Barry's rigs 'n reviews
March 15, 2007
by Barry Little
Original article at Barry's rigs 'n reviews web site
Acronis True Image 10 Home Review @ BRnR
Backup Locations: Keeping backups under control
If you back your system and all of your important stuff up regularly (as you should), eventually you'll find yourself running of room to store your backups. This is particularly true if you're performing disk-to-disk backups. Whether you have a second single, large hard drive inside your PC, an external enclosure, or multiple drives inside a NAS, the additional space these devices allow makes it mighty tempting to keep older backups around even if you really don't need them. Before you know it, the 500 GB drive you added for backup storage is now down to 10 GB. Keeping them all organized, or figuring out which backup is which, and what it contains, can soon become quite a chore. Then there's the matter of trying to decide which backups to keep, and which ones to get rid of. Wouldn't it be great if your backup software could automatically manage all of that for you?
- If you backup with Acronis True Image regularly to an external hard drive or NAS, you'll probably notice how quickly the archive files pile up. Wouldn't it be great if you could quickly and easily apply quotas to limit the size and number of backups on a per folder basis, as well as automatically prune older archives that are no longer needed? Well, you can do just that with Acronis True Image 10's new Backup Location feature.
- The Create Backup Location wizard.
- I'm going to create a new Backup Location folder on the network share of my TeraStation NAS. Look in the drive pane on the left and under the Folder: dialog box. Notice that I'm using the UNC path for the network share, rather than the drive mapped to the share. There's a reason why, as you'll see later on.
- I need somewhere to keep my frequent Oblivion backups under control on this machine, and an Acronis Backup Location folder is as good as place as any.
- Folder created! On to the next step...
- Here's where you configure the rules for the Backup Location that will determine the maximum size and number of backups, and how long to keep them. Once your backup archives hit the limits you define here, the oldest backups will be deleted or consolidated (if possible).
- Once you have things to your liking, click Next.
- ...then click Proceed to complete the operation.
- Let's perform a backup to our new Backup Location.
Enterprise backup software has always had the ability to establish quotas that limit the size and number of backups and the length of time they are kept on storage devices. Now Acronis True Image 10 Home has this same capability with its new Backup Location feature, to make your life a little easier when it comes to managing backups. Simply select Create and Configure Backup Locations to go to the Manage Backup Locations page. Then select Create Backup Location and follow the steps in the wizard. An important note: if you're backing up to a network share, you'll want to use the UNC path (i.e. \\Server Name\Share Name), instead of the drive letter mapped to the share. If you don't, any backups you schedule to the Backup Location will fail with an error message.
Once you've selected an existing folder or create your own, the wizard will take you to the Backup Rules configuration screen. Here, you can set how much disk space, your Acronis True Image backups use, the maximum number of backups stored in the Backup Location folder, and how long (in days) to keep the backups. The rules you create take place immediately, and once the backups there reach any of the limits you set, the oldest backups are deleted or if possible, consolidated. When performing backups to a Backup Location, just like Acronis Secure Zone, you do not have to create a name for the archive Acronis True Image will do that for you automatically (you can add descriptive comments to help identify them which is always a good idea).
- I don't want to exclude any files from my Oblivion backup set, so I'll make sure all the Exclude file boxes are unchecked and click Next.
- Like the Acronis Secure Zone, no name is required in a Backup Location folder. Acronis True Image will automatically handle that for you.
- I'll perform a full backup.
- I don't need to password protect it...
- ...and my default backup settings are just fine.
- Put in my descriptive comments...
- ...click Proceed to continue...
- ...and we're off!
- Done! You can always select Edit Backup Location to make any changes to your Backup Location at any time.
- You can also remove your Backup Location folder by running the Delete Backup Location wizard. You can remove the folder's Backup Location status from Acronis True Image while leaving the archives created there intact. Or you can delete the folder and any archive files inside it entirely, by checking the Remove Archive Contents box on the right.
Making changes to your Backup Location's rules is just as quick and easy with the Edit Backup Location wizard, and the new rules will go into effect with the next backup. If you no longer need a Backup Location, just run you guessed it the Delete Backup Location wizard. You can delete just the special attributes Acronis True Image uses to see the folder as a Backup Location. Or you can delete the folder and the backup archives stored within it, entirely.
Backup Categories: Making it simple
In addition to making regular image-based backups to protect yourself from a hard drive failure or a corrupted Windows installation, it's also a good idea to make frequent backups of your data as well. If you had no other option, you could always reinstall Windows, all of your programs and favorite utilities from scratch. Your data, however, is another matter.
- One new feature of Acronis True Image 10 Home to make backing up your data easier, are new Predefined Backup Categories. Select My Data after launching the Create Backup Wizard, click Next, and you'll be brought to this screen. The Documents, Finance, Images, Music and Video folders you see are the new Backup Categories. Let's select Documents and click the Edit button to see what's inside...
- Here you are presented with the type of files you want backed up in this category, with options to select the location of the files and the name of the category. Let's click Document Files to see what's already been set up for us.
- Now we're presented with a collapsible list of files based on their Extensions. Let's expand one and see what it consists of.
- As you can see, we have a wide selection of file types here. Let's scroll down further and see what's selected.
- Here are some Microsoft Word and Excel file formats.
- Part of the power and flexibility of this feature is to create your own categories. I'm going to create one.
- First, I'll browse to the location.
- I'm going to pick the folder where The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is installed. I'm always trying out new mods, and sometimes they can create problems, so frequent backups of the main program folder particularly the data folder underneath it where user mods are installed, is a must for me, as it can take hours to reinstall The Elder Scrolls IV and my favorite mods when something really goes haywire.
- Now I'll give my new category an appropriate name.
- After spending weeks or even months building up your Oblivion character, having all that hard work completing quests and looting caves and old ruins go down the drain because of a bad mod or corrupted saved game, really bites. So I'll create a category for the saved games and the Oblivion.ini file that contain a number of tweaks to make Oblivion look and run better.
That's why Acronis has added the new Backup Categories feature to Acronis True Image 10 Home. When you perform a My Data backup, you have the option of manually selecting the folders that contain your data, or use the new Pre-defined Categories created by Acronis for Documents, Finance, Images, Music and Video that will backup up these specific types of files based on their extensions. You can modify Acronis' categories to suit you, or create your own.
- And I'll name this category appropriately as well.
- With my new categories defined, I'm ready to back everything up. Because I selected Data as the type of backup, this will be a file-based backup, rather than a sector-by-sector backup more useful for system disaster recovery.
- I don't want any files excluded in this instance, so I'll click Next.
- Select the target backup location, name the backup file and click Next.
- I'm going to create a full backup.
- My previously configured default options will do just fine, so I'll click Next here...
- ....and add the appropriate comments here so I won't be scratching my head fifteen or twenty backups down the road trying to figure out which one to restore.
- We're all set.
- The backup in progress, which will be automatically followed by a verify.
- Outstanding! Worse-case scenario, all I have to do is delete the appropriate Oblivion folder and restore it from this backup in a lot less time than it would take to uninstall and reinstall Oblivion, patch it, and reinstall the official add-ons and working set of mods before everything went sour.