How well does Acronis TI actually work?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by martinlest, Sep 15, 2006.

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  1. martinlest

    martinlest Registered Member

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    I make regular Acronis images, but have never (so far!) had to reinstall a complete partition (although the 'folders and files' backups I have have proved useful on occasion).

    I am just wondereing, those folks here who have had some kind of disaster and had to wipe then reinstall their C partition from an Acronis image, did absolutely everything come back working OK? Including network setups and shared internet? Some things like this are just so fiddly to get working correctly in the first place (I've found!), it would be good to hear that Acronis handles their reinstallation well. Just in case I ever need it!

    M.
     
  2. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Acronis handles the restoration of the whole of my main drive from an image perfectly. Just to be 100% safe the first time I did it to a spare hard drive. I have now built this into my backup process by using an exchangable hard drive system. There is no difference at all in the fuctionality between an original and a restored hard drive.
     
  3. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I do backup and restores of C from time-to-time when testing software. After the test I restore so the disk is functionally the same as it was before I started. Works every time.

    You might consider doing a restore to a spare HD using the rescue CD so you can confirm that it indeed works on your machine. The issue won't be that TI will get your HD scrambled, it will be that the rescue CD Linux environment might not run, won't recognize your backup device or will have a less than ideal driver for it.

    If you don't want to attempt the above, then boot up the rescue CD and validate an image or two. That will provide some degree of confidence although not 100%.
     
  4. martinlest

    martinlest Registered Member

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    I always validate my images before I store them - and test restoring a file or two. Just wondered (in particular) about the network setup and whether Acronis coped with the shared internet OK. No reason why it shouldn't I suppose!

    M. :)
     
  5. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    The shared internet is just more bits in sectors and means nothing special to TI.

    If you haven't you should do a validate using the rescue CD since this is a totally different environment (Linux with Linux drivers) than using TI in Windows. The rescue CD Linux environment is the one you need if there is a HD replacement needed.
     
  6. martinlest

    martinlest Registered Member

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    Er, why do I need Linux if I am running XP?
     
  7. ralphieboy

    ralphieboy Registered Member

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    Acronis TI's bootable recovery CD *is* Linux.

    FYI, I'm a new TI user, but I've done several restores now (using my old Ghostv8 as a safety net), on two different machines, using both "cold" and "hot" backup images....

    Works. Friggin'. AWESOME.

    Best program ever. I'm not fooling. I'm rarely impressed with any software, but Acronis TI Home 9.0 is just about the most flawless and well-engineered product I've ever seen. Couldn't be happier.

    The ability to add-on differential or incremental image backups to an image is just UNBEATABLE. No longer do I have to have 5 times the disk space to hold five backup images. Essentially I can have dozens or hundreds of backup "images", in little over 1 times the disk space.

    Don't think, just buy it. Now. Best money you'll ever spend.
     
  8. martinlest

    martinlest Registered Member

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    Er, I bought it ages ago. I've been using Acronis for years (literally - since there was a free version given away on a PC magazine, when Acronis first came out). Never had to do a full boot partition restore though. Lucky me!

    M.
     
  9. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Hello there seekforever,

    I have been doing what you recommend here from my own cautiousness for quite some time after I upgraded to TI9, with that same reasoning behind it. Never had a case of an image, created and first validated in Windows, not to validate from Rescue CD.

    Then I started to ask myself whether there was a higher level of confidence to be had from that procedure. If all the drives are verified to be seen from the rescue environment and stipulated that the validate function only calculates and compares the checksum with the original one, recorded in the image file itself, is there any additional confidence to be gained from a validation (validation only) performed from Rescue CD instead of from Windows?
     
  10. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    As one of those (few, I hope) who initially had problems using TI on my system (no SATA hard drives found, external USB HD errors), once resolved, I have found TI full disk or partition image restorations to work excellently. I've restored my system drive, as well as data partitions, and everything works fine after the restore. Since TI full disk/partition images copy the raw data on your hard drive, as long as the image verifies, TI seems to write exactly what was there originally. So, all drivers and settings are identical.

    I wouldn't want to go back to the pre-Acronis state. This set of tools, understood and used properly, is invaluable, and a great time saver. When I get into a bind (a new driver doesn't take, etc.) I can just restore an image from last night, to return my PC to intact condition. Without having to mess with any of those pesky settings you mentioned. Or spend days reloading the OS and programs and updating everything. With TI, I'm back up and running in minutes!

    I'm an outspoken critic, but wouldn't be hanging around if True Image weren't worth the effort to learn its strengths, and report its flaws. And the helpful, supportive user community in these forums is unparalleled. Even when others suggest alternate imaging or backup programs, I go first to their respective support forums, and find nothing to compare with these.

    By the way, if you haven't tried this yet, another excellent, and for me, more reliable method of restoring individual files and folders is to "Mount" a partition image, then copy and paste the files you want. This method, from TI running under Windows, uses the OS to create and copy files and directories, and has worked flawlessly for me. Imaging disks and partitions is the core competency of TI, and being able to mount, search, and access those images is first class.

    On my system Boot mode doesn't consistently restore files and folders intact (a known problem under investigation by Acronis). But TI does a fine job restoring disk/partition images, under both boot modes and Windows XP.
     
  11. ugc

    ugc Registered Member

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    Some more good news for you.

    I started using Acronis many years ago. Since then I have built many computers and tested a lot of software. I used acronis on all computers and I restore quite a bit. Never has failed me yet.

    Before Acronis, I used Ghost. I love Acronis much better!, and would not want to be without it.
     
  12. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I created disasters myself and wiped my two internal harddisks with zeroes.
    Had to use the Rescue CD to restore everything back, but it WORKED.
    I tried everything to break ATI, but it kept one working properly.
    I even restored encrypted partitions with TrueCrypt without troubles.
    ATI is the only backup software, I know upto now that recovers FDISR-snapshots + MBR completely.

    My advice : do restorations as many as possible in the beginning, that's how you learn to trust ATI. Backup is the easy and boring part of ATI.
    Too many users are afraid of restoration, that is my general observation in forums. They don't even trust their own backups and that is almost ridiculous.

    EDIT:
    This is the visual difference between a normal data partition and an encrypted data partition

    In "Disk Management" a normal data partition looks like this
    Volume = Data Partition [D:]
    Layout = Partition
    Type = Basic
    File System = NTFS
    Status = healthy
    Capacity = 69,23 GB
    Free space = 64,44 GB
    % Free = 93%
    Fault Tolerance = No
    overhead = 0%


    The same partition, but encrypted looks like this :
    Volume = blank
    Layout = Partition
    Type = Basic
    File System = blank
    Status = healthy
    Capacity = 69,24 GB
    Free space = 69,24 GB
    % Free = 100%
    Fault Tolerance = No
    overhead = 0%

    This partition seems to be empty, but it isn't.
    ATI had no problem to restore this partition and after mounting every file was there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2006
  13. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    The flexibility of the Mount tool brings up a strategy detail that I wouldn't have thought of if I didn't once read about it on this forum.

    Usually, when you find yourself in a mess, you are eager to restore a previous good image as soon as possible and get rid of the current state. But it is worth taking one more image of the unhealthy current disk state before restoring the healthy image. Thus you will be able to recover the files that were created after the last healthy image was made by Mounting this unhealthy image and copying them from there. This way, no personal file gets lost, even if the restored image wasn't of a very recent date.
     
  14. Omen

    Omen Registered Member

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    I would advise you to test the rescue CD to be sure that the Linux OS on it can see all your drives. In the event of a total XP meltdown (or hardware failure) when you can't boot into XP or Safe Mode, you'll need the ATI rescue CD to be fully functional if you want to restore that partition with your backup.

    In my case, the current version (build 3677) of ATI Home 9.0 cannot see my SATA boot HD when I boot from the rescue CD. I've been working with Acronis support on this issue, and they advised me that the next version of ATI Home will resolve my problem and allow me to use the rescue CD to restore my SATA drive. For now, I'm using a Bart-PE CD with ATI Home incorporated into it as my total meltdown backup. I'd prefer to have a native solution from Acronis, but the Bart-PE disk works, and that's all that matters for now.
     
  15. starsfan09

    starsfan09 Registered Member

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    martinlest,
    Here's my opinion. (Copied, and pasted this here from another thread)

    Before I switched to Acronis, I thoroughly Tested the program to full extremes before giving up my old "Disc Imaging" program.
    By that, I mean there were about 30-40 Tests on a "Spare HD", and many other HD's as well.... before even considering putting it on my personal Primary HD.

    I created all FULL TI Images from the Recovery Boot-CD, and stored them on an External USB 2.0 HD, and Spare Internal HD. (Some Images were Restored from the External, and some were Restored from the Internal HD.)
    **Right before ALL Images made,.... I ran "Chkdsk", and "Defrag" (many times).**

    Believe me, I created some very disasterous situations on these Spare HD's to see how TI would perform.
    1. I purposly downloaded Virus's, and installed them without Removing. Then used TI to Restore my HD. Once Restored, I ran a Virus Scan 2x with most updated "DAT" files. Didn't find any traces of the Virus's on the HD.
    2. Installed programs, and didn't Uninstall them. Ran a Restore, and TI showed No traces of the installed Program or "Orphaned" folders/files on the HD, or in the Registry. Not a trace at all.
    3. Deleted OS system files, and Uninstalled programs, ...and TI Restored my HD. Every single file, folder, program, personal settings, and etc. ...was Restored with perfection.
    4. Each time this was done, I would check the properties of the C:/ drive to make sure the Restored Image was the same as the HD before I used an Image file. Also, ran "Chkdsk" and read the Log file to make sure there were No "software" bad sectors.
    5. Looked for any "Lagging" of sluggish performance of the Restored Image file vs. the Orignal HD. Could NOT tell a difference in performance at all between a Restored Image, and the Original HD.
    6. Restored an Image to a "Bare Metal" HD. I wrote "Zeroes" to the HD before doing so to emulate manufaturer settings out of the box. TI performed beautifully. (using this HD now)
    7. "Cloned" my Primary HD to a "Bare Metal" HD, after writing "Zeroes" to the HD first. No problems at all.
    8. Ran all these Tests on 5 different HD's. (2 WD Raptors, 1 WD 160gb, 1WD 80gb, and 1 Maxtor 80gb)


    After about 2 months of some serious Testing, I found that TI got me out of bad situations I didn't want to be in. It Restored the Test HD's to perfection each time!
    It now is on my Primary HD (WD Raptor). I have 110% confidence in using Acronis to Restore any WD or Maxtor HD within my home.
     
  16. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Hi bVolk,

    No, it is like Omen said, doing things from the rescue CD gives confidence that the TI Linux environment can see and read your backups. The actual validating the checksum should work in either but as you know the Linux drivers aren't the Windows drivers so why not ensure everything works as intended. I recommend using the rescue CD for new users to make sure they have tried it because that is the environment they will be in if they have to recover from a HD disaster.
     
  17. martinlest

    martinlest Registered Member

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    I'll test out my rescue CD. I also use BartPE CD, which gives a Windows like interface, from which you can manipulate your files and folders, when you can't boot into Windows itself. Very useful.
     
  18. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Since you have and use a BartPE CD, testing the rescue CD isn't as important as long as you've fully tested the BartPE environment for validating and restoring. The main thing is you have a bootable environment that will do a bare-metal restore if need be. Nice to know that both work though! :)
     
  19. martinlest

    martinlest Registered Member

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    If the worst came to the worst though, could I not just wipe my C partition, reinstall XP afresh, and then reinstall my old C:\ setup from the Acronis image, which I have backed up, twice, elsewhere? That's how I'd always imagined doing things if XP really gave up the ghost..
     
  20. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    There is no point in reinstalling XP afresh because this will be over written when you recover your old C:\ set up from the Acronis image.
     
  21. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    bVolk,

    Great suggestion! I've been in the habit of saving old configurations of Windows when installing a fresh one, just in case I need to compare drivers or settings. This goes several steps further, and protects everything. Mounting images without having to first, or ever, restore them, is great.

    Some have suggested that even a certain % of images identified as corrupt by TI will still mount, thereby allowing access to the files. Seems like a great solution to how to partially recover data contained in a corrupt image...if this feature could be expanded to include most corrupt images (of course, there would be limits to this capability).

    Does anyone have experience mounting corrupt images? Sounds kinky, but, I didn't come up with those names ;)

    Or, since starsfan09 has posted his excellent description of the thorough testing he put TI thru, does he know whether a virus could migrate from the mounted image to the newly restored one? I can see that copying infected files would certainly spread the virus, but, then, is there a way to scan a mounted drive for viruses? Since mounting a drive can be done in read only, or read and write, creating an incremental b/u to modify the original, would a quarantined file be removed from the incremental?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2006
  22. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

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    If you have functional TI boot mode options available on your system, this wouldn't be neccessary. But, if anyone is unable to restore an image from boot mode, and their system drive is down, this is a viable option. Reinstall Windows, install TI (good idea to burn TI installer to a CD), then restore their C: drive from TI in Windows mode, thus restoring the registry and settings needed to run all their other programs.

    Sure beats reinstalling and configuring everything manually.
     
  23. martinlest

    martinlest Registered Member

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    Xpilot - the point of reinstalling XP first would be to get a working o/s back, from which you can then run Acronis. Admittedly, if you can reinstall the image from the rescue disc, then there'd be no need to do that, I agree.

    M. :)
     
  24. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    An interesting question Christopher NC,

    I just verified. Mounted an image and scanned a folder on the virtual drive with AntiVir. It works.

    I can't tell if sending an infected file from virtual drive to quarantine would work too, but you can always make the AV program delete it and the deletion should be recorded in the Mount-produced incremental. Though it seems questionable to me whether there is any point in doing this instead of scanning the whole drive after restore, except for preventing a fast spread before the AV scan reached the infected file.
     
  25. kendor

    kendor Registered Member

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    Hi Martin

    Acronis works so well that if I have almost any problem I just use it to restore my system rather than waste time looking for the cause of the problem.

    I've also used the Acronis boot disk to recover from serious problems without any hassles.

    I have Windows XP Pro, Pentium dual core, 32 bit, three internal Samsung SATA 2 hard drives and I've set Acronis to do an automatic daily incremental backup to an oldish external USB 2 IBM hard drive. I also do a monthly backup to a removable Hitachi SATA 2 drive for off-site storage and I copy the data backups fairly frequently onto DVD and the system at least once every three months and in particular after any major system change. I use the image backup for the system hard drive and the files and folders backup for the data hard drives.

    Restoring my system or my data or any file or folder from my data from any of these backups is hassle-free.

    Windows Restore is not an option for me as it clashes with other software I have, notably Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition.

    Ken
     
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