Acronis True Image 2011 problems/questions

By dannyodare
Jan 14, 2011
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  1. Hi,

    Does anybody here understand the eternal mysteries of Acronis True Image - specifically, it's system of 'incremental' back-ups and so on? I've flirted with ATI over the years, as the idea of a 'fail safe' :) back-up system is obviously attractive - and sensible. However, every time I've used it I've found that the back-ups created by ATI get completely out of control and quickly threaten to consume all my hard drive space, and I end up uninstalling it. Very frustrating!

    Anyway, three days ago I thought I would have another go. So I created a Acronis Secure Zone all on default settings, which came to 35.9 GB. I then did an incremental back-up of my 27.8 GB system partition (the C drive) on default settings, so it was compressed down to 15 GB. Naturally, I placed the back-up in the Secure Zone and scheduled it for a daily 'incremental' back-up at 9.00 am (and I also activated Acronis Start-up Recovery Manager, the 'F11 option', and a made a Bootable disc).

    Thus, the next day - as instructed - Acronis made a back-up at 9.00 am. So far, so good. However, I noticed that the 'incremental' back-up made by Acronis was a massive 6.08 GB, which I find somewhat inexplicable since I hadn't installed anything else on my C drive during those 24 hours. How come the back-up was so big? I also noticed that Acronis was telling me in red letters (already!) that there was "not enough free space" in the Secure Zone - even though it had told me that the back-up had being "successful". And then the next morning the 'incremental' back-up was another 4.97 GB, bringing into a total of 26.08 GB - meaning that within 48 hours the size of the back-up made by Acronis was almost as big as the original target drive (ie, 27. GB). At this rate, of about 5 GB a day, my 'incremental' back-ups will amount to some 165 GB or more! :eek:

    Does anybody know why this is happening? Is there some mysterious setting, or option, that I've managed to overlook - despite going over it on near countless occasions? Obviously, I know there are 'differential' back-ups - but they are supposed to take up more room than Incremental back-ups, so I don't find that a particularly alluring idea.

    Any help or advice would be most appreciated,

  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    Sounds to me like it's backing up the page file, hibernation file or one of the other Windows system files. Have you excluded these from the backup?
  3. dannyodare

    dannyodare TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm pretty sure that ATI 2011 automatically excludes those files when it does an image/snapshot.

    However, I'm going to scrap the daily incremental back up of my System drive - just do a Single Version snapshot/image once a week or so (which overwrites the previous backup/image). However, I might do a daily incremental backup of my data (ie, My Documents).

    Seems like a more sensible way of doing it. Agreed?

  4. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    I use an older version of ATI and never had the kind of problems you describe, but I only do a monthly full backup of the entire system partition, for the pure reason that I don’t trust incremental backups and the additional time is not much once a month just the system partition. Once the new backup is completed successfully, I normally delete manually the previous one, unless I judge I might need it, e.g. because my computer didn’t behave quite normally before the last backup. This way you can go 2 steps back in time, if one step doesn’t solve an eventual problem, such as a recent rootkit or system malfunction that remained unnoticed at first. Your automatic daily revision of backup could prove useless in such a case - you would only have a backup of a faulty system.

    So I for one would agree that your second thoughts are more practical. My additional advice is as follows:

    Instead of secure zones etc, I would advise you to store the backup on an external drive, separate from your main PC for additional security (and space).

    To speed things up, only backup the system partition which should not contain irrelevant files and would thus be slim. Just before the backup, run CCleaner to eliminate redundant space hogs.

    For more regular backups of files, such as My Documents etc, it’s more practical to use a sync tool instead of ATI. You can make these incremental and uncompressed. I use AllwaySync for this purpose, which works well, but there are many others.
  5. dannyodare

    dannyodare TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Yes, all sounds sensible to me. I'll try out Karen's Replicator for backups of My Documents. Unfortunately, though, my external hard drive - a crappy Seagate FreeAgent Pro 750 GB - died on me about a month ago!

  6. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    You are welcome, especially since few OPs come back with feedback, unless they need something more. :)

    As regards external drives, they have become dirty cheap. I wouldn’t advise buying a huge one, for the reason you said, namely if it goes you lose a lot and there’s a good chance it will go by the time you fill it. Besides, they are dropping in price, so by the time you need extra space they’ll cost next to nothing.

    Now coming to your presumed dead external HD, there are tools that will resurrect HDs by restoring magnetism, unless they are physically destroyed, e.g. broken head.
  7. dannyodare

    dannyodare TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I gave HDD Regenerator 2011 and SpinRite (v.6) a whirl, but they don't seem to work on external hard drives.



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