Acronis TrueImage 6.0

The third option is to explore an image file, which allows you to browse the contents of a file and restore one or more files instead of the entire partition. TI6 lets you mount the image file as a logical drive in read-only mode (you cannot update a file in the image without recreating the image) and assigns it a drive letter, allowing you to navigate it in Windows Explorer without the need for separate image file browsing software and copy files from it to your hard drive. The way TI6 does this is by installing a device driver in the device manager that Windows uses to connect to the drive.

 

Drive H: in the example below is the logical drive for the image file that was taken of the Windows 98 partition on C: as you can see by the identical size.

 

Simply right-click and unplug the drive when you’re done browsing and it disappears from Windows Explorer.

What’s the catch?

There are a few drawbacks to the program that need to be mentioned as well.

First of all, I find it a bit unsettling that there is no option to verify the integrity of the image file. You create the image and hope for the best, but you won’t know whether the image is bad until you try to restore it. However, it is possible to mount the finished image as a drive to verify that it works, and the software does verify the partition before the imaging process.

Also disappointing is that there are no scheduling options. As the software is so well suited for everyday backups, it should offer a way to schedule nightly images for complete hands-off backups.

Another nice touch would have been to include the capability to clone a drive directly to another drive, e.g. when replacing hard drives. TI6 requires you to make an image first.

While the software includes the ability to resize and move partitions, it does not offer the option to create a new partition when creating a new image file.

It is also obvious that this software is aimed at the beginner to intermediate home or small office user. The software does not offer advanced enterprise-style functionality such as network management, SID changing, etc. which can be found in Norton Ghost Enterprise Edition or PowerQuest DeployCenter.

Lastly, the only form of support currently available in the US is via e-mail. Acronis guarantees a 48 hour turnaround for registered users, but there is no other more direct contact form such as a message board or phone support. In Europe, phone support is offered on a pay-per-minute basis.

Other Observations

My PC runs 24/7 and always has dozens of applications open. Therefore it is always a hassle to boot into DOS to do a drive image, resulting in less frequent images than necessary. Having the option to run images while in Windows is awesome and will certainly cause me to make images much more often.

Norton Ghost and Drive Image have irritated me in the past with the ornery process of creating a proper boot disk. Trying to configure it with the proper SCSI and network adapter drivers can eat up hours and lead to frustration. Having the bootable TI6 CD that comes with everything makes it so much more pleasant.

I have also run into problems in the past with Norton Ghost and Drive Image where one would not read the contents of a hard drive, would lock up when selecting the SCSI CD burner, restored images acted funky, etc. I never reached a satisfying comfort level with either program. TI6 however has been working like a charm. For this review I spent several days creating and restoring countless images on and between 4 different PCs using multiple OSs and file systems. The program worked perfectly – no lockups, no drive read problems, no corrupt images – just complete drive image bliss.

Conclusion

This program has really impressed me. It’s been a while since a computer-related product has gotten me this excited. Great features, ease of use, and flawless performance make this quality program an awesome absolute must-have utility. On top of that it is cheaper than Ghost or Drive Image. What else can you ask for? Being a new contender in the US market you’d think it will be hard to compete with the established leaders Symantec and PowerQuest in this category, but TI6 is guaranteed to give them a serious run for their money. I seriously think that a few releases later TI6 will kick Ghost and Drive Image’s ass up and down the aisles at Fry’s. It is very refreshing to see a great new program like TI6 appear. I strongly recommend Acronis TrueImage 6.0 to our readers, especially beginning users that are new to drive imaging software. I give Acronis TrueImage 6.0 the PC911 kick-ass product of the year award for being such an outstanding piece of software.

 

Submitted by: Alex “crayzgerman” Byron

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