Anyone have experience with Acronis TrueImage?

I purchased Acronis TrueImage 2011 at the end of November based on recommendations I saw in threads here. It took almost two months for me to get the software to install the updates. Now, of course, I seem to be having problems with running the backups. Support from Acronis has been basically non-existent.

I have it set to “version chain” which is a full backup once a week or once a month, and differential backups every day or every week. I did the first full backups last night. I expected the first one to take a long time, but even at that it took waaayyy longer than I expected.

First off, the hard disk image backup won’t validate. The “time remaining” (which has absolutely no bearing on actual time remaining so far as I’ve seen) ticks down to zero, then resets at some random thousands of days and continues ticking down. I’ve even tried letting it run overnight to see if that would be long enough, but every time it ticked down to zero, it starts over and some thousands of days. I hit cancel, I have the backup file, I can browse it, but I don’t know why it won’t validate.

Tonight is supposed to be the first differential backup. So far it’s been running for an hour and it still says it’s only 3% complete. I changed maybe 3 files today. The status says it’s “validating” (and "time remaining is more than a day), but it’s only supposed to validate once a month. Holy hell, is it supposed to take this long? My freeware is user-unfriendly and I’m never sure how exactly it’s backing things up, but it only takes minutes to complete, not hours. I really can’t sacrifice multiple hours every night to this. I need to be able to work on my computer, too.

I sort of expected this to be simple and user-friendly and something that worked more or less out of the box. But two months later and I still don’t have it working. Or am I expecting too much here, and it really is supposed to take hours every night to finish a differential backup? Is this fixable, or should I try for a refund? Is there better backup software out there?

I’m afraid I can’t offer a solution to your problem, but at least tell you my experiences with Acronis. I’m using True Image 2010 with Windows 7 for about 9 months now. I do a full backup of my main drive (500 GB on three different partitions) daily overnight to an external HDD. The resulting backup file is about 350 GB, and it takes about 5 hours (note: validation isn’t activated). That indicates that the time your installation of True Image takes to do a differential backup is way out of line, and that this is no normal behavior for the software.

FTR, my company has been using Acronis Backup software both internally and with our customers for some years now to our and our customer’s satisfaction.

To sum up, I think there is something wrong with your installation and/or configuration of True Image, or maybe it’s a hardware issue, but it’s not typical for the software.

I, too am a user of TI, and have been for many years. I back up 1TB (two partitions) daily and also have the non stop backup running. It all runs in the background, and takes less than two hours.

The best place to get help is on the user forum.

I have a thread open in the user forum, it’s currently being ignored. I also have an open support ticket that’s being ignored.

The differential backup ended up taking a little over two hours last night. Actual size of the data being backed up is a little over 150GB (this is files, not the hard disk image). Still out of line? I honestly expected the differential backup to take maybe 20 minutes, if that.

I have 9.1 and aside from a few odd happenings it’s been very reliable. I will say I haven’t used the validate feature though.

My first suspicion would the backup drive/media, TrueImage is very picky about hard drive problems.

But from this thread it sounds like TrueImage releases these days may be driven more by marketing than the programmers, and a newer build will probably solve your problem. I can’t get the link to the fix in that thread to work, maybe you have to register for the forums.

Do a search on your hard drive for all files modified in the last 24 hours, then sort the list by size. You may find some large files you didn’t realize were being updated regularly.

I don’t think so. Comparing it to the five hours it takes to complete my 350 GB backup file, it’s exactly in the same ballpark. The issue with the validation, though, seems to be a bug in the software, according to control-z’s forum link.

For a differential backup, though? For the first full backup, yeah, I can see where hours would be necessary, but if you’re only recording changes to files that have occurred in the last 24 hours, 2 hours seems excessive.

I do have the most recent build (6597) of TI 2011. Part of my prior installation issue was that it wouldn’t download and install the updates, so I had to do the uninstall-run the cleanup tool-reinstall dance for a while.

The backups, for now, are being saved to a portable (Western Digital) USB 500GB hard drive. I have an Iomega 500GB desktop external hard drive that is not portable, which is my “regular” backup drive, but as I said, I’m really reluctant to wipe my existing backups to make room for Acronis before I’ve sorted this out.

9 files modified, total size of all of them around 90KB. Seriously, two hours?

Is it possible, that setting it to validate monthly is somehow slowing it down? I do get the “time remaining” bug with both the file backup and the disk image, but in the case of the file backup it validates eventually. The disk image does not (at least not within about a 10 hour timeframe).

Of course you’re right, I misunderstood post #4 and thought that the 150 GB you gave would be the amount of data that was backuped to the external storage for one differential backup. Now I see that you meant the data from the backup source. Sorry for that.

Still one guess: You said that only 9 files with 90 kB were shown as modified. It’s impossible that this includes system files if the box hadn’t been idle for the last 24 hours. I don’t know how True Image handles temp and swap files, but for a literal “true image”, they have to be included. So it’s possible that the real amount of modified data is much larger than 90 kB, but I still don’t see how this could add up to 2 hours.

This raises the question: How big are the differential backup files?

Try turning off validation and see what that does for your backup times.

The disk image differentially backs up only once a week (full backup once a month). The file backup (daily), shouldn’t be dealing with temp/swap files at all.

The file backup: 1MB
The email backup: 1.8 MB

Which also seems odd, given the size of the changed files. I get that the backup file is not just a direct copy of the changed files, but why would it need to be so much larger?

If you’re running a full disk image backup monthly and a files only incremental backup daily, then the daily backup is most likely going to be a full backup.

In other words, I believe if your monthly backup is a full disk image then your daily incremental needs to be a full disk image too, both backed up to the same backup file name.

Right, that’s odd, but still the program shouldn’t process a laughable 2.8 MB of data in more than a few minutes.

Frankly, after all your input, I’m now out of ideas. Sorry.

It’s just bizarre.

After fussing with the automatic validation, it turns out the controls were rather non-intuitive, with “validate monthly” set up like it’s a sub-item of “Validate on creation”. It’s not and the items can be selected separately. So what I thought was “Validate the backup after you create it, once a month” was actually “Validate the backup every time you create it, oh, and also once a month.” Sigh.

So, I have reset it to really only validate once a month. We’ll see if that makes the backup time shorter tonight.

Oh, missed this.

Acronis has three types of backups you can do. One is a disk image. This “version chain” creates a full disk image once a month, and differential disk images once a week.

The second is a file backup. This backs up photos, documents, etc. but does not take a full disk image. The full backup takes place weekly, the differential takes place daily.

The third is email backup, which basically works the same way as the file backup, except with email files and profile settings.

Each type creates its own backup file. I have three backup files saving to three different folders on the backup drive. The files don’t combine or mush together.

The daily differential backups are NOT full disk images. They dailies are only backing up files and email. A FULL disk image only happens once a month. The differential images are only once a week – so at this point I haven’t encountered what Acronis will do with a differential image, since it hasn’t been a week yet. The differential backups, whether image or files, are supposed to take less space and time than the full ones. (As far as I’m concerned, preferably a LOT less. The full backups take multiple hours, as previously mentioned, even without the validation issues.)

Sigh.

The file backup went fine. The differential took maybe a minute.

The email backup is not going well. It’s been 2.5 hours now. In that time, it crashed Outlook, causing me to be unable to launch Outlook/retrieve the .pst file; then it froze; after a reboot, Outlook and the .pst file seem to be okay, but Acronis claimed that the 0KB backup had completed normally; I manually started the backup again (after closing Outlook), where it jumped to 90% complete with less than a minute to go, then stayed there for 10 minutes, then dropped down to 0% complete. Now it’s slooooowly creeping up to 17% complete, and I’m wondering if it will finish in another 3 hours or if it will freeze again.

All this for a 2MB file. Any ideas what the hell is going on?

Or… Is anyone familiar with this backup software? Good or bad experiences to share? It at least has a trial version, and even backs up browser bookmarks. I can’t tell if it does differential/incremental backups, though (and if not, is it going to take me an hour every night to run the backup).

Other software suggestions are okay, too, (bonus if it’s good freeware) though I do want something that goes beyond just making a copy of the .pst files (that’s what the File>Export function is for, I don’t need to pay money for that). I’d like to back up account settings, rules/filters, etc. too.

Hello all,

Thank you for sharing your experience with Acronis products. My name is Anton and I am writing you on behalf of Acronis Customer Central.

EinsteinsHund, NineToTheSky and control-z thank you for your positive feedback and kind help!

Kaio,

I would really appreciate if you can get back to me with the case number so that I can personally take care of the issue for you.

Long differential backups can be caused by defragmentation. Have you checked their sizes? Are they as large as full ones? You can also check this Acronis Knowledge Base article for more info.

Best regards,
Anton Deev
Acronis Customer Central

Update:

Validation is now set to run only monthly on all backups.

I let the email backup run overnight, and best guess it finished in about 2 hours. For some reason I can’t fathom, this differential backup is 776MB, instead of the 1.8MB of the first differential. So that’s why it took so long, but why in hell is the differential backup 75% of the size of the full backup? I promise I don’t get that much email in one day.

The case number is Case 01047372. I’ve spent two months just trying to get this thing to install and update like it’s supposed to, and have gotten no help from the Acronis side on any of these issues.

2 hours for 776MB is sounds about right.

Let’s get down to basics here. When you say “email”, what specifically are you backing up? If there are large mailbox files then adding one e-mail to the MBX file appends it to the end of the file and requires TrueImage to back up the whole file. If you add one byte to a 500MB file, then the entire file needs backed up.
I’d keep things simple and not try to think of every file or directory you want to back up. Keep it all backed up. Every month or week, run a full disk image backup to BACKUP.TIB or whatever you want to name it. Daily, run an incremental full disk image backup to BACKUP.TIB.

Then you have a backup of everything, updated every day. If you ever need to restore any files, you can choose file as it was on the date of the full backup, or any of the incremental dates.

Okay, but why was the first differential email backup 1.8MB, and the second differential backup 350 times that?

I have set the full image backup to run once a week (differential, once a month full). The recommendations I’ve seen say that I should also backup files, as files, and not just the full disk image.

As for what I’m backing up: all email, calendar items, etc. in my Outlook folders. And my email account profiles.