Last year's True Image finally revamped the interface to make it genuinely user-friendly, but didn't exactly pile on the advanced features. This year, Acronis is making an effort to rectify that, with True Image Home 2010 bringing several new additions aimed squarely at the more experienced user.
Online PR News – 19-March-2010 – – Windows 7 is at the heart of things, with full support for the new OS now in place. The most interesting aspect is what you can do with your backup sets. True Image Home 2010 allows you to save your backups as virtual hard disk (.vhd) files, so you can access and edit backed-up files in a virtual machine on another Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate PC. It also offers those Ultimate users the ability to boot directly from the Windows 7 image.
The task scheduler now includes options for periodic backups, and tasks can be suspended and moved around very easily, but that's nothing compared to the new Nonstop Backup. Enable this mode and Acronis will back up changes every five minutes; you can then use the Time Explorer to retrace your steps and pick out the precise moment – presumably limited only by disk space – at which a particular file went away.
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True Image Home 2010 has stepped up its interface game not only with an improved, Vista-like look, but with more-logical placement of options, a much better workflow, and much clearer language. Even the help file is friendlier. Combine the program's nascent sociability with new features--such as One-Click backup, nonstop backup, and online backup--that are actually of use to the average customer, and True Image Home 2010 is easily the best update to the program in years.
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One-click backup is designed to allow less-experienced users to back up as quickly as possible. After you double-click the One-Click icon (the installation places it on your desktop), the program searches for the best location for an initial full backup and performs it. Its location choices were intelligent. With a nonpartitioned drive attached to the system, True Image created a Recovery Zone partition (Acronis's hidden partition for disaster recovery without a boot disc). When I prepartitioned the same drive as E:, the program saved the image to E:\MyBackup. When no hard drive had enough room attached, the program detected that and started a backup using my DVD burner.
Nonstop backup is a background process that creates a baseline image backup, then checks every five minutes to see if your data has changed; if it has, the process creates an incremental backup. Nonstop backups are stored in a hidden folder called Time Explorer Storage, and the restore feature is called Time Explorer, which rather obviously brings Apple's Time Machine to mind. Both the procedures for restoring and the timeline control at the bottom of the window are very reminiscent of the Mac app. The feature requires quite a bit of disk space, but that's to be expected. Though you're not forced to do so, you should probably dedicate a large external drive to the feature.
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