My problem is fixed and it had nothing to do with Acronis software. The external drive was connected through firewire (which SHOULD work fine) but the transfer rates were abysmal. I did a simple large file copy test and timed how long it took to transfer 1GB of data. I swapped in a USB2.0 drive and the backup took less than 2 hours (the other backup took 3 or 4 DAYS!). I'm not sure if it is the firewire or a failed drive causing a problem but all is well now. Maybe it was a combination of factors and doing all of the Acronis fixes helped as well.