I have just enjoyed a wonderful 24 hours with Acronis True Image 10. If you are interested in my assessment and if you are sitting comfortably I will begin... - Last Friday I had my rental car broken into in the UK and my laptop was stolen (and Credit Cards, Passport etc.) A total disaster but I was able to sleep that night knowing that I had created an image of the Hard Drive back in my German office. Phew. - So I order a new, ABSOLUTELY identical lap-top. It arrived yesterday and I sat down with a brand new copy of Acronis True Image 10 and got quite excited about recreating my hard disk. - In went the CD and after some wirling up came the option to run Acronis in RAM (with or without drivers) or to simply go ahead and run the pre-installed windows XP. - After a few seconds a friendly little message came up saying "Loading, please wait". So I did. And some more. After 1 hour I figured I had waited enough... I retried the load. More waiting. Again. And Again. What does one do now I think to my self. I start to read the hand-book. Nothing there. OK, so I am in a hurry. Let's call Acronis Support. After 10mins in the cue at 69 cent per minute I get a friendly but rather bored tech guy who tells me I have to press F11 while the program boots and start to mess with Linux core variables as there are know issues with the program with some hardware.. Ok, I'm starting to get a little nervous now. I mess with parameters for another hour. I recon I am now up to 20-30 in support costs.. Not only that but I am really getting worried. - Nothing seems to work. I am now told that I have to create an image of my windows xp using something called BartXP... So now I am essentially being asked to compile a working version of True Image and to burn a new bootabe CD. - Ok, 4 hours later I have completely lost it and have put the box away. What have I learnt from this: * True Image 10 may be a good program, but it does not run on all systems that run window XP. Excuse me... but that is not what it says on the box. * The program does not include any time-outs to trap and correct and loading faults. No was should the program sit and say "Loading, please wait" for 1 hour. This is simply BAD programming. The program should have come back and offered to try to install differently and mess with its own parameters until it either works or tells the user to get the big hammer. Also, why use Linux? I can see no reference to this on the box. It says "Windows XP" compatible... But we all know that Linux is not compatible on all and every piece of hardware. They are having us on.. surely. * Acronis have the ultimate get-out... They state that all users should test their back-up images and that they are not responsible if they do not work unless the user has tested them first. Now here is the thing.. If the image will not install without problems, the user has likely already corrupted their CURRENT installation. Trashed Hard Disk and Trashed Image. This seems like a very significant issue with the whole image making concept. This is a conceptional issue for which I cannot see a resolution. * So I went back to my friendly computer store and asked for my money back. Oh no sir. We cannot take back an opened software program.. but sir, I have not registered it and I have proven that it does not do what it says on the box... No matter sir, maybe we can hang it in the window and someone will buy it for less than you paid and we can give you the money... I told him to keep the program and put it where there is little daylight. * It seems to me that the whole image industry is suffers from some significant design problems... For the casual user using this type of image back up software makes no sense. It is better to accept that a system crash (or a virus attack) is an excuse to upgrade the hardware. (boy I wish knew earlier this week as I would have ordered a faster sexier machine - but I wanted to be able to recreate my hard drive...). The user should make sure that all loaded software CDs are always available for a fresh install and regularly back up user data on a network drive or USB drive using Total Commander or similar. Most email programs have great tools for backing up their databases... This is faster and safer than any image making. It is also going to create a faster safer system as windows likes a fresh install once in a while, and all the junk that is filling the hard disk gets dumped at the same time. It used to be that windows likes to be reinstalled from scratch about once a year, things are better now, but it is still good practice. So where does True Image fit in all this? * If you are running an IT department and have to recreate computers regularly, then the "setting up" and "going through the pain" of getting True Image to work makes sense. It will save time and is good for the users. For home use it makes little sense as a better strategy is to simply back up the user data and keep a stack of programs CD handy. After all, a hard disk crash is always waiting around the corner. I concede that some gamers may not be happy to loose their "top scores" but they should maybe think of this a part of the game... I am curious if I am alone with this experience or if I may have lost the plot somewhere.. I for one will tell my colleagues do start to use Total Commander. And frequently. Creating an image takes too long and may not work. It takes sooo long that the user will only bother to do it infrequently and this rather defeats the object of doing so. Thoughts..? All the best Thomas PS. I just noticed the statistics in this forum that state that 33% of all users have had "10 out of 10" restore failures using imaging software. I sure wish I had known this earlier. 33% is not acceptable and completely invalidates the product.