True Image 2020
True Image 2020 is the latest version of the highly regarded backup software from industry leader Acronis! I, myself, have have been using Acronis backup tools for well over 10 years now and its great to see how this product has grown in reliability and new features over that time to form one of the market leading backup solutions we see today!
True Image 2020 is available in 3 versions, Standard, which is a stand-alone product with both the Advanced and Premium versions been subscription based and containing free cloud storage as a part of the deal. This cloud subscription allows for off-site backups to be taken as well as enabling some of the other cloud based features such as the synchronisation and file archiving.
The Advanced and Premium versions also differ from the Standard in that they are yearly subscriptions instead of a one-time fee, they do, however, allow the for free upgrades to the latest version of True Image for the lifetime of the subscription!
- (New) system tray notification centre
- (New) Custom power management modes
- A solid backup application from a market leading provider
- Supports both file and full system image backups
- Support for restoring to VHDs (virtual hard drives)
- Impressive encryption and compression support
- Backup scheduling and event based backups supported
- Real-time backup support
- Supports multiple backup sets
- Full, incremental and differential modes supported
- Potentially unlimited backup versioning
- Universal restore (restore to dissimilar hardware)
- Built-in cloud storage (Advanced only)
- Dual protection, both local and cloud storage (Advanced only)
- Anywhere access via web restores (Advanced only)
- Office365 backups (Advanced only)
- Data centre location choice (Advanced only)
- Blockchain verification (Premium only)
Installing Acronis True Image 2020 for the first time is quick and simple and requiring only a few clicks before the application is ready to use. It is, however, a fairly sizeable download at just over 600MB which must be downloaded before going any further.
Once installed we are greeted by the licencing screen and then a further screen highlighting the main features of the application, this is great for those who are new to Acronis software!
Upon reaching the main home screen we are greeted by a very pleasant design with the main tool categories available from the left side menu and a backup set already created for us in the middle of the screen. To get going quickly we can simply edit this pre-made backup set.
To start defining a backup we must first choose the source of our backup, this could be a set of files and folders, an entire disk, a full image of the PC or even a Microsoft Office365 account!
Next, we must select the destination for our backup, this could be an external hard drive, NAS storage or even the Acronis cloud should the Advanced or Premium subscriptions be in use. For the purposes of this backup I will be using the Acronis cloud service!
Once the backup source and destinations are set we can start setting the remaining options for the backup, these options can easily be reached from the main home screen just below where we set the source and destination. This options screen also includes, amongst other things, the backup schedule, encryption settings, compression settings and the number of revisions to keep!
Once in the options screen the scheduling tab is the first we come to, from this tab we can set virtually any schedule for our backup including a “non-stop” option to perform continuous backups and manually run backups should we need to.
Notifications can be sent for our backup set, however, it is slightly disappointing to see a set of SMTP credentials must be entered before this feature can be enabled. For a service with a cloud subscription I would have expected to see email alerting built in without any further configuration, I would hope Acronis will address this in upcoming releases!
Exclusions are important for many backups as there is little value in storing certain files such as temporary files, logs, ISOs and the like. Acronis makes excluding such files easy via the exclusions screen where specific files or even all files with a specific extension name can easily be excluded from the backup.
Next, under the “Advanced” tab all other options such as shutting down on completion, file encryption, file revisions and a limit on bandwidth usage can all be set. Acronis also allow us to specify which one of their global data centres is to be used for the cloud storage, options include the United States, the UK, Germany and Japan amongst others.
Finally, with all options configured we will be taken back to the home screen and will now be ready to begin our backup. Simply click on “back up now” button to backup up or await the schedule to take over in due course.
A complete and successful backup will be indicated on the home screen with Acronis providing a very useful graphic to highlight what has been backed up already.
Restoring from True Image 2020 is simple and straight forwards using the Restore tab shown above the backup set information on the home screen.
Once in the restore tab simple pick the date and time to restore from at the top and then navigate the file tree selecting the necessary files and folder to be restored. Once the restore is in progress it will complete in the background and True Image will keep you informed of progress using the status bar, again, found on the home screen.
This really is both a simple and functional recovery system and for recovering files on the same as they were backed up from is perfect. Acronis do, however also provide a web based recovery tool allowing those subscribed to their Advanced or Premium plans and using cloud backup to recover their files from anywhere in the world using a web browser!
In addition to local and cloud based recovery Acronis also allow for restoring image backups to dissimilar hardware. This means If you have elected for an image backup of your entire PC you can recover that image onto any other PC. To do this will first means building the Acronis recovery tool using the rescue media building tool. Once this recovery media has been built it can booted from on the other PC and the image recovered onto that hardware!
Aside from the core backup backup functions, Acronis have added several other useful tools and features into True Image 2020.
Archiving is a great feature which allows users to free up disk space by moving old or rarely used files from the local disks onto either the Acronis cloud or another available disk drive (e.g. an external hard drive). The tool to do this can be found on the left side menu and will scan for files which might be suitable.
Once you have selected all necessary files (from the screen above) the location to archive them in can be selected, however, be aware that the option for cloud archiving is only for Advanced and Premium cloud subscribers! Acronis also support both AES256 bit encryption on you archives as well as the choice of which global data centre these files should reside in.
Synchronization between PCs is also possible thanks to the built in sync tool, this can sync files and folders between PCs on the same network in the Standard edition or via any two internet connected PCs using the Acronis cloud subscription.
The Active Protection feature is an anti-malware tool which actively monitors your PC for signs of malicious software or illicit crypto-mining activity.
This feature is on by default and during my testing didn’t appear to cause any noticeable slowdown on the PC. Whilst I cant really comment on how effective this protection is (versus an AV application, for example) the fact it appears to have very little impact on PC resources means it is probably worth leaving on, for now at least!
In addition to the above, Acronis additionally included several other useful tools, these include drive cleaning tools, a disk cloning tool plus the “Try & Decide” tool which allows for rolling back the system state should you need to after installing some new software for example.
It is also worth noting that if you decide upon the Premium subscription then Acronis offer blockchain based verification of files as a part of the subscription. This means, in essence, that you can verify, thanks to blockchain technology, that no-one has tampered wit your files in the time since they have been backed up. I’m not sure how useful this will be for the average home or small business user, especially given that AES 256bit encryption is offered throughout the application?
Despite this it is great to see Acronis developing new backup technologies and hopefully this will become a standard feature in due course!
True Image offers up to AES 256bit encryption support for backups, this security also extends to the archiving and synchronisation features as well! I did notice that web based console doesn’t appear to have 2FA (2 factor authentication) enabled which is disappointing to see but ultimately not too much of an issue (always use encryption when using cloud backup for extra safety).
Acronis have a very detailed knowledge base on their website in addition to active community forums. Should you need further help you can submit a support ticket once logged into the Acronis website via either live chat or the support ticket system.
Phone support is available however, from what I understand this is subject to an additional “pay per incident” fee of $20!
Acronis True Image 2020 is priced at $59.99 for the standard licence, this is a one-off fee and does not include any cloud storage.
The Advanced and Premium licences are 1 year subscriptions containing 250GB and 1TB of included cloud storage respectively. More storage is available (up to 5TB total) for additional fees. Both of these versions also include free upgrades to the latest version of True Image (something which the standard licence does not do).
The Advanced licence is priced at $49.99 per year and the Premium at $99.99 per year.
Acronis has become a market leader in the backup world in recent years and rightly so, in my opinion they make some very reliable backup software and I have been a user of Acronis products myself for well over a decade now!
The core of such an application is, of course, getting the necessary PC backed up quickly and securely and this is an area Acronis excels in. The addition of cloud storage in recent years has helped to make this already solid application even better and has, in turn, facilitated new features such as archiving and synchronisation. It should be noted, however, that Acronis currently do not allow the integration of any cloud providers other than their own service.
As a solid, reliable and well designed piece of backup software you probably wont need much support when using Acronis, however, it is nice to see a very detailed knowledge base and online ticketing support available for all users. Phone support is available form Acronis but at $20 per incident I feel they have let themselves down slightly here!
All in all a solid backup application which should meet the needs of most home and small business users very well, a great job Acronis!