Acronis has gone to pot. What's the best backup software now?

Ladyhawk

Limp Gawd
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Jun 5, 2005
Messages
244
My old version of Acronis True Image 2009 used to make one full backup and then dozens of incremental backups on my two internal backup drives. My recent hard drive crash necessitated that I "upgrade" to Acronis True Image 2016 because the Acronis 2009 boot disc didn't recognize my hard drives.

It turns out that after you defragment your hard drive (mine defrags automatically; can't remember how often), Acronis True Image Home 2016 has to make a new full backup of your hard drive. This only allowed me 8 incremental backups after the initial full backup. There is only room for one full backup on my backup hard drives. This served me well with the 2009 version, which didn't have this brand new "feature" as the tech called it.

Other things I hate about Acronis True Image Home 2016:

1. It won't let me swap out my C drive with another hard drive and continue with backups because it tags every hard drive as a separate entity. With Acronis 2009, I would occasionally restore to a new hard drive and pop it in just to make sure the images were not corrupted. I can no longer do this with Acronis 2016 because it sees the new hard drive as a new hard drive and not as drive C. If you use a new C drive, you have to erase the backup drives and start over.

2. It performed the validation tasks at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. instead of 2:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. as specified.

Can someone recommend good backup software that will do lots of incremental backups after the initial full backup and doesn't choke after a simple defrag? It needs to come with a boot disc that will see all the storage devices on my system.

I would go back to Acronis 2009, but it won't read the images made by the 2016 version. I'd also have to use 2016 boot discs because, as I said, the 2009 boot discs stopped recognizing my hard drives somewhere along the way.

Here are two suggestions from the tech at Acronis:

1. Buy a bigger hard drive. (The current one(s) worked fine with Acronis 2009.)

2. When I complained that Acronis 2009 couldn't read the images created by Acronis 2016, he said, "Acronis 2016 can read Acronis 2016 backup files." (No shit, Sherlock.)

I'm looking for functionality and reliability. Probably I will have to go back to Acronis 2009 and use the 2016 boot discs until I can find a better solution. I really liked Acronis 2009. Why is it that newer usually ends up being worse when it comes to software? It happens all the time.
 
D

Deleted member 126051

Guest
Okay, the tool you were using has changed and no longer operates how you expected it to when you got it 5-6 years ago.

There's also no guarantee that any other current system imaging/backup software is going to do what you want it to either.

And the argument "It worked fine with the old one", while a legitimate bitch, isn't a legitimate argument. Again, it has been 5-6 years, the tool has changed because the underlying technology it's supposed to address has changed as well.

If you wish to continue holding large multiples of diffs, with the way the new tool works, you're probably going to have to go to a larger drive.
 

Ladyhawk

Limp Gawd
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Jun 5, 2005
Messages
244
Chas said:
Okay, the tool you were using has changed and no longer operates how you expected it to when you got it 5-6 years ago.

There's also no guarantee that any other current system imaging/backup software is going to do what you want it to either.

And the argument "It worked fine with the old one", while a legitimate bitch, isn't a legitimate argument. Again, it has been 5-6 years, the tool has changed because the underlying technology it's supposed to address has changed as well.

If you wish to continue holding large multiples of diffs, with the way the new tool works, you're probably going to have to go to a larger drive.



Could you please explain to me why it is now necessary to create a full image after a defrag when it wasn't necessary 5-6 years ago? Seriously. If it is necessary, I want to understand why.
 

xorbe

Supreme [H]ardness
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I have the same problem with Linux. I can no longer clone a drive and boot it successfully. It takes a dump because the expected drive ID has changed. Nobody cares that it's a hard drive on the same sata port any longer it seems.
 
D

Deleted member 126051

Guest
Could you please explain to me why it is now necessary to create a full image after a defrag when it wasn't necessary 5-6 years ago? Seriously. If it is necessary, I want to understand why.

It's possible that the backup is checksumming the drive to avoid corrupted backups. I've had this problem with Ghost, Acronis and Macrium from time to time.

If you defrag, the drive's checksum will change, especially if one of the values used to calculate the checksum is contiguous free space.
 

Sp33dFr33k

2[H]4U
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Messages
2,481
Haven't used Acronis in years for backup but it could be doing block level backups which would definitely be thrown off by a defrag.

For Windows 7, I use the built in backup utility along with cloud based backup. For Windows 8 I just use File History and the Windows 7 image feature.
 

FnordMan

[H]ard|Gawd
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Apr 22, 2011
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Macrium reflect? Have the paid version on the desktop and the free version on the tablet. Can't say anything about defragging as I don't defrag anymore (100% SSD on the desktop) but it does file level images. Zero issues with a restore after a failed win 10 install. (failed due to my own derp, not due to anything win did)
Acronis lost me a few years ago with the yearly unnecessary upgrades. Haven't touched them since.
 

Vyedmic

Limp Gawd
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Jul 20, 2007
Messages
222
I have the same problem with Linux. I can no longer clone a drive and boot it successfully. It takes a dump because the expected drive ID has changed. Nobody cares that it's a hard drive on the same sata port any longer it seems.

Switch to UUID. That should be port/controller/kernel/bios agnostic.
 
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bigdogchris

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My guess it has something to do with VSS integration. The disk is snapshotted and digest computed. When files change location on the disk (from defragging) the next snapshot will make it appear that many more files have changed than what really has because they are in difference spots on the disk. It's just a guess though. Backing up blocks of data rather than specific files.
 
D

Deleted member 126051

Guest
My guess it has something to do with VSS integration. The disk is snapshotted and digest computed. When files change location on the disk (from defragging) the next snapshot will make it appear that many more files have changed than what really has because they are in difference spots on the disk. It's just a guess though. Backing up blocks of data rather than specific files.

Yeah, VSS integration has been responsible for a lot of legacy app lost data in the past decade or so. At least for my customers.

I understand the security ramifications about not putting data in a program files folder.
But to make the change, wholesale, not really tell anyone what was going on, and then have the virtual store wipe once it exceeds a certain size?

Idiocy
 

JJ Johnson

Gawd
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Seems like the simple fix for the first problem is to schedule Windows disk defragmentation to only run only when you want to do full drive backups. Looks like it could be schedule daily, weekly or monthly.
 

Anemone

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First the new full backup is a safer approach. Counting on an incremental to be accurate after serious defrag is somewhat brave.
Second, you could get more disk space - cheap. That would resolve your issues and TB are not much money these days.

I've used 2015 TI and recovered a few dozen times now with perfect results. My difference to you is that I don't defrag because all mains are SSD's. So I'm not a perfect comparison to your experience. But if you were to expand your backup space you'd likely be a happier camper :)
 
D

Deleted member 245375

Guest
I've never trusted making "live images" even with True Image which has been my go-to imaging app for many years now. I've never done live imaging except in testing and it was ok I suppose, but I just never got into it. Having said that, I still use True Image (I think my version is from 2010 or so when they had a free registration offer once). I've never seen any reason to update it because I don't use the actual Windows software - I only image my machine from the bootable media burned to a CD-R when I got it. My particular workflow when doing an image is:

- get rid of temp files/etc using CCleaner which is good enough for the task
- move excessively large files and my entire Downloads folder content to a secondary partition (sometimes an external physical drive depending on the situation)
- defrag the system partition using Auslogics Disk Defrag Professional (yet another freebie one time when I was paying attention)
- reboot off the Acronis True Image CD I have
- image the small boot partition (System Reserved) and the system partition (C) and do a verify when the image is done, always (I have a second Storage partition on my primary drive but I don't include that in the image)
- reboot back into the OS

That's about it, a process that's fairly simple and also probably used by many other folk as well. I do an image maybe once a week and it takes like 10 mins, not something I worry about. My system partition is only 80GB in size and since I move most of the important content off to a secondary location I end up with a typical usage of about 25-40GB which gets crunched down in the image.

I've never had an issue with this strategy, and after using it since oh, 2008-ish, I've done a few hundred images and I've never lost a single byte of data, never had any corruption, never lost an image or never been able to restore one.

Maybe I'm lucky, who knows, but True Image still works for me and I still to this day see zero reason to get a new version. I have Seagate hard drives so I could even get the somewhat stripped down version of True Image that Seagate provides for free (DiscWizard) and make a new bootable disc with the latest and greatest version but it's just not of any interest to me. The old version is flawless in operation in my experience so, if it ain't broke I sure as hell ain't gonna break it. :)

Macrium Reflect has a free version that gets pretty rave reviews and discussion (over 2700 posts in that thread) over at the Wilders Security Forums - they have a subforum that's about nothing but imaging and system restore type tools and those are some [H]ardcore people with that stuff, might consider dropping in over there and asking for advice as well I suppose.
 

Nenu

[H]ardened
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Apr 28, 2007
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I use True Image HD that came out just before windows 8 so isnt compatible with anything past Windows 7.
My main Windows folder is about 65GB which gets backed up once a month...
Or before anything is installed that might cause a problem (new system drivers, making radical system changes etc.)
They only take about 20GB each so I keep a history of backups to trace when a problem occured and get an unpolluted system back.
I also keep an original installation backup with my basic setup for if things go really tits up, saves a good 1/2 day of configuring bo**ocks.

I do a separate backup of my firewall/hips settings because these get corrupted on occasion after a restore.
This has saved my ass on more occasions when I have had a crash through attempted overclocks corrupting the database or if I accidentally change the HIPS setting to one which starts a new database.
Its a royal pita trying to reconfigure a HIPS that can stop your system functioning when it has no database.

My other drives get backed up with file to file backups on USB or spare drives.
This way they can be accessed directly if needed.


I tried using windows image tools and they insist on backing up every drive that something is installed to and cannot be prevented
So my games install drives all get backed up making for a HUGE backup when I only want to backup my main OS.
Games can easily be re-installed so dont need backing up.


True Image has been almost flawless for me apart from future OS support which needs a newer version.
A few versions back, it made a couple of images I couldnt get access to but that seems to have been solved.
The restore disk lets me restore my system quickly and simply.
 
M

mls1995

Guest
I gave up on acronis years ago. I've tried several over the past year or two and I prefer macrium reflect and aomei
 

ShepsCrook

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
9,380
I'm still using True Image. Doesn't seem to work like it did, but most of the time it works. Norton Ghost is still basic. Maybe that works well. I hear a lot of people rave about CloneZilla, however I've found it to be heavily cumbersome with it's options and interface.
 

Nenu

[H]ardened
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Op, I forgot to say, stop doing incremental backups.
The chance of something going wrong is high as you found out, you have dependency on too many things going right.
 

Megalith

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Can someone explain why I would need anything other than the system image creator built into Windows?
 
D

Deleted member 245375

Guest
Can someone explain why I would need anything other than the system image creator built into Windows?

Sometimes you'd want to image and restore from outside the actual currently running OS - the process would go faster using that method (since there's no running OS overhead to slow things down to some degrees) and by doing so you absolutely guarantee that the files on the drive/partition are in a purely static state meaning no open or in-use files - I know the idea of live imaging takes that into account but I still just don't fully trust it. I did use the True Image ability years ago to do a few "online" images aka live images and never had issues with it but I just personally prefer to image a drive/partition when there's no OS running which means I use a bootable CD created with True Image (the Windows app which I never use) and do things in that manner.

That's my particular workflow noted above so, that's how I do things and what I feel works best for me personally. If you use the Windows built-in tool and you've never had issues with it as well as being satisfied with what it's done for you in the past, I see no reason to think you'd start using something else.

I never used the built-in capability, not once, and since True Image has never failed for me in the near decade I've been using it, I see no reason to alter my workflow at this point.
 

No Thanks

n00b
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
4
Hello all,
I have had many problems with Acronis registered versions including the 2012 and 2016 versions. Currently I have one bricked Asus g73, a bricked Seagate 4TB stand alone drive, and a bricked WD backup drive from a few years ago.

All that not withstanding I may offer some insight to the problems of making multiple HDs with the same images -- but which otherwise do not work because Acronis marks or identifies each bit of hardware as unique:

This very well may part of modern security requirements, as in Homeland Security/Counter Terror stuff. I do not claim ANY tech credentials, because if anything, I am just an end user. But I can assure you from a LE administrative view point, there has been enormous international pressure for tech companies to conform to certain standards. Also beware the remote assistance tech support options.

I don't need to be flamed, and I do not want to debate. This is just a suggestion. Again I do not claim specific tech credentials, nor do I ever want to be in a position to learn all the skills you people have to your credit-- that would be learning a new profession. I count on all of you to be that, and you seem to be quite good.

Do not underestimate the willingness of enterprise companies to comply with anything that is foisted upon them. The flip side is that even if they don't want to play, the pressure national and international LE brings to bear can be overwhelming. This may not be bad thing.

My solution to Acronis "no help" desk support was to spend hard money to go to a legitimate forensic recovery service -- the kind LE uses. It was the only option to see any of my data recovered (expensive!).
 

No Thanks

n00b
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
4
I feel bad for you Ladyhawk. I just went through something similar: I was foolish enough to willingly pay for an upgrade to Acronis 2016-- and let Acronis tech support install it. After hours (60+) I demonstrated to Acronis support that several of their tools are missing components, or otherwise do not work. Also beware the "freeware" tools they use to make USB boot rescues and the like -- there are better ones available for free, and .... well just watch out for their stuff.

My time is short as I have a crappy medical problem: I will likely never see my photos or personal stuff again, even though I made and "verified" disk backups per Acronis recommended processes. I used a professional forensic recovery service for my elderly parent's computer after an Acronis failure a few years back, but I have neither the time nor energy to do that now. Good Luck.
 

devman

2[H]4U
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Dec 3, 2005
Messages
2,400
Maybe its worth reconsidering your entire back up strategy and use file level backup tools instead.

File level backup tools are nice as they don't lock you in to a proprietary backup system to recover your files. The back ups are still readable via standard tools (they are just files after all).

You could run a NAS for network file mounts and back that up easily with file level back up tools (such as rsync).

You could use file level backup tools directly on Windows such as Unison to back up to direct attached storage.


Personally I never trusted imaging for backing up data I actually cared about, I use it for non-data system images only. Images to get the system back online, rsync to restore data.
 

50Cal

Limp Gawd
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Aug 15, 2011
Messages
218
Back at one my older jobs one of my responsibilities was imaging machines i cant even recall the number of different types of software ive used to only be disappointed with how riddled with bugs or how unreliable they were. I've used Ghost, acronis, easeus, etc

The one i ended sticking with was ShadowProtect.

Acronis has gone to shit with their practices. I think it has something to do with the fact their software gets pirated like a mofo and are resorting to aggressive "Pay-to-Make-It-Work-Again" tactics.
 

No Thanks

n00b
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
4
Back at one my older jobs one of my responsibilities was imaging machines i cant even recall the number of different types of software ive used to only be disappointed with how riddled with bugs or how unreliable they were. I've used Ghost, acronis, easeus, etc

The one i ended sticking with was ShadowProtect.

Acronis has gone to shit with their practices. I think it has something to do with the fact their software gets pirated like a mofo and are resorting to aggressive "Pay-to-Make-It-Work-Again" tactics.


50Cal,
I think you are on the mark with your comment about Acronis resorting to aggressive "Pay-to-Make-It--Work-Again tactics. I contacted my credit card company about having the Acronis charges removed. The first call started the process rolling, but the second is where it got interesting.

This credit card service rep just happened to be relatively tech savvy, and we talked for 15 minutes about various computer systems, software packages, and some newer stuff like Intel's computer on a stick. Quite refreshing to speak to a CC representative who was knowledgeable about something besides my bill. This rep referred the charges to their fraud department.

Get this: the next day, the card company's fraud department called me! They said they had other customers with the same problem, and that they believed this was a rip off scam. The fraud department also informed me of attempted charges for service (which were declined by my CC company). Apparently, there was a subtle pattern of small dollar amount charges over time. Once I indicated I was desperate (in a chat window), Acronis support said they would call me. They never did, but later I found out they are happy to call "customers", but only after arranging pre-payment just for the call, and service charges once you start talking. The only upside to all this is that at least my credit Card company recognizes it as a scam.
 

Nenu

[H]ardened
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
19,958
Wow.
Glad I'm using a version that came with an SSD, no transaction occurred.
Although I'll take it with a pinch of salt for now as you have only made 3 posts here and they are all slagging off Acronis :p
 

50Cal

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Messages
218
50Cal,
I think you are on the mark with your comment about Acronis resorting to aggressive "Pay-to-Make-It--Work-Again tactics. I contacted my credit card company about having the Acronis charges removed. The first call started the process rolling, but the second is where it got interesting.

This credit card service rep just happened to be relatively tech savvy, and we talked for 15 minutes about various computer systems, software packages, and some newer stuff like Intel's computer on a stick. Quite refreshing to speak to a CC representative who was knowledgeable about something besides my bill. This rep referred the charges to their fraud department.

Get this: the next day, the card company's fraud department called me! They said they had other customers with the same problem, and that they believed this was a rip off scam. The fraud department also informed me of attempted charges for service (which were declined by my CC company). Apparently, there was a subtle pattern of small dollar amount charges over time. Once I indicated I was desperate (in a chat window), Acronis support said they would call me. They never did, but later I found out they are happy to call "customers", but only after arranging pre-payment just for the call, and service charges once you start talking. The only upside to all this is that at least my credit Card company recognizes it as a scam.


Holy shit! Wow! I think i need to let some of the guys know this at my old state job then. There are a lot of other agencies that use acronis. It's be nice to find out they are doing the same thing to them so they can justify blacklisting the company on their approved vendor list. SMH fuck Acronis
 
Joined
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Messages
834
When I bother, I usually use the dd with appropriate if and of options from a Linux Live CD for backup and restore of disk images to other disks. It doesn't work with incremental backups, but it's free and I've found it reasonably reliable. I do this more often with bootable SD cards and USB sticks, but I have done it with hard drives as well.

The rest of the time, I just copy my entire User folder (the one containing Documents, Downloads, and Pictures) to a USB stick about once a month (and I also have compressed image backups of the USB stick itself, with the latest image often duplicated on Skydrive or something similar). That way, even if the worst happens, I only have to reinstall my OS and applications, but I still have all my data and most of my configuration files saved. I'm so experienced with Windows installations that slipstreaming a custom install with all the latest updates is nothing to me and takes very little time. I always have a copy of the latest version of Windows ready to deploy on any PC (new or old) at a moment's notice, and my serial numbers for each device at hand just in case. If it's an an old device that needs a new install, I use the old key, and if it's a new one, I use the same image, but just input a new license key. It's how I've done things for ages, and it still works for me. I have 4 or 5 computers running Windows 10 Pro, and very few mechanical hard drives. I don't like to waste disk space on backups. The way I see it, Windows is Windows, and I don't need multiple backups of what's essentially the same software. Same goes for Office. Other than Windows and Office, everything else I use is just a free download away... Chrome basically restores itself completely from a new installation as soon as I log in with my Google account.

I mean, if you're in some kind of corporate scenario where reliable, fast backups are a necessity, maybe you actually need a full backup image every day... but otherwise, if you were relying on incremental backups for personal use anyway, then that's not necessarily any better than having a file-level backup of just your User folder. I like my method because it means I'm not dependent on any third-party company's software being updated, and find myself wasting little or no disk space on full backups. That's an awful lot of disk space to waste just for the off chance you might have to spend a little time reinstalling Windows. Generally, Windows installations and registries get cluttered and glitchy over time anyway with all the binary patching... I like fresh installs better, personally. Possibly just because I've been using Windows since the 9x era when it was practically necessary.

So basically, I would question whether you really need a sophisticated backup solution at all. Sometimes, for many users, the best backup software is no backup software at all. All you usually need is a few secondary copies of personal files and documents you don't want to lose. Much easier than worrying about saving your whole drive, and much less failure prone. Now, if you run an FTP server or something, that's a little different of course.

Think about it. You've probably spent more time agonizing over a backup solution and fussing with Acronis than the backup and restore process would have actually saved you. The cure is arguably worse than what you're avoiding in the first place.
 
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ochadd

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
1,075
I use Easus Backup Workstation. Perform both system and file backup jobs that have never failed me.
 

viper_0307

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 8, 2016
Messages
249
My cup of tea is Tableau forensic bridge and Encase Forensic.

I never use incremental. Always did a full with Acronis TrueImage. 2016 had an update recently.
 

rezerekted

2[H]4U
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Apr 6, 2015
Messages
3,043
I just used this yesterday to clone an HDD to an SSD. Easy to use and worked great, would recommend.

You should download their free HDD partition tool too. It has an option for migrating an OS from a HDD to an SSD, which is what I used and it worked perfectly.
 

PCMusicGuy

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 9, 2006
Messages
1,212
I use ActiveBootDisk. I'm not sure if it does everything you need but I've found it very full featured.
 

/dev/null

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
15,190
I have the same problem with Linux. I can no longer clone a drive and boot it successfully. It takes a dump because the expected drive ID has changed. Nobody cares that it's a hard drive on the same sata port any longer it seems.
If you post more details I may be able to help.

There are many, many ways to specify boot volumes, including device name, uuid, lvm volume name, etc etc.
 

JCrimson

Weaksauce
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Oct 2, 2013
Messages
107
We used to use Acronis a ton where I work. Now we are fully virtual so no need. TLDR: VMWARE FTW
 
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