Definitions

Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image is a disk imaging and disaster recovery application for computers, produced by Acronis. True Image can create an image of a disk while it is running Microsoft Windows or Linux, or offline by booting from CD/DVD, USB flash drives, PXE, or other bootable media. As a disk imaging solution, True Image can restore the previously captured image to another disk, effectively replicating the structure and contents to the new disk, also allowing partition resizing if the new disk is of different capacity.

Operation

As a live imaging application, True Image offers functionality such as restoring data or creating a backup image without rebooting the system. In case of operating system corruption or hard disk failure, the machine can be booted to the Acronis Recovery Manager, which offers Bare-metal restore capability, and can return the system to a previous point in time.

The Workstation and Enterprise Server versions allow a software agent to be installed which can be controlled remotely from another machine, enabling centralized management of all operations.

True Image is known for its simple, wizard driven interface, and receives positive reviews from both editors and users alike.

The program can backup a Windows system disk while the OS is running but must boot separately to perform a restoration of a system disk. The BootCD used to run the program to perform a restoration of a system disk uses a version of Linux, and therefore relies on different hardware drivers than Windows. It is not uncommon for a user to have made backups and then find that the BootCD cannot see one of the drives needed to perform a restore. This issue also affects many other backup/imaging programs as most rely on linux to perform restores. Some folks avoid these driver issues by using a plug-in of TrueImage on a BartPE disk (Acronis provides the Bart plug-in along with the TrueImage program) or a VistaPE disk.

While enjoying a widespread reputation as Best in Class, based on earlier versions of its product and its versitile features, the TrueImage reputation has suffered since the Fall 2007 release of TrueImageHome Version 11, which, according to the forums, has more bugs than prior versions. These problems are not limited to the driver issues associated with the Linux on the BootCD and therefore could not be avoided by using a BartPE or VistaPE boot disk. Although Acronis released two updates to TrueImageHome 11 during the subsequent 9 months, most of the bugs were never repaired -- see for example: http://www.wilderssecurity.com/forumdisplay.php?f=65

Acronis offers free trials of the software.

Recovery methods

True Image offers several different options for system recovery, including the retrieval of lost files or other chunks of data, as well as entire system recovery due to corruption or failure. The following is a quick list of methods:

  • True Image can access files within an existing image file by mounting the image file as if it were a disk, in either read-only or read-write mode. This enables the user to quickly copy data files from the image file back to the local system. A virtual device driver must be installed in the operating system in order to use the mounting feature, but this driver is installed during the original installation of True Image. Separately, files can be read from and, in read-write mode, written to the image, which effectively creates an incremental file, and has the advantage of leaving the original image files untouched by saving the changes in a new file.
  • True Image offers a bootable media wizard, which creates a recovery environment to CD or other media, and is used to boot the machine to a proprietary environment for quick recovery. While this method also provides the ability to recover lost data, the primary focus is restoring the complete system back to a given point in time in case of complete failure.
  • Starting with Home version 10 and Corporate editions of True Image Echo, a shell extension feature has been added that allows archives to be viewed as drives in Windows Explorer without specifically mounting the image beforehand.
  • The Acronis Secure Zone is a bootable, hidden partition option created and managed by True Image. This space, which is not accessible to the user or other applications such as malware, is used to store the backup image files. The Secure Zone can be created as bootable, enabling the user to boot directly into the recovery environment by pressing the F11 key, very useful when the machine doesn't contain a CD drive or other access to external media.

Acronis Universal Restore

Images of computers running Microsoft Windows cannot simply be restored to different hardware as Windows will typically fail at boot time with a STOP: 0x0000007B error screen if the proper Microsoft Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and/or storage drivers are not installed in the operating system at boot time. Acronis Universal Restore is designed to overcome this problem.

Universal Restore is an add-on utility for True Image Echo versions running under Windows, and is designed to replace the HAL and inject updated storage drivers embedded within the image during the recovery process, allowing an image of a machine to be restored to different hardware.

Versions

Home version

  • Acronis True Image 11.0 Home Corporate standalone versions
  • Acronis True Image Echo Server for Linux
  • Acronis True Image Echo Server for WindowsCorporate versions containing the Acronis Management Console
  • Acronis True Image Echo Workstation
  • Acronis True Image Echo Enterprise Server

The Echo Server for Windows and Linux products are standalone applications only, while the Workstation and Enterprise Server versions include the Acronis Management Console for centralized remote operations. While the Workstation version supports Windows desktop operating systems only, the Enterprise server contains remote agents for both Windows Servers and many varieties of the Linux operating systems.

The Home version, while costing less than Echo Workstation, is not merely a cut-down version of it: Home has some facilities, such as excluding specified files from an image backup, not supported by Echo editions.

OEM bundling

As of May 2007, Seagate/Maxtor include a rebadged version of True Image under the name of the DiscWizard and MaxBlast hard drive utilities. It is free to use on any computer with at least one Seagate/Maxtor hard drive.

Compatibility

Acronis states that True Image provides backward compatibility for image files (in .tib format) created with a single previous version, that is, images created with an immediate previous version can be successfully restored. Backups are compatible between different editions of True Image; e.g., between True Image Echo Workstation and True Image Echo Enterprise Server, or between Linux and Windows versions.

Supported filesystems

File systems supported by software:

In addition to the officially supported filesystems, Acronis True Image also provides raw sector backup and restore options for all other filesystems. 'Raw' mode provides support for a file system that is corrupt, or that isn't officially supported, by capturing a complete image of all sectors on the disk. This method results in a larger image file as it isn't able to compress, resize, or selectively restore files on the unrecognized filesystem.

Limitations

Although True Image officially supports operating systems using the newer GUID Partition Table, it reportedly will not work with Windows XP running on a MacBook Pro.

See also

References

External links

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