Acronis True Image V10.0 backup program
First of all, a bit of history.
I purchased v9 on Friday 13th of October, at a 13% discount.
In MG thread 105152 I was made aware that v10 had just been released and to contact Acronis for a free update to v10, as I had only just purchased v9.
The Australian agents, www.manac.com.au (URL is a play on words for Manaccom) obliged and I ultimately got the v10 (101megs) downloaded via broadband and installed it.
Today, for the first time, I tried Acronis True Image v10.
A roughly chronological list of events is as follows.
1. I wanted to do a full backup as my previous attempt (v9), at a differential backup, proved to be a waste of CD media and time (more on this later).
2. I went through the menu steps for a Full backup and, when asked, inserted a blank DVD. My DVD drive stopped and started numerous times (turned out to be a bad disk, more on that later) with no indication as to why.
I thought this may have been normal as I have had little experience with Acronis.
3. Eventually the operation started and continued on until around 8% when an error message came up about the bad DVD disk. Fair enough, sh*t happens occasionally and you can get a bad DVD disk. It was a different brand to what I normally use.
4. Inserting a new DVD disk, of the same brand as the bad one (that was all I had), I restarted the operation of a full backup.
5. Although I have a 52gig c:\ partition, only 6.95 gigs is used.
I was using a DVD +R DL with a capacity of approx 8.5 gigs, to make sure it all fitted onto 1 x DVD disk.
6. In that 6.95 gigs is around 2 gigs allocated to System restore and pagefile.sys, so there is not a great deal of data to be backed up.
7. I would have liked the option to ignore backing up pagefile.sys in the full backup so as to save lots of allocated, but unused hard drive space.
Same reasoning applies to unused system restore allocated space.
However a Full backup is a Full backup, so continued on.
8. No indication of the amount of data Acronis finds to be backed up. Remember I only have less than 7 gigs, out of 52 gigs on my C: drive.
This would have been especially useful when I attempted a differential backup, earlier than this full backup. After 3 x CD's later, and onto the 4th CD, I bombed it out as it was taking more time than a full backup and would probably have taken more time and cost me more than 1 x DVD.
I had done a full backup previously, less than a week earlier, so I thought the differential backup would be small and quick. My mistake, can't blame Acronis for this, but an indicator as to number of media required (and approx time needed) would have saved me aggravation.
Even if they warned me that it would need time to read through my hard drive to estimate differential data and time required, would have helped. I would have willingly waited the time to see the result of their search. Even if only for future comparisons.
9. I had noticed on a previous full backup (in v9) that there did not appear to be any validation of backup data. I would have thought this would be automatic, or at least a question asked. (more on this later)
10. Backup in progress, finally. Operation in progress, hidden bottom right, showed up to 3% before a green bar appeared. Much better idea is to show one green bar when operation in progress changes from 0% to 1%.
It would at least solve my paranoia of apparently nothing happening (still that's me, you may not be worried).
11. An initial progress time of 1 hr 47 minutes indicated. Fair enough, this is only a rough estimate.
12. No Elapsed time indicator, no record of the amount of data (of the files) read, or the number of files read. No transfer rate so I could calculate estimated time against actual time taken (more on this later).
Once again, this help proves that the program is indeed working, and helps put one's mind at rest. Me again.
13. I had tried to set the options manually (in my full backup) hoping I could get the program not to bother backing up pagefile.sys. No options presented, that I could see. What does setting the options manually actually do?
14. Now I realise that most backup programs compress your data to provide a smaller quicker backup. I wondered if my 6.95 gigs might fit on a 4.7gig DVD disk, saving me money. A couple of dollars versus around AUD$6.
No indicator on approx amount of space that might be needed ( more on that later).
15. Backup actually took 26 minutes, compared to initial estimation of 1hr 47 minutes.
16. I tried to access Help while the backup was in progress but no go.
17. I finally spotted the validation facility on the menu.
OK, I thought, I'll validate my backup.
Started the validation and it came up with a required time of 1hr 40 minutes approximately, to validate a backup that took 26 minutes.
You've gotta be joking I thought.
Maybe the validation time is as far out as the estimated backup time.
18. The validation actually took 1hr 10 minutes, to validate a 26 minute backup.
C'mon guys this is ridiculous.
I could have done 3 full backups and took the risk that there may be dodgy data
on 1, 2 or 3 Full backups in about the same time time as it took to validate one backup.
I'm not a programmer, but one idea might be to calculate an individual, and /or cumulative, checksum as each file is backed up and then compare the final check sum of all files backed up, to a check sum calculated from my 6.95 gigs initially.
The odds that a checksum would agree, but with compensating file read errors is pretty remote. The program could at least say that the total checksum agrees, but if you want an exact validation it will take .... hours.
Remember this is for a small amount of data.
God help you folks with 100 gigs or more data to be backed up.
I bet data validation on 100 gigs is not done too often.
19. My backup came out at 4,736,892 Kb and might have fit on a single 4.7gig DVD after all. Certainly it would have If I had deleted / reduced my pagefile.sys, and reduced system restore allocated hard drive space, before I started.
20. No way to save my log, or print it out, that I could see. I did a printscreen to save the log so that I could have a record.
21. No search facility in the Help file that I could see, so I could ask it how to save / print, my log.
22. Once again, I am a new chum to Acronis so RTFM might have helped.
23. Lessons learnt.
Reduce the pagefile.sys and restore point space to a minimum before starting.
Probably delete all previous Restore points, set restore points up again with a much smaller hard drive space allocated
and create a new Restore point before starting the full backup.
Don't worry about differential backups as even after a short time interval, after a full backup, it takes as long as a full backup.
Altogether, if this is supposed to be one of the best backup programs available, and it ain't free, then I am not very impressed overall.
I believe Acronis is for backing up /restoring Full backups to new drives, rather than being a normal type backup program.
24. Does Acronis backup the full space allocated to System Restore and pagefile.sys
even though there is probably a lot of allocated, but unused, space?
25. I will post this thread link to Acronis when I email them with my opinions above.
Learned MG members may set me straight on some of the above, before I email Acronis.
Sorry it is so long, but it might help future Acronis users. Bazza