Acronis True Image Home 11 vs Norton Ghost 14 which one is better? or do I choose? [more]
I've ran into some a number of issues in my machines that required resetup and what would have been reinstallation but thanks to Symantec Ghost 2003 I didn't to reinstall windows from scratch.
As I was thinking of upgrading to the new Norton Ghost 14.0 I had the following features on top of my mind:
1. Recover without a Recovery CD (if possible – still recommend to have such CD though)
2. Live Backup ** (though also present in Ghost 14)
3. Easy to use interface
4. Low cost for new purchase or upgrade
To make the long story short after a few minutes I found myself purchasing Acronis True Image Home 11. Relative to the items above, here are my comments.
1. Recover from a previous backup without a Recovery CD. Just enable Recovery Manager after installation and during machine startup, Press F11 and Acronis will be loading and enable you to select a previous backup to restore. Ghost has this LightsOut feature but after reading the manual, the catch is that if the file system is corrupted you have no way to recovering without a Recovery CD. And there are a couple of complexities involved in it like involving pcAnywhere technologies and other things. It seems that this was primarily created to enable remote recovery (an admin would recover a machine without being physically present there). I'm somehow a technical guy and I could go about this but I don't really need this complexities not to mention I dont have time for it. (if you want you can grab the Ghost 14 user manual and see the section on LightsOut). I have tried this F11 stuff already (although I just verified my backup rather than restore it) but I will put it to a real test next time.
This is also somehow similar to how IBM laptops does AutoRecovery which I'd have to say is a pretty impressive feature.
2. Acronis supports Live Backup (no need to reboot to DOS or something) though also present in Ghost 14.0, the latter doesn't actively market it. You would be able to create a backup of your disks/partition while continuing to work, seamless. My guess is it's something to do with Volumn Shadow Copy or something. This feature is also present in Ghost since version 9 (though had bad reviews then). I'm not sure which of the two, version 9 and 2003 came first but in the 2003 I was always prompted to reboot if I'm backing up the OS partition. Thanks to ObiYawn for the correction on this.
By the way I knew of Acronis from a laptop I had in one of my previous employers. It was preinstalled and it just works. Tried Live Backups all the time and after a restore, no problems and an exact replca (of course I'm no guru as for the internals but from my point of view no issues).
3. Just enough eye candy for Acronis to look good for me. Ghost is fine too but being part of Norton/Symantec they seem more inclined to a more formal GUI. By preference I like Acronis (subjective of course).
4. Regular price for Acronis True Image Home 11 is $49.99 as of this moment but got a coupon number somewhere in the web and trimmed down to $44 something. While Ghost 14 is around $69.99. That's a big difference considering that Acronis is winning in my other considerations. (for the coupon number, leave me a message in case you can't find it thru google and ill try to look for it in my history or TimeSnapper screenshots)
It is also worth mentioning about Acronis' Secure Zone where a hidden partition is made for you to store a backup and can also be password protected (I think this zone is encrypted but not sure yet). Anyways, it makes the automated recovery even better. I have 2 physical disks and had the partition in my non system HD.
TrueImage also support scheduled backups which I like and another cool feature Try&Decide™ which allows one to make changes to the system that could possible cause it to become unstable then in the end choose to discard those changes and rollback to state when the feature was turned ON. I'm excited to try this feature when time permits. I usually and would likely still use Virtual Machine to do some experiments/trials but if this turns out as a much cheaper/elegant solution then why not.
Ghost has this feature of capturing your system and using the image as virtual machines (VMWare, VirtualPC) but was not enough to make me decide otherwise. Acronis has this feature but not for the Home edition. I have my base VHDs anyway so I could live without this and Try&Decide mentioned above looks promising.
I won't elaborate further on complete list of PROs and CONs but just those features that made me decide. Of course selections should be made on a case to case basis but safe to say that being an advanced user Acronis TrueImage stands a chance against the more popular Norton Ghost.
If you don't have any of the recovery solutions yet, I would encourage you to have one and take a look at these two and others. I would love to talk about the advantages of fast recovery but someone is likely to have talked about it in the web and better than I would suggest consulting Google.
I'm quite sure this is money well spent.