Freeware's cool, but some programs are worth paying for. Antivirus, graphics, and accounting tools justify their cost if they outperform their free competitors, but for our money, nothing beats top-quality backup software. And for our system, nothing provides the level of security, total restoration capability, and confidence like Acronis True Image Home Edition. Acronis automatically creates full, incremental, and custom backups; remote backups; and even optional Internet-based backups with file synchronization features. It also includes a variety of tools for cleaning disks and shredding files, creating bootable media and secure partitions, backing up settings, adding and cloning disks, sandboxing unsafe operations, and other useful tasks. And, while Acronis True Image Home Edition creates thorough, top-quality backups, it does the job with amazing speed, even when working in the background.
Acronis True Image's user interface has an Office-style ribbon toolbar with tabs labeled Get started, Backup and Recovery, Synchronization, and Tools and Utilities. Acronis can create several types of backups using different levels of compression, different priority for system resources, and even different destinations, such as removable drives. Incremental backups create one main backup and only update it with changes to your system. Based on hard-earned experience, we always create new full backups that we store on a dedicated hard drive, plus a full copy on a removable drive. It's not overkill: Many times we've used Acronis backups to restore entire systems after unrecoverable disasters, even to completely new drives on third systems with Acronis installed. The Home Edition will also restore systems backed up with various free versions of Acronis, such as True Image WD. Help and support are plentiful.
Let's be clear: A proper external hard drive for storing your backups is far more important than which backup solution you choose, as long as you make use of it. We've compared Acronis to premium competitors like Ghost as well as excellent free tools such as Easus and, yes, Windows Backup, which you've already got (and use, we hope). Each does a good job and is much better than nothing. But experience is the best teacher. Based on our real-world experience, we trust Acronis True Image Home Edition.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Acronis True Image Home 2012. The trial version is limited to 30 days.