Jack Wallen tests the Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office app, a disaster recovery tool that anyone can use to easily create a full disk clone of critical systems.
Whether you’re a parent, a small business owner, or the IT manager of a midsize business, when it comes to your data, you need to take steps to ensure there’s always a backup.
In the realm of backups, you can take two similar but distinct paths: folder-level backup or machine-level backup. Folder-level backups are exactly what they sound like: backs up only the folders that contain the important data your organization needs. Machine-level backup goes one step further and creates an image of your entire disk. Machine-level backups are a good option for many because they back up everything (including the operating system) so if something goes wrong, you can easily get that machine back up and running.
SEE: Power Checklist: Troubleshooting Hard Drive Failures (TechRepublic Premium)
Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office offers a robust imaging tool that walks you through the process of creating a complete image of your running machine and gives you a choice of destinations to host the image. With this same tool, you can also create an emergency boot diskette in case you need to restore a system that refuses to boot.
How Acronis Works
Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Fear not: even if you’re not the most tech-savvy, you can successfully image your system with Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office. The process looks a bit like this:
- Open Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office.
- Use the imaging tool to create a complete disk image of your machine.
- Create a boot drive for your machine.
- If there is a problem with the machine in question, boot it with the rescue drive.
- Restore the image using the bootable drive.
Acronis has removed many complications from the process, so anyone can create a full image backup or create an active disk clone to help you migrate all your data to a larger or faster disk, while benefiting from their anti-malware protection.
I tested the clone process on a MacBook Pro running macOS Monterey and a simple USB external drive. Once the disk was detected by macOS, Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office was ready to be cloned (Figure A).
Easy Disk Clone
The disk cloning process will format and erase the destination disk. Don’t try to use an external hard drive in the hope of retaining data; either use a brand new external drive or a drive that doesn’t contain anything important.
There are two caveats to this. First, I discovered that creating a disk image doesn’t seem to work with a destination drive that isn’t directly connected to the host. Any SMB share or NAS location that the MacBook could not access was a valid destination for the image. With that in mind, you will definitely need an external USB drive for this task. Second, the restore process built into Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office only works when copying the image to the original machine. Yes, this machine might have a new drive installed, but everything else will have to stay the same.
If you need to restore the image to a completely different machine, you will need to download and install another utility called Acronis Universal Restorewhich creates a specific rescue disk that will allow you to copy the cloned image from one machine to another as long as the internal drive is equal to or larger in size than the original.
The process of creating the cloned image takes some time. This is a job you’ll want to leave running overnight when you don’t need to use the machine.
In that vein, another small complaint I have is that Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office failed to calculate the remaining time. Instead of even giving me an estimate, the “Calculation of remaining time” text never changed (even though the cloning process was 1/4 of the way through – Figure B). I don’t hold this against Acronis because the inability to calculate time for such actions is pretty universal.
Ultimately, the most important aspect of Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is disk imaging, and I can’t remember the last time I used a tool that made this task so easy. This surprised me, given that I used to deal with older Acronis tools that required IT admin skills to use. For those without those skills, who really want to make sure they have the ability to clone their hard drives in an emergency, you’d be hard pressed to find a better solution.
For those who are less computer savvy, but still want to enjoy the security of a full machine backup, Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is the tool to use. And given that this peace of mind can be had for just $89.99/year (on sale now for $53.99/year), this might just be the tool you need for the plan. disaster recovery of your home office.
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