Acronis True Image Review

Acronis True Image Review

Just as we needed to keep our data records safe in the hard-copy era, we need to apply all the safety measures to avoid any data loss in this digital age as well. Data loss was the reason of some well-established business failures. How can we forget the disaster created worldwide by the wannacry ransomware cryptoworm. Apart from other attacks, ransomwares are becoming favourite of black hats. Because, not only they halt the progress of a company for a duration, such attacks make attackers financially stronger.

Thus, it's of utmost importance to apply all the security measures to prevent such attacks.

Still, even applying all the security measures there is a huge possibility that you or the security companies missed something. This missed something is the only thing attackers need to infiltrate. Once they get into your website and lock everything all you can do is pay the ransom and get your business online.

Moreover, other than the cyber attacks, data-mishandling, hardware failures, theft and natural disasters like fire, flood, earthquakes are also some major reasons of data loss.

Luckily, now there is one more layer of additional security measure, in case your data has been compromised, damaged or just not accessible to you. This additional security measure is called cloud storage.

A cloud company copies all of your data to its own server, which is quite away from your computer location and as a precaution a good cloud storage company backs up your data to more than one server farm.

Acronis True Image Cloud Storage

Acronis True Image

Acronis is one of the leading cloud backup storage companies which assures that its users will never have to worry about ransomwares or data loss.

A Background to Acronis

Acronis was founded as a company within SWsoft in 2001. It started functioning independently in 2003 with a focus in backup and disaster recovery software based on disk imaging technology.

In September 2012, Acronis acquired GroupLogic, Inc., so that it can extend its backup services through mobile Android and iOS apps. Later in 2014, Acronis won the Mobility Product of the Year award at the Network Computing Awards.

Acronis was also recognized as a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers' Choice for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions.

Acronis True Image 2019: A Review

Acronis has developed a disk imaging software called Acronis True Image for personal users and small to medium enterprises. It facilitates its users to backup their data to Acronis servers and restore it whenever needed.

Acronis neither supports unlimited computers nor it provides unlimited storage with any of the plans. Acronis does not put any limitation to mobile backups. While its plans are limited to one computer only, it does let you backup unlimited smartphones. Moreover, it does not even let you backup your external drives, network drives or NAS. But every Acronis true image plan comes with a local backup feature.

Acronis True Image Pricing

Acronis pricing structure is also slightly different from other cloud storage services. It provides three plans for Acronis True Image 2019 viz.

1) Standard

i) price: $49.99

ii) One time purchase

iii) Only one computer

iv) Standard plan consists only local backups.

v) It provides full image backup

vi) Quick recovery and universal restore

vii) Active disk cloning

viii) Standard plan prevents from ransomwares and cryptomining.

2) Advanced

i) price: $49.99 per year

ii) Only one computer cloud backup

iii) 250 GB storage cap

iv) Full image backup

v) Active disk cloning

vi) Quick recovery / Universal restore

vii) Ransomware and cryptomining blocker

viii) Office 365 backup

ix) Cloud backup and features

x) End-to-end encryption

xi) Social media backup

3) Premium

i) Price: 99.99 per year

ii) Only one computer cloud backup

iii) 1TB storage cap

iv) Full image backup

v) Active disk cloning

vi) Quick recovery / Universal restore

vii) Ransomware and cryptomining blocker

viii) Office 365 backup

ix) Cloud backup and features

x) End-to-end encryption

xi) Social media backup

xii) Blockchain certification of files

xiii) Electronic signatures on files

Acronis True Image: Disk Cloning versus Disk Imaging

Before we move ahead further it's important to understand the difference between disk cloning and disk Imaging because Acronis True Image provides both these features.

Disk Cloning

Disk cloning is the process where every bit of data is saved to and external storage media. Below points are worth to understand

i) Cloning process maintains the files, folders and its structure as well.

ii) Target drive should be of the exact same size as the source drive.

iii) You can not add more files once the cloning is done.

iv) Only one clone can be stored per disk.

v) You can directly boot from a cloned storage

vi) Cloning is best suited for data migration

Disk Imaging

The Disk Image feature backs up all the data to a single compressed file. Below points are worth to understand

i) All source files are compressed to create a single compressed file.

ii) Target drive/partition size exactness is not required. It should have sufficient free space, that's all.

iii) Multiple images can be stored per disk

iv) You can not directly boot from a disk image. First, you need to restore then only you can use the files.

v) Files are backed up incrementally, so you can add more files to the same disk image, after a backup is done.

vi) Disk image is used for data recovery.

Acronis True Image 2019: Features

1) Full Image Backup

While there are other cloud backup services which either don't let you backup your system and application files or this feature is not set by default, Acronis, on the other hand, provides the facility to backup your whole hard drive as a default feature. You can backup all your hard drive in a single file. This file can be opened even on any dissimilar hardware. In case something very bad happens to your core system files, all you have to do is to restore from this backup image. This feature uses incremental process to back up your data thus you can always add more files whenever needed.

2) Active Disk Cloning

Disk cloning process has been discussed in the previous section. What makes Acronis True Image awesome that you can clone your hard drive while you are working. All you need to keep in mind is that cloning needs exact same storage at the target drive and you can not save any other clone to that drive.

3) Cryptomining Blocker

Do you remember the disaster created by the cryptoworm, wannacry? It was probably the biggest cyber attack which asked for ransom to decrypt the data of infected computers.

Today, cryptocurrency has established itself quite well for underground activities. It's importance can be felt among black hats that the ransom is asked in cryptocurrencies and it can not be tracked.

Mining cryptocurrencies involve the process of solving very complicated equations called hashes. This requires a huge amount of CPU usage. Today, a small utility can be injected in your PC and you may have no idea that your computer is mining cryptocurrency of someone's behalf. That person (who injected) is enjoying the money being paid for mining the cryptocurrency.

While cryptominers don't steal or encrypt your data, they do steal your system resources and slow down your own computer.

These miners are either injected in your system or in the browser. A browser miner is activated when you visit an infected website while the system injected miner runs continuously as a hidden process.

Acronis cryptomining blocker blocks such miners from being installed in your system and browser both. It blocks these miners in real time and informs you so that you can take necessary action as per your current activity.

4) Active Protection from Ransomware

Although the invention of blockchain technology has provided quite help in various fields, the invention of cryptocurrencies (based on blockchain technology) have brought a disaster. Its invention has encouraged underground activities in the digital world. Ransomwares are the biggest example of this encouragement. A black hat can encrypt all your computer data and ask for ransom in cryptocurrency (bitcoin or monero) in order to decrypt your data. You as a business owner has to pay the ransom. The worst part, you can not track where your paid cryptocurrency has gone.

Acronis True Image protects you from any such incident. It actively monitors your processes and its artificial intelligence prevents any form of activity related to ransomware. This happens in real-time. Acronis also informs you regarding the blocked activity so that you can take necessary action regarding your current activity.

5) Backup when USB connects

This feature is regarding the local storage of Acronis True Image. You can take backups to any local storage attached to your computer. If you have configured Acronis to take local backups to an external storage, as soon as you will plug-in that storage you scheduled backup will start.

This Acronis feature doesn't need any human intervention, thus you don't have to remember to initiate the backup process every time you connect the USB. This feature saves you time.

6) End-to-End Encryption

We take backups on the cloud so that our data is safe. What if our data is distorted or stolen while the backup service is transferring the data from our computer to its server. This activity can dilute the whole idea of taking a cloud backup. Thus, a cloud backup without an encryption feature is really not a backup service.

Acronis True Image has covered all the breach points for data-loss. Below are the security features of Acronis –

i) SSL Connection

It does not matter whether you are just a common man or a somebody. There are activities going on to infiltrate to someone's data. This may be just for fun or really a serious attempt. All such infiltration happens mostly with the unsecured connections. Acronis products always use SSL to communicate with the servers. This ensures that there is no data leakage possible while the backup and restoration process is going on.

ii) Military Standard Encryption

Although Acronis uses the SSL for connections but the possibility of some serious data breach attempt can never be ignored. If a group of digital criminals is really serious to infiltrate and distort/steal the data, the military standard encryption fails them.

Acronis uses military standard AES 256-bit encryption, which is quite hard to crack. This level of encryption takes more time than the lower grade ones but it assures that even if someone gets access to your data they will not be able to decrypt it.

iii) Password

When you select a plan you also choose a password for backup as well. This password is only available to you, so keep it somewhere safe. Acronis, in no way saves this password, so there is no process to retrieve it through Acronis. If you lose this password, you lose your data. Also, in case someone else gets access to this password he may be able to decrypt your data as well.

Acronis uses your password with combination of AES 256-bit encryption to generate the encryption key. This encryption key encrypts your data before it leaves your computer for the Acronis servers. When you want to restore the data you provide the password, the data is downloaded in encrypted form and decrypted on your computer only.

Acronis encrypts your data with the generated encryption key then it communicates with the server over SSL connection. This provides end-to-end encryption to your data.

7) Blockchain Certification

This feature is for premium users only but is so unique that it needs to be discussed.

Acronis is the first and only cloud backup service which facilitates its users to verify whether a file that was uploaded to the server is same as the file which is downloaded. You can also use this feature to verify whether a copy someone has given to you is the same as the one you have given to him.

Acronis uses the blockchain technology to provide the file verification process to its premium users. This is done by solving very complex equations. In blockchain technology the blocks have the unaltered data of transaction and timestamps. This data can not be tampered or revised.

The Acronis Notary feature of the Premium plan uses the blockchain technology and computes the hash for each file. This is unique for every file and can not be altered. This hash algorithm generates the same output every time in any situation, given the same file as an input. Any small change in the input file results in a huge change in the output. Acronis has designed the algorithm uni-directional, which means that in no way to know the input file using the output results alone.

This feature may be quite appealing for the users who are in legal fields or the ones who rely heavily on contracts. The usage possibilities for this feature are endless.

8) Electronic Signatures

This feature is also only for premium users, but it's worth discussing in this article.

Acronis Notary also provides a facility to digitally sign the documents. As discussed above Acronis is the first cloud backup service to use the blockchain technology for providing some features. Digital signature is also one of the features of Acronis Notary.

We all sign deals, non-disclosure agreements and other agreements. These all require signatures. Today, digital signatures have vastly replaced the hard copy signatures. There are several services providing this facility, but what makes Acronis stand out from the crowd is that it uses the blockchain technology for this service. The digital signature of Acronis is called ASign and it is provided by Acronis Notary.

ASign uses the blockchain technology thus it creates a trackable and verifiable audit trail of the signatures. A unique link is e-mailed to the signees, when you select a file for ASign. Then you (and others) digitally sign the file via a website. A certificate containing the signatures and other information like date, time, and email addresses are of signees is created. This signature certificate is then notarized in a public Blockchain by Acronis Notary. This generates a publicly verifiable proof of its authenticity, integrity, origin, date and time.

Benefits of ASign

i) User friendly web interface and convenient email workflow for signees

ii) Digitally sign any file type image, video, text.

iii) The blockchain technology assures the authenticity of the files and certificates with time-stamp and transaction.

iv) No intermediary is required for certificate verification.

v) The initiator can track files through every step of signing and notarization process.

9) Continuous Protection

A backup plan doesn't know its job if it can not protect your live data, which is your current working file.

Acronis True Image is always prepared for that unplanned power failure or hardware crash. While you are working on that important project or the assignment in your office, the Acronis True Image is silently backing-up the modifications on the cloud in real-time. So, in any unplanned shutdown situation, you know that you have the most recent backup on the Acronis servers.

10) Sync

Syncing feature allows to share a file with all the connected devices in real-time. Acronis, in any plan does not allow more than one computer by default. To add more than one computer you need to pay more. However, Acronis allows multiple smartphone connection to a single account. Thus, you can sync a file on the computer connected to the Acronis True Image account and your all the teammates can access that file in real-time.

Pros

1) Unlimited Mobile

While Acronis True Image accepts only one computer by default, you can connect unlimited mobiles to the same account. You can backup the files in the mobile to the cloud and also restore any saved file from the cloud on the mobile as well.

While backing up from the mobiles always keep a check on the storage cap, It is not unlimited.

2) Disk Imaging and Cloning

Disk Imaging and cloning give you the arsenals for data recovery and system migration.

The best part about the disk clone is that you can boot from the media. You don't have to restore the whole drive, just plug-in the device and access the files you need.

3) Blockchain

Acronis is the first cloud backup service to use the blockchain technology for users. While this feature is available for the premium users only, with Acronis Notary one can check whether any file has been distorted in any manner or not.

Cons

1) Very Expensive

If compared to other cloud backup services, Acronis True Image is really very expensive. Its Advanced plan costs $49.99 for just one computer providing only 250 GB of storage cap. This says it all.

2) No two-factor authentication

Passwords are passwords. They get stolen and forgotten. The two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of account security and recovery which Acronis lacks.

3) No backups for external drives

You can take backups of your computer data to the external devices as a local backup. But Acronis True Image does not provide backup features for your external drives, network drives or the NAS (Network Attached Storage). Data on your all external devices are left to same data-loss vulnerability as it was before purchasing the Acronis plan.

4) No drive shipping either for seed or restore

The first step after choosing a backup service is to seed the data, which means uploading all the computer data to the server. Over the internet, it is a time-consuming process and can take days depending on the volume of data. A drive shipment makes the seeding and restoration process quite quick. All the computer data is backed up on this drive and shipped to the address of the cloud backup service. Over there this data is uploaded to the server. This process saves time and bandwidth both.

Acronis True Image, does not provide drive shipping either for seed or for the restoration which delays both the processes.

5) No unlimited plans

Acronis does not provide any plan which consists unlimited computers or unlimited storage. This, if compared to some other cloud backup services makes Acronis True Image lagging quite behind as a common user's choice.

Our rating – 3.0/5

Visit Acronis Website

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Can Acronis clone any hard disk?

While Acronis provides an awesome feature called cloning, you can not clone every drive. There are some limitations which need to be considered before cloning a hard drive viz.

i) No Partition cloning

As discussed in previous sections, cloning provides a bootable disk for your data, however, you cannot clone just one or two partitions. The cloning feature does not provide the freedom to clone partitions. You have to clone the whole hard disk.

ii) Same Size Hard disk

The cloning feature of Acronis True Image will start cloning only if the source and the target hard disks are of same size. If the sizes of the source and the target hard disks vary, the destination drive will not be selected as a target.

iii) Dynamic drives not supported

Only basic drives are supported by the cloning feature. If your hard disk is dynamic, you are out of your luck. Dynamic drive will not be cloned.

iv) Same logical sector size

As one more limitation of Acronis True Image feature, both the source and the target drives should have the same logical sector size. If the target is having a dissimilar sector size it will not be selected by the cloning feature as a target drive.

2) Can Acronis clone to a smaller hard drive than the source?

One of the limitations of the cloning feature is that both the source and the target drives should be of same size. But Acronis True Image cloning feature also supports cloning of larger disks to the smaller ones by resizing, if the smaller disk has the capacity to fit the contents of the larger disk.

3) Will Acronis True Image clone bad sectors?

If you know that your drive is having bad sectors, then it's a good idea that you should remove them firsthand. The cloning process should be done afterwards. It makes no sense to clone the bad sectors along with the data. You should run chdsk to remove the bad sectors.

No, Acronis will not copy the bad sectors, but it may freeze up if bad sectors are encountered too much. The cloning process will slow down your whole computer and finally show the error.

So, first remove the bad sectors then run the cloning process.

4) What is Acronis Bootable Media?

Acronis bootable media is a backup and recovery utility of Acronis True Image. With this, the user does not need to boot up the Windows PC, you can start performing the image creation, cloning, disk partition. You can perform both the processes of backup and restore with the Acronis bootable media.

Acronis bootable media has the same graphical interface as the Acronis True Image running on Windows PC. It is based on the Linux kernel and uses the Linux drivers to access the hardware devices. It is quite possible that the drive letters on your Windows PC may have a different name on Acronis Bootable Media because of the kernel difference.

The Bootable Media runs successfully on both the 32bit and 64 bit systems. You can run it from CD, DVD or USB.

Backup archives created in Acronis Bootabe Media can be restored in Windows PC and vice versa.

5) Can Acronis True Image clone Bitlocker drives?

Bitlocker is an encryption program of Windows. It encrypts the whole volume using the military grade AES 256-bit encryption. Thus, it provides very high level of security to the applied volumes.

As Bitlocker provides military standard encryption, Acronis cloning feature depends on the state of the Bitlocker status. There are three conditions of Bitlocker status to consider viz.

i) Encrypted and locked

If the Bitlocker is both Encrypted and locked, Acronis cannot enter and see the data of the volume. This means that Acronis cloning will not be possible if the volume is both encrypted and locked by the Bitlocker.

ii) Encrypted and Unlocked

If the Bitlocker volume is encrypted but unlocked, then Acronis can enter the volume and take the backups. However, if one or more other volumes are both encrypted and locked the cloning process and Full PC image backup will fail. In order to take the whole PC image or clone, every volume should be at least unlocked if not decrypted.

iii) Decrypted and Unlocked

If the volumes are neither locked nor encrypted then the cloning and disk image feature will work normally.

6) How to delete old backups in Acronis True Image?

As Acronis true Image provides limited storage, it's important to keep a check on the storage used. This will save you lots of time while some important file needs to be backed up or synced immediately.

As a first step you should always specify the personalized settings for automatic clean up. You can provide settings for Automatic Cleanup Rules to delete the older versions automatically. For this,

i) Login to your Acronis account

ii) Select Backup

iii) Select the cloud

iv) Select Advanced tab

v) In the Acronis Cloud Cleanup option specify the number of versions you want to retain.

vi) Check the box that says Delete the versions that are older than. Here you can specify the retention duration for the backed up files on the cloud.

There must be some files which you no longer need, and they are just adding up to your cloud storage. You can remove these files manually. You can perform the deletion in two ways viz.

i) Deleting an entire backup

If a backup has become an unnecessary burden and eating up your storage space, you can delete that entire backup. For this

a) Open Acronis True Image

b) Identify the backup you want to delete

c) Select the dropdown arrow beside the backup

d) Click delete

You can perform backup deletion from the Acronis web app as well.

a) Login to your Acronis account

b) Select the Files tab

c) Identify the backup that you want to delete

d) Move the cursor on the backup

e) Click the gear icon that appears

f) Select Remove from the dropdown menu

g) Click delete

h) Done

The backup, its versions and all the schedules will be deleted. Use this feature with caution because all the files of that backup will be gone.

ii) One time clean up

You can perform a manual cleanup as well. This cleanup will not affect the encrypted backups. Encrypted clean up (automatic clean up) has already been detailed above.

For manual clean up,

i) Login to Acronis account on the web.

ii) Select Storage tab

iii) Click clean up space

iv) Configure the clean up settings

v) Click clean up now

vi) Done

7) Does Acronis True Image provide validation of backups?

While taking backups is one part of data safety, the other one is the restoration process. If the initial or any incremental backup is corrupted then all the further backups will be of no use. Thus, it is important to validate your backups from time to time, to make sure that the backups are not corrupted due to any unforeseen reason.

Yes, Acronis True Image provides the feature to validate the backups. As a sequential process, first you need to validate the full backup then validate the incremental backups. To validate,

i) Select the back up

ii) Click Operations

iii) Select Validate backup

iv) If the backup is password protected, provide the password

v) Validation result is shown in the line below backup's box

8) How can I backup my mobile and Tablet to NAS from Acronis True Image?

Acronis provides backup of unlimited mobiles and tablets. You can store data from these devices to cloud, computer, external drive and NAS.

To take a backup of mobile and tablet to NAS, follow the below process

i) Install the Acronis android or iOS app to device

ii) Install Acronis application on the NAS

iii) Both the device and the NAS should be connected to the same Wi-fi network

iv) In mobile app select Backup to NAS computer

v) In mobile app select Scan QR code

vi) Your NAS application will show a QR code

viii) Scan this NAS QR from the mobile app

viii) Both mobile and NAS are paired

ix) Start backing up your mobile device

You can browse the backed up files on NAS directly from your mobile. You can also restore the files from the mobile as well.

9) How can I exclude a file or a folder from a backup on Acronis True Image?

There may be some files or folders on your computer which are either not very important to backup or they will use too much of the allotted space. Thus, it is important to exclude such files from being backed up.

To exclude a file, a folder or certain file types follow the below procedure

i) First select the source and the target

ii) Then Select Options

iii) Click Exclusions

iv) Check the box Files matching the following criteria

v) Click the + sign

vi) Specify the criteria or browse to the file or folder

vii) Click Ok

viii) Done

10) How can I restore from the external drive with Acronis True Image?

Acronis True Image provides very easy steps for restoring the data, just as it provides for the backup. To restore from the external drive, follow the below procedure

i) Attach your external drive to the usb

ii) Boot from the rescue media

iii) Acronis True Image 2019 window appears

iv) On the home screen, select My Disks below Recover

v) Select the backup for recovery

vi) In the Choose Recovery Method choose the method as per your need

vii) On the What to Recover screen locate the system disk and check the box

viii) Review and click next

ix) Confirm the summary and click proceed

x) Done

11) How can I restore from Acronis True Image cloud?

It is always advisable to create one local back up and one cloud backup of the original data on your computer. Acronis True Image backs up your all the data securely to its servers.

Acronis stores your previous versions and the disk image as well on the cloud. In case you want to restore the data from the cloud, follow the below procedure

i) Restore files and folders from the cloud

a) Start Acronis True Image 2019

b) On the sidebar, click backup

c) From the backup list select the backup which contains your desired files

d) On the right panel, click recover files

e) You will be taken to Acronis website

f) Provide a password if applicable

g) Select the Files tab

h) Select the required files and folders

i) Click Download to start recovery.

If you have selected more than one file or folder it will be downloaded in a compressed form.

By default, the data will be downloaded to the Download folder. You can change this destination in the settings.

ii) File version recovery

By default, Acronis downloads the most recent version but sometimes a previous version of a file seems to be more important than the recent one. You can download the previous version of a file as follows

a) First reach to the backed up files ares

b) Select the file whose previous version is required

c) Click the gear icon on the right-hand side.

d) Select view versions in the opened menu

e) All the versions are listed

f) Select the required version

g) Click download icon next to it

By default, the file will be downloaded to the Download folder. You can change the destination in the settings.

12) How to uninstall Acronis True Image?

You can uninstall the Acronis True Image from the Windows' Add or Remove Programs feature, just the way you uninstall other installed softwares.

In case, uninstallation fails, you can use the Acronis True Image installer (exe file). Double click the file and choose to uninstall.

In case even this doesn't uninstall the Acronis True Image, there is a utility provided from Acronis. You can find the complete procedure here.

Websites Used

https://kb.acronis.com/ati2019/faq

https://kb.acronis.com/content/56634

https://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/computer-backup/

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