Need to safeguard your photos and movies? We put Acronis Online Backup to the test

Need to safeguard your photos and movies? We put Acronis Online Backup to the test
Straightforward online backup, but given the price, this is best used in conjunction with True Image Home 2010

When we looked at Acronis True Image Home 2010 in February 2010, we were told that the Online Backup portion would be available in Australia in the near future.

The future has now arrived, with Acronis Online Backup now both a part of Acronis True Image Home 2010 and also available as a standalone product via the Acronis website.

The downloadable 35MB installation file makes it small and light. Installation is smooth and straightforward. You'll need an Acronis account set up as part of the process, but you can also set this up beforehand at the Acronis website. While you're there, you may as well test out the service using a 2GB trial.

The services runs in two parts. On your desktop, the Online backup application handles the backing up. You can select what to back up either by filetype or by folder and drive. The selection process is moderately fine grained, letting you include or exclude specific file types or specific folders.

If you want more automation, a scheduling tool allows daily, weekly or monthly backups at specified times and on specified days. You can set it to simply back up whenever you log on, too, taking the pain out of the process.

An initial document backup - 1.6GB - took around 4 hours, but the backup is incremental, so future backups are both smaller and faster.

One the web side of things, just log into your account at the Acronis site to access account settings and recover your data.

When you attempt a recovery, you'll have to go through several redirections to access the retrieval screen. Here, even if you backed up by filetype, you need to navigate a folder tree to retrieve files. You can delve deep into the tree structure to select specific folders, but you can't select an individual file.

Fortunately, there's a search function, which works well to locate folders and folders containing files of interest, and a timeline view at the bottom of the screen helps you to scroll back and forth to easily locate backups by date and time.

Compared to its closest rival, Carbonite Online Backup, Acronis Online backup isn't designed for incremental backups; instead, it works best as an offsite backup to complement the True Image Home software. That's especially true when you consider the price of the standalone.

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