Acronis True Image saved my bacon this weekend…it wasn’t my PC that got messed up, but you know who is responsible for picking up the pieces…
My first though was "I sure wish I had installed my wife’s copy of Acronis True Image Home 2010 that I bought during the after-Thanksgiving sale." But I hadn’t…
I was at the point of trying to reinstall Windows XP Home over itself, hoping to solve her problem that way, when I remembered that I had installed Acronis True Image Home 2009 on her computer about six months ago.
OK. Six months…that’s better than complete reinstallation, I guess, if the "install over" doesn’t work.
I stopped what I was doing and checked to see how old the backup was.
I had backed up her C: drive across my home network to my desktop computer. When I checked the desktop, I found that the file was written on December 22nd, only two days earlier!
I didn’t realize, but Acronis True Image Home 2009 was making a system backup of her C: drive every three days. My normal practice is to put the date into the file name, so that I save multiple different versions. In this case, the file was being written every three days, but always with the same filename ("SystemBackup.tib").
On my desktop, I ran ATIH2010 to verify that the integrity of the image backup.
I’ve never had the problem with Acronis True Image, but in the early days of an earlier program Drive Image, I started restoring a backup copy only to see the program stop in the middle of the restoration — because of an internal error in the image file. There was nothing left to do but to start reinstalling Windows and my programs again.
Once you have that kind of problem, you are sensitive to the issue and intend for it NEVER to happen again. Always verify the image is internally ok before starting the restoration — remember, in order to restore the image, the program has to destroy the partition to which it is going to write!
The image backup was good.
When you need to restore the C: drive, you have to boot the Acronis True Image Home rescue version from a CDROM or flash drive. (You make the bootable rescue media after you install ATIH on your computer.)
As of ATIH 2010, the rescue media is much easier to use. I booted it, selected ATIH (the other selection was to continue to boot into Windows) and let the program open. At that point, I selected Restore. The ATIH 2010 rescue CD read the existing ATIH 2009 installation, found its file indicating the location of the image backup, and gave me the option to select that one or browse for another backup.
I selected the default image file (which was the most recent one her computer had created, and which was stored on another computer across my home network) and started the restore process.
After Acronis True Image Home finished the restore process, I exited it and rebooted. Windows opened normally as it should have.
There’s one other interesting facet of my wife’s computer. It’s C: drive is relatively small, and mainly holds Windows and its files. She installs most of her programs onto other hard drives or hard drive partitions. She stores all of her data on another hard drive, or at least another hard drive partition. This meant that the C: restoration didn’t wipe out any of her recent changes to critical data, such as the checkbook in Quicken.
I’ve gotten out of my old habit of storing my programs and data anywhere but C:. This experience has convinced me, again, that I really should consider that again.
On the other hand, I’ve still got my nightly file backups that I make using Karen’s Replicator. I have set the tasks in Replicator to copy any of my data files that have changed. They’re copied to another computer across my home network, so they’re available and up-to-date.