Acronis True Image 2021 Premium review: Fully integrated backup and cyber security

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Acronis True Image 2021 Premium review: Fully integrated backup and cyber security

Acronis True Image 2021 Premium is indisputably the most comprehensive solution when it comes to backup and computer security for Windows PCs. In fact, we’re unaware of any other product that actually marries these two software disciplines into a single streamlined application. 

While anti-malware and backup might seem a slightly odd marriage at first, the ability to fire off a backup or shut off access to previous backups when malware is detected makes a whole lot of sense. An admitted skeptic when the company first started down this path, I’m now a big fan of the concept. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best backup software. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

Design and features

Acronis True Image sports a clean, attractive interface, and is easy to use—once you get used to it. There are some quirks in both organization and operation, and the program occasionally assumes something is obvious when it’s not. If you’re new to it, take a good half hour and explore (hint: move the cursor over everything) before you commit to your first operations. 

There’s a lot to talk about with True Image. I’ll get to the malware protection later as first and foremost, the program fulfills the promise of its name by creating image files from drives or partitions, as well as selected files and folders. These can be full (everything), incremental (everything since the last backup), or differential (everything since the initial backup). You can also back up files from your phone or files from remote shared network locations, and employ Blockchain to notarize backed-up files with the premium version.

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True Image backs up data from just about any location.

True Image lets you schedule backups, will automatically (or manually) cull older backups when space runs low, split backups, copy sector-by-sector or data-only, validate the backup post run, run commands pre- and post-operation, and a lot more. In short, just about every option invented by the backup community has been implemented.

The program also backs up to nearly any type of destination: optical, the 1TB of cloud storage provided by Acronis, hard drives, network locations, and more. It will optionally place a version of the program on removable media for use during restore operations. If you’re super-old-school, sorry, tape is not supported. 

Other related and tangential features include hardware-independent recovery media creation (USB/optical), disk cloning, a OEM-like recovery partition creator, a system cleanup tool (think CCLeaner), and a secure erase utility.

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True Image sports options galore. If there’s a feature that’s been implemented in the backup space, you’ll find it here.

There were some irritations while defining backups and doing other tasks. For instance, after clicking on the Add backup button, the initial creation process was so slow, I found myself clicking again unnecessarily. There should be instant feedback. Also, if I didn’t provide credentials (user name and password) for a network destination, I couldn’t double-click on that location to re-enter them until exiting and re-entering the job creation. 

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