Windows 10: Acronis True Image vs Macrium Reflect
Hi there @DeaconFrost
In Years of handling computers etc it always amazes me that businesses in general always seem to choose Software that a Home user or someone who knows what they are doing would NEVER in a million years even THINK of buying
For example nearly every corporate site I've been to in general has McAffee AV software -- Home users call it Mc AWEFUL (or things much less polite) and really wouldn't even THINK of loading it on to their own computers.
If your company has purchased ACRONIS 2017 and it works for you by all means go for it --I have no idea what it looks like now but in general if a company buys some software it's a good bet that BETTER alternatives exist. !!!
Just my cynical nature of course.
However ANY backup software is better than NONE provided it woirks reliably and you use it regularly.
For absolute 1000% reliability in backing up and restoring, the gold standard is StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX, which is available for Windows and Linux. It is very expensive but has never failed me and I am sure it never will.
It depends on what you mean by easier. I was a long time acronis user and over the years always had problems with drivers on their Linux recovery system. They never keep it up. Most of the time I had go thru and create PE recovery disks. Most of the time it was painful and difficult. The last version I was using was 2015. I went to install it on my state of the art NEW built PC and proceeded to build a PE disk, to find out it was missing several INTEL drivers I needed to support the USB 3.1 Hardware. Windows 10 supports it and then I found out that Acronis uses a Win 8 SDK to build their PE systems. I'm now a really happy MR user, and building their PE recovery disks is a piece of cake (Even adding additional driver's easy to do). Oh and MR gives you a choice on which Windows SDK you want to use.
In my opinion, there really is no question when it comes to full disk imaging and backup creation - Macrium Reflect is superior. Yes, I've used both quite extensively.
Acronis True Image is good because it has a nice GUI and very little ambiguity. It's a good choice for regular home users who want to set up a fairly reliable backup solution. Full disk backups are slightly smaller than Macrium's backups; however Acronis' backup speed is significantly slower than Macrium's and also omit a lot of advanced options that Macrium has available to users. That said, the advanced features still make Macrium great for novice users because the meat of the software is straight-forward and simple. I'd actually argue that Macrium Reflect's simple partition and image backups (which most people use backup solutions for) are easier create and schedule than Acronis True Image's.
Macrium Reflect is excellent despite the lack of a glamorous, or "pretty," GUI like Acronis True Image has. Mind you I use Macrium Home Editions and Server Edition (I primarily use NovaBackup for my Windows server). Macrium Reflect, for home use, has a plethora of options that makes it stand out. For example Synthetic Full backup creation, which is great for people who may have only a fairly small amount of drive space to save backups. Basically, their Synthetic Full backup option creates only ever one full backup, followed by incremental backups. Once the maximum amount of incremental backups has been reached, it will merge that first full backup into the first incremental backup made in the backup chain. Following the merge, it will do another incremental backup. Then, the next time the backup schedule runs, it again will merge that full backup with the next incremental backup in the chain. This process continues indefinitely. This is a good way to 1) not have to create regular full backups on a weekly/monthy basis, and 2) limit the amount of incremental backups most people store.
Secondly, Macrium's deployment features are superb with SSD Trim, Rapid Delta Cloning and Rapid Delta Restore. Deploying to new hardware is extremely easy, and most importantly, works perfectly once the system is booted. SSD Trim is fantastic when going from a regular HDD to a SSD or SSHD as well as aiding in the longevity of the SSD/SSHD itself and makes the restore process much faster by being able to bypass the read-modify-write process. In combination with Rapid Delta Restore (only copies changed data blocks) makes restoring backups - even with 30+ incremental/differential backups in its backup chain - incredibly fast.
Thirdly, the ability to write PowerShell scripts to manage the software is extremely useful to those of us who may write (and love) PowerShell scripts. I personally write a PowerShell script for just about anything just because, well, I love PowerShell, so this is icing on the cake for me. As an example, having a script that will perform sequential backups at the time of your regular scheduled backup. This will allow you to only have 1 scheduled backup in Windows, but when the backup runs it will also perform any other additional backups, and without having to schedule them separately. It's truly a great feature for those with multiple harddrives, or file and folder backups, that do not want 5+ tasks scheduled at different times. So basically you can have a simple set of lines, for example:
And have it run backups 1-3 on a single scheduled task. Best part? Macrium Reflect can create PowerShell scripts right from the program itself. Of course this is a very simple script, but you can pretty much script anything, including a script that will do a complete format, partition delete and then restore in one executable command.
ExitCode = Backup ("""C:\Program Files\Macrium\Reflect\reflect.exe"" -e -w <BACKUP_TYPE> ""C:\Backups\backup_1.xml"" -g")
ExitCode = Backup ("""C:\Program Files\Macrium\Reflect\reflect.exe"" -e -w <BACKUP_TYPE> ""C:\Backups\backup_2.xml"" -g")
ExitCode = Backup ("""C:\Program Files\Macrium\Reflect\reflect.exe"" -e -w <BACKUP_TYPE> ""C:\Backups\backup_3.xml"" -g")
Fourthly, uninstalling Macrium does not require a separate tool like Acronis does. It does not add a bunch of services nor the probability of uninstalling it "wrong" rendering Windows' internal VSS corrupt. Besides that, Macrium's support is fantastic (Acronis' is not too stellar).
Lastly, Macrium has viBoot as an available download (which is free). This allows you to mount any backup image as a VHD and browse it. You can make changes to it if necessary and then run a full/differential/incremental backup right from viBoot. Of course both the main Reflect backup software and viBoot allows you to take any backup image and turn it into a VHD to use with Windows Hyper-V (or other software).
On the flip side, Acronis True Image definitely has a prettier GUI, and its file and folder backup option is easier to schedule though lacks independent file and folder backup and restore options that Macrium has. For example, being able to determine how you want reparse points to be handled more extensively.
Both have AES backup protection (if you decide to use it) which is great. Acronis has a sizable amount of options available for backup procedures. Acronis allows smartphone backups via its phone app. And as I stated above, Acronis' backups are generally smaller than Macrium (when the type of backup is identical). They're not much smaller, but they're smaller.
In conclusion, both are great for home users. Both will do your backups seamlessly and both have been proven to be reliable for disaster recovery. However, where Acronis has made its program nice to look at, Macrium has made theirs more and more reliable under any circumstance. I personally much prefer the features Macrium Reflect allots its users, especially for those running RAID and/or other somewhat nontraditional setups.
Another great feature using Macrium + viboot is the ability to easily take a current pc install, backup as a Macrium image, boot into it using Viboot, go to audit mode, and use sysprep to remove hardware drivers, then save image
Then you can restore image to real or virtual machines different to the original host pc, and reinstall it. This gives you a simple means of deploying image across different devices.
"...I think Acronis makes the process of creating boot media much easier..."
"...Macrium free is all you need to do backup/restore and you don't even need to create CD/USB to boot from..."
Yes, Acronis' usb or dvd boot often is a little bit easier to make than Macrium Reflect. However, it is a very good idea to make a Macrium Reflect usb and/or dvd boot. Never assume a dual-boot always will work.
Exactly. You can even incorporate Macrium PE version on a FAT32 partition of the external back up drive and boot off of that too.
However, it is a very good idea to make a Macrium Reflect usb and/or dvd boot. Never assume a dual-boot always will work.
Also, always test your rescue media so you're certain it's bootable.
Used Acronis for Windows 7 and 8.1 stopped using it because incremental weekly backups corrupted routinely and one system backup failed and had to reinstall, this can't happen even once. Used Macrium to clone and setup OS, worked without bugs but would like to set clone size for possible larger drive or OS migration. Acronis 2015 a free Crucial OS migration software failed to work with BCDEasy or Windows P.E. Rescue Media would not restart but with a clean Windows 10 MBR using Windows 10 Rescue media would work. I looked up reviews and many say pass on Acronis as data migration because of corrupted results. Under a perfect world Acronis works but that never happens in a disaster.
When testing you also need to ensure rescue stuff is not only bootable -- but that the restore actually works -- no point in doing all these backups if when you come to use one it fails with Disk / I/O or other error !!!!.
Try it first on a VM -- simply on the VM set the ISO file as a bootable "Virtual" DVD and from the VM -->boot into firmware choose boot from the ISO file. Then see if your restore is OK.
Note -- if you are using HYPER-V you might have to use a shared network drive to access the image file -- direct USB connections are somewhat lacking in HYPER-V. If you use VBOX or VMWARE for running VM's then no probs attaching USB devices direct to the VM.
If testing on REAL hardware with a stand alone boot system make sure that any hardware RAID drivers are incorporated into the bootable media -- Macrium is fine with loading external drivers when creating boot media. Not sure about Acronis these days though.
Good point from Jimbo45. I was using windows image, and needed to restore due to a drive crash. Image works well but does not restore well (or at all?).
Solution was to create a VHD from the image, convert it, copy the partition to a new windows restore and then tell windows where to boot.
...A lot of work for what should have been a simple image restore.
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