Acronis Backup – How not to do business

Acronis Backup, a great tool. Backs up files. Lets you set a real schedule (Windows take note). New one seems to compress your older backup files to save space. Forces you to buy new products with every new version. Does not reply to emails outside of maintenance contracts (which you can not renew). Makes it hard to upgrade.

What? Hold on a second. Maybe something is amiss here.

Some Background

I’m a user off Acronis Backup products for close on 18 months now. I’ve been using the TrueImage corporate product. And I’ve been reasonably happy with it, but then I haven’t used it to do any full restores. I did try to pull a large file from a backup in the past. But that didn’t work. it repeatedly crashed while trying to do so. Support, who responded at the time since my maintenance contract was in date, weren’t much help. If the file was critical, I’d have been pissed. Luckily it wasn’t, and a few days and another disk later, I managed a full disk restore, mounted the new disk as an external drive, and then copied the file off. Painful.

Wonderful Search…but only for home users

The lately problem with restoring came from me needing to find a folder on my desktop that I knew existing sometime 5 months ago. All fine I thought, I’ll do a search of the files and it’ll show up. The product doesn’t support searching? Oh your HOME product does but your business one does not. Fine so. I’ll “test” the home version and see if I can switch to that. So in goes the trail version on a blank machine. The initial search looks promising. Finds a few text files in the first backup. I’ll leave it search and see if it can find the files I’m after.

A day later, Windows is still searching, still reading files, sort of, but no results. Watching the accesses, it is bouncing through the individual files in sequence, but then repeating. The Windows search service had also crashed and was unable to index inside the TIB files.

How about Google? They can search everything! And yes, there is an iFilter for Google Desktop. But, and there always is a but, it won’t search the archives either. It craps out.

Again, luckily, I managed to find the files I needed by browsing through a few days in June looking at the desktop each time. Can’t say I’d like to do that for something that went missing randomly.

Upgrades

I don’t know if they make this purposefully hard or not, but finding an option to upgrade took time. Hell I can’t even remember where it was now. All I remember was that the upgrade from the old TrueImage to the new Backup10 costs MORE than buying the home version outright as a new customer. And to add insult, the Home Version has more features, not that you can be sure they work either.

Looking at the upgrades began due to the fact that TrueImage does not work on Windows 7. It has just been added to the DoNotExecute list that Microsoft have in the OS. And it was added by Acronis. There is a way around this list, and everyone who has bypassed it has had NO problems with the program. We can only guess that Acronis have had some reason as to why they did this. Of course it would have nothing to do with their new product coming out. A new product that may or may not actually support Windows 7. The Home one does, but I wanted business style products.

When I didn’t find the upgrade option or any mention of it, I did email Acronis via my customer area. They even replied with one of those auto replies to say the email had been received. All I wanted to know was if the product was supported on Windows 7 and if it could be fixed. If not, what was the upgrade path so I could do it.

Conclusions

Having to wait over a week and counting for a reply to upgrade has left a bad taste in my mouth. It reminded me of the past experiences of the product and it failing.  Also being unable to renew the maintenance support after the initial 12 months is worse. But more so since they operate in a 14-16 month product release cycle going on other people I’ve talked to. That would only be the case to case people to not get product updates under their maintenance agreement and be forced to upgrade or buy the brand new product each time.

It is the lack of support that as sealed the deal for me. TrueImage has been uninstalled from my laptop (not that it worked since I swapped to Windows 7). I’ve already begun searching for alternatives. The inBuilt Windows Backup may do the trick if I can get it to run on weekdays only. One I am itching to trial is inSync by a company called Druvaa. I’ve been testing their new Server backup tool and am VERY impressed with it. So something like this would be overkill for personal use, but it may work. Especially with the dedupe, it may make it a good option. Time will tell. All that is sure is Acronis will not be getting any more of my money, or any from any of the companies I work for. Their loss.

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