Skip to main content

Reflecting on a Post-ATI World

Thread needs solution
J K
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 57

With Acronis deciding to force both cyber protection services and a subscription license model on current (and future) users of Acronis True Image, many will choose to seek alternatives that still offer perpetual licenses and are focused on disk imaging sans bloatware.  My hope is that those who have made or are contemplating such a switch can discuss their experiences and recommendations here.

I feel that this discussion would/should be allowed under the Terms of Use, as it is Acronis-related in at least two ways:

  1. Discussion will be most likely be framed in terms of what features users liked in ATI (prior to the recent changes), and may thus highlight any Acronis product features that are be difficult/impossible to replicate with competitor products.
  2. Implicit in this discussion (and similar threads on the ATI forum) is that long-term ATI users would most likely prefer to stay with ATI if Acronis management reverses their recent decisions about malware protection integration and license subscriptions; thus, by demonstrating that customer dissatisfaction with these decisions is sufficiently real that many are now shopping for alternatives, the hope is that management will reconsider their current strategy and save what was once the premier disk imaging product on the market.

However, please do not use this topic to post discount links for competitors of Acronis, as this is explicitly forbidden by the Terms of Use.

0 Users found this helpful
Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 24719

J K, I have played with a few different products over time including MiniTool ShadowMaker, Ashampoo Backup, EaseUs ToDo, AOMEI Backupper as well as using Macrium Reflect Free.

Of these, Macrium Reflect has been my main alternative for a few years with their Free version (limited to Full and Differential options) but their Easter offer convinced me to buy a 4-PC perpetual license that includes a free upgrade to their new version 8.0 when it is released.

Ashampoo Backup works fine but creates far too many files per backup for my liking!
EaseUs ToDo and AOMEI Backupper have their own quirks and will suit users who like those!

Macrium for me is the best alternative to what ATI used to be before all the added angst of having Cyber Protection and now loss of perpetual licenses!  They give access to Logs within the main GUI, have simple, easy options for using batch, Powershell or VBS scripts if wanted, plus have a very small footprint in terms of disk and memory / cpu usage. 

My Acronis ProgramData folder is nearly 800MB in size compared to under 13MB for MR.
ATI 2021 has a bucket full of background services & processes.  MR has one service and no processes active unless performing a backup etc.  MR has the Macrium Image Guardian to protect only files used by Macrium without going for world domination in Cyber security!

EDIT: Correction to my comment above about MR.  It does have 3 processes active along with just 1 service when inactive.  The 3 processes are all 64-bit which is why I missed them previously! EDIT:

On a performance comparison doing a Full then Incremental backup to a second internal SATA HDD for the same source disk drive (Samsung NVMe M.2 970 EVO Plus)

ATI Full - 31 to 45 minutes  Incremental - between 6 to 12 minutes.

MR Full - 12 to 18 minutes  Incremental - between 6 to 12 minutes.

J K
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 57

Steve,

Thank you for sharing your experiences.  One feature I didn't see in MR is the option to create your images using bootable media (unless you purchase a Technician's license, which is prohibitively expensive).  This is something I would like to be able to do if possible (and it is how I am currently using ATI), because my impression of shadow copy (which would be required if imaging a system disk while booted into Windows) is that it does not always work reliably.  Are my fears unfounded?  Do you know if any of the other competitors offer imaging from bootable media in their entry-level products?

Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 24719

MR Home definitely allows creating backup images using their bootable media, see image below of the rescue media desktop app when booted on my PC.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 5

I've been enjoying Paragon Backup. It's simple and also has a recovery media builder. Only thing I will say is recovering a single file could have been easier to figure out. But now that I know, the nice thing is you can choose from exactly which version as well as which incremental backup within the version to restore from. Here's an example. I've made 1 initial backup with a few incremental backups. The red arrows show how you can select from along the version chain. You could do a full image restore or just restore individual folders/files. I looked at Macrium, the only thing that puts me off from it is that the paid version indicates it includes ransomware protection, which is exactly what I'm fleeing from. Paragon is *just* backup. Nothing else.

M S
Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 8

Well,  I abandoned ATI after it completely destroyed my system and it took me days to restore. Acronis is going overboard with all their protections and forgetting about just plain simple to use backup solutions.

When I was having problems I kept a log of all the services/processes that were running on my machine related to Acronis ATI in order to figure out what was going on and the list is long, over one dozen!

  1. Acronis Active Protection Service
  2. Acronis Agent Core
  3. Acronis Alert Manager Service
  4. Acronis Cyber Protect Agent
  5. Acronis Cyber Protect Agent
  6. Acronis Cyber Protect Service
  7. Acronis Scheduler Manager
  8. Acronis Task Manager
  9. Acronis TIB Mounter Monitor
  10. Acronis TIB Mounter Service
  11. Acronis Updater
  12. Acronis VSS COM server executable (this is what the Acronis updater messed up causing me problems)
  13. AcronisProductUpdateUtility

And this is when it wasn't even running!

Now compare that list to AOMEI Backupper:

  1. AOMEI Backupper
  2. AOMEI Backupper Schedule task service

And that's when it's running,  When it's not running there is only the AOMEI Backupper Schedule task service running and that's it.

The interface is clean and simple.







 

You can also do backups and create images from the rescue media.  Booting up from the recue media the interface is identical to the images above.  And to top it all off, it's a lifetime license, no more paying to get the latest version.

 

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 5

OK I sort of take back what I said about Paragon/Macrium. I have a very unique network set up that most won't have so most won't run into this problem. My NAS which I back up to is on a physically different network (I use a pFsense firewall). Getting Paragon to backup to this wasn't an issue. I did a test though with the rescue media and it just could not connect to it. Well that's not quite true: it could connect but it kept throwing a Windows error about logon session issues. Anyway, I decided that won't do for me. I looked into the Macrium suggestion: Turns out, when you go to install the paid version, you can totally opt out of installing the ransomware protection 100%. So I switched over to Macrium. The downside is that the UI is definitely more off putting for the casual user. I'm a software engineer so wasn't an issue for me, but I wouldn't recommend it for the casual user. It did however work fast and flawlessly to restore images/individual files both while in Windows and from the rescue media.

The above suggestion regardgin AOMEI looks interesting. Wish I had seen it before buying Macrium as the UI is so much cleaner (akin to Paragon), but whatever I found something that works for me. I'd say if you're a casual user, look into the above poster's suggestion of AOMEI. If you're a power user, look at Macrium, has a ton of features that are neat if you're into performance and other nerdy things.

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 6

Syncback pro is a nice piece of software but does not do images only files and folders. Retention is also messy. However It offers a live sync folder to folder on changes which may be of some use to some people?

Then Paragon. I found this did everythign I wanted and it would have been my choice, but it seemed REALLY slow... has anyone else found that? Priced well for 3 PCs (I have 2).

On google EaseUS always seems to come out on top with Acronis often second. I downloaded the free version and found it fast but a little confusing on retentions. I have now got the hang of it and I am actively using the paid version with the free version on my second PC which is just a straight daily image backup incremental for 30 days. The only thing I wished it had was the ability to duplicate a backup job (just being lazy!). Acronis made it very simple for me to set up duplicate jobs and then just modify which saved me time and made sure my underlying settings were the same on all jobs. Now that is all done I think EaseUS is where I will stay.

I have a Music studio setup with several disks backing up daily and weekly to one large internal and one USB. I will also look in to the cloud connectivity of EaseUS for my absolute critical files (C and my actual data), but so far i am very happy with it. The rest of my drives can be rebuilt as they are mainly instrument samples and audio content but nice to be backed up for speed if something went wrong.

I said it before and I will again. I was very happy with Acronis for many years and if they want to get in to protection i have no problem with that at all. Just make it optional.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 3

I am a software engineer who experienced a non-responsive system after the March ATI update. It took me about two days to figure out that the problem was ATI. My dev-ops staff was sure it was a hardware problem, so we spent a lot of time going down that path. Their belief was mainly based on the abnormally high CPU temperatures we were seeing.

Finally, I did a lot of safe-mode startups and clean-boot startups. I narrowed the problem down to ATI, and was really surprised to see that my backup software was suddenly doing 'cyber protection'. I already have enough cyber protection tools on the laptop, and in the network. This was a real problem, since the system involved is my primary development system. An outage like this is expensive - way more expensive than the cost of a perpetual license.

ATI support did respond after about a week, but I had already switched to Paragon by then. I doubt I will return to ATI unless they give me option to totally disable their cyber protection.

My experience with Paragon has been positive, and I get backup speed comparable to ATI.

Paragon pros:

  • Backup speed comparable to ATI
  • Perpetual license
  • Full/Differential backups
  • Single file recovery
  • Recovery Media capability

Paragon Cons:

  • Users on a domain will need to get the 'business' version which is a little more expensive
  • Perpetual business license is single user

I also tried EaseUS, but was unable to find a way to do single file restores. In addition, I didn't get any better backup performance with EaseUS than with Paragon.

Regular Poster
Posts: 45
Comments: 179

Thanks everyone for this priceless thread!  (I saved it locally just in case.)

Macrium sounds like it might be for me.  Not because I want complicated, but because I expect a lot of functionality.

@JK
I've never had an issue running backups of my OS drive in Windows.  But I do like to also run backups from boot media, so I'm glad MR does that! 

Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 24719

Coyote, responding to your comments in the 2021 Forum (copied below):

I'm looking to try Macrium.  Until then I might use my ATI2020 boot media on my new install; but I really want to run incrementals in Windows (I've never tried them via boot media, as that sounds like a bit of extra manual work).

I am running Macrium Home (licensed version) and am pleased with this for making fast incrementals along with better scheduling options, i.e. a monthly new Full backup on the first Sunday of each month with as many incrementals in-between as needed.

Making regular incrementals via ATI boot media is always going to be a manual exercise and thus be more prone to mistakes!  I still have a number of regular ATI scheduled tasks making incrementals which are also running fine!

Note: the free version of MR only allows differentials to be created, not incrementals.

Regular Poster
Posts: 45
Comments: 179

Thank you for moving my text here, you're right of course, I should have posted it here.

I'm in the middle of setting up my OS, so I think I'll use the familiar ATI2020 boot media.  Then I'll get a Macrium Home license.  (I hope for both our sake the Macrium forum already has someone like Steve!)

I don't think I'll have the guts to run both at once on the same OS.  Long long ago when I was still a Norton Ghost user, I auditioned Acronis for the first time.  For some reason doing so totally hosed my OS.  (I think there was some conflict.  Here's why I now think it was Ghost's fault:  When my OS crashed, Ghost always required me to start a new chain because otherwise it needed to spend endless hours "reconciling"; I think this happened because Ghost must have relied on constantly logging changes in realtime*.)  I think that that painful memory will keep me from ever running two backup programs at once again.

*I sure hope that Macrium chains don't similarly break (by which I mean require a new base/full backup) when the OS crashes.  I was jubilant when I switched and found ATI doesn't have that major weakness.

 

Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 24719

Coyote, there should be no issues with having both ATI and MR installed, I have been doing this for some years with MR Free used alongside ATI, and now on my main PC have ATI 2021 with MR Home 7 with no issues!

Ghost has been gone a long time now and I haven't used it for an equal time, probably around the time I started using ATI 9.0 - still have some Ghost CD media in a cupboard!

Regular Poster
Posts: 45
Comments: 179

Good to know.  Still not sure I can get over my PTSD from my Ghost v. ATI disaster.

I suppose I could throw out my Ghost CDRs now, and delete my final 2014 Windows XP backup.

Forum Member
Posts: 19
Comments: 72

I just learned of the elimination of perpetual licenses.  While I use subscriptions for Quicken, Adobe Photography Plan, and Office 365, I feel they have been beneficial to me.  I'm not pleased that there is no ability to disable the Cyber Protection.  It looks like it is time to begin to look for alternatives.  I'm glad to see I can run some of these while having ATI active.

Frequent Poster
Posts: 66
Comments: 482

When I started looking for an alternative, I downloaded and evaluated all of the backup/restore programs mentioned in this thread.  Everyone of them has their pros, cons and caveats.

After loads of testing, I decided on Macrium Reflect because everything just worked correctly right out of the box and all my clones, restores and backup testing were just flawless.  All that was with the free version.  Once I moved to a paid, non subscription version, I found that MR did even more and was really fast.  Reliability and Fast, I like that !

I have been a Acronis customer since ATI2009 and I will look at their products in the future but for now, I am very happy with my new choice.

Steve F.

 

J K
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 57

Perdido Beach :

Steve,

Let me know if you do try the viBoot feature.  ATI does not have native support for anything like this, but there is an Acronis Knowledge Base article that describes how to accomplish it using third-party tools; I tried it with disastrous consequences!  Thus, the fact that Macrium Reflect has this function natively supported is a great positive, as it allows operating system images to be validated without messing with hardware (swapping disks etc.).

I haven't quite yet taken the plunge over to Macrium Reflect, but I will likely do so soon, based in part on your and Steve Smith's experiences.  Reading a first-hand account of success with viBoot would probably seal the deal for me.

JK

Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 24719

JK, the viBoot feature will take a bit of learning to get used to!  You first have to enable the Hyper-V features in Windows via the Control Panel > Programs & Features options, followed by a restart of Windows.

I am not seeing the 'Boot image' option enabled for my backups in the main MR GUI but not sure if this is because I upgraded from the Free to Home version.

I was able to launch viBoot and get it to launch my MR disk backup as a VM then to sign in to the VM but didn't have any networking connections (probably another learning exercise needed) plus the VM acted as if it was a new install and gave activation warnings!

Note: I had to navigate to the MR program files folder and launch viBoot from there.

I normally use VMware Player which I find to be easier to use, so could always test doing a MR restore to a VMware VM as another option!  Have done this with ATI successfully!

Attachment Size
576508-249222.png 1.59 MB
576508-249225.png 48.23 KB
J K
Forum Member
Posts: 9
Comments: 57

Steve,

Thank you for sharing this information.  Perhaps the OS is detecting a hardware change when it is installed in a VM and that may be what triggered the activation warnings?  If so, that would seem to limit the usefulness of the viBoot feature.

I hadn't heard of the VMware Player before -- thank you for this valuable pointer.  I believe the Hyper-V installation on my computer may be corrupted or incomplete, so this may be a good alternative for me.   If you have the time/inclination to post some instructions for how to restore an image into a VMware VM, that would be appreciated!  So as not to stray from the forum terms of use, probably best to post instructions for how to do it using an ATI image rather than MR (and maybe it should be posted in the ATI forum), then we should be able to extrapolate to other backup software.  

JK

Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 24719

JK, the key benefit to any ability to use a virtual machine, viBoot or VMware or VirtualBox, is to show that the backup image being used is good for recovery, whether that is into a virtual environment or a physical PC.

I have used VMware Player for a very long time for testing and find it an excellent tool for that purpose, especially for learning.

In terms of using VMware for testing restores / recovery, then the principle is essentially the same as for a standard PC.  The approach that I take, in outline, is as follows:

Create a new VM - selecting the matching OS version & type, i.e. Win 10 64-bit, and allocate memory and some processors (typically 4MB memory & 2 or 4 CPU's), then set the CD/DVD drive to point to the Acronis Rescue media along with allocating a virtual disk of sufficient size.

Next, ensure that the VM will be booting in the correct BIOS mode to match that of the PC for which the backup was made, this is easiest via editing the VM configuration .vmx file and use the 'firmware=' option to set this to 'BIOS' or 'EFI' as appropriate before attempting to start the VM.

VMware will automatically boot from the rescue media .ISO file if there is no valid OS installed, so once booted to the ATI offline application, it is then a matter of being able to access the location of the backup image.  I have tended to use my NAS location across the network as being easier than connecting a USB drive!

The above process should work equally with any backup / recovery application where you are able to boot the VM from rescue media.

Beginner
Posts: 5
Comments: 15

I upgraded to a newer version of Acronis True Image a few years ago because it could automatically back up my phone. I had to to go back to a previous build of ATI last week because the current build has a fatal bug with mobile backups. Now the inability to buy a perpetual license is the breaking point. Is there any other PC backup program that also automatically backs up your android phone?

Products: Acronis True Image 2015, 2017, 2018, 2021 perpetual licenses