update to install all 93 security updates, loaded and tweaked all of my applications to get them just the way I need them to be able to have my computer function exactly the way I like it. I do not want to do that job again any time soon. Another scenario would be that you are about to try something that you are not sure will work, like trying the latest and greatest video driver, and it has the possibility of crashing your computer. If you need to upgrade your hard drive without reinstalling Windows, this is the easiest way to get the job done.
The first thing that needs to be done is to take an exact image of the hard drive just in case it crashes or you accidentally step in some scumware and do not feel like taking the two hours it probably would take to remove it. The tool for the job is Acronis True Image. Here is the step-by-step tutorial or walkthrough of Acronis True Image in action.
Although there are many different ways to image a hard drive, the easiest way to image a computer hard drive is to use the Acronis True Image hard drive backup utility.
The installation is a snap. The defaults work just fine. When you open the program, you will see the user interface below with a lot of options to manage and protect all of those megabytes and gigabytes.
We want to take an exact image of the hard drive. For that task, click on the Disk and Partition backup option under the Backup and Recovery tab or backup system on the main interface.
That brings up the following screen where you can choose the source and destination for the backup job. There are four partitions on the drive. The first three came with the laptop but I always use a disk partition utility like Acronis Disk Director to partition the drive to separate the C drive from the data drive to keep the files safer. I chose all partitions on the source drive and a 64 Gigabyte USB Flash drive as the destination drive. A bonus feature in Acronis True Image is the ability to make the media bootable so I did so. You could also choose to take an image of the computer and back it up to the Acronis Cloud or an external hard drive. Very nice.
I also chose to schedule the job to run every week with a couple of other options as shown in the following screenshot. Then I smacked the Backup Now Button.
As you can see the entire job of creating an image will take about 23 minutes. That is pretty quick considering it is backing up about 52 Gigabytes of data to a Flash drive. As you can see, I can continue to work on the computer while the job is in operation.
When the job is complete, it shows the details of the operation and gives you the option to recover the disk or a single partition.
Clicking on the Recover button gives you the options of what you want to recover and where to recover the data.
When the backup job was started, we had the option to make the USB Drive bootable. This is what the True Image program looks like booting the PC from the USB Drive. You have all of the options to recover the disk if the computer will not start.
That file should be stored in a safe place away from the computer. Now for added security and data safety, I will go one step further and back up some important files to an external hard drive using the File Backup to local storage option. As you can see, I could also choose to backup to the Acronis Cloud as well but I will save that for another review.
I chose to backup My Documents, My Desktop and a folder called WWW where my websites are stored. The destination is an external hard drive. I will also schedule the backup job to go off every night as an incremental job.
Now I feel that this computer is quite well protected against any type of data loss imaginable. I have an image of the drive and a good backup scenario running on a schedule. If the need arises to recover the image or just some of the files, the process is just as simple. See the review about how to restore the image or files here.
There are many home computer backup scenarios to consider but just remember to backup your files regularly. I recommend using an online backup solution. Whatever you choose to do with it, choose a safe location for it so if the computer crashes, the image file will not be lost. What is a Hard Drive Crash? Now if the computer does crash or maybe you step in some scumware or something, you can restore it to the original state in a matter of minutes. Even if you just want to upgrade your hard drive without reinstalling your Operating System, this image will work on a bigger hard drive too!
On a scale of Bytes to Brontobytes, the Acronis True Image 2014 disk imaging process gets a Brontobyte. It just works.
Acronis True Image 2015 has been released with a completely new design and some added functionality to make it easier than ever to keep your data safe. This version combines the features of the previous Premium version which includes dynamic disk support and Universal Restore allowing you to restore data to a different PC even if it has different hardware. Wi-Fi support has also been added when backing up to the Acronis Cloud even to a bare-metal PC. The Media Builder has also been simplified as has the Entire PC Backup scenario. See our review of True Image 2015. A True Image 2015 coupon code will be posted when it becomes available.
The image you make with Acronis True Image should be stored in a safe spot away from the physical computer. We recommend a large flash drive, an external hard drive or an online backup solution. Check some of our recommended storage solutions.