This week I worked on a friend's Dell Dimension 2400. I installed and nearly fully tested the newest Home version of Acronis True Image, called 2009. Specifically it's v12 build 9615, which is the Final, non-beta build. First the bad, or really only not great. The first is so minor it's really not that bad. I always configure True Image on everyone's computer to run CCleaner before every backup. At least some versions of True Image, including the Workstation versions I've been using and this new Home version, have this capability built in to run commands before or after backups and/or restores. When I use it's browse dialog to navigate and select to the command I want it to run, I used to just be able to point it to the CCleaner shortcut I would at least initially have on everyone's desktop. The desktop was easy to navigate to since it was a one-click selection from the initial browse. Acronis has always appeared to use custom dialogs and they still do but the dialog has changed and the Desktop is no longer listed. Now I have to navigate to C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCleaner.exe which isn't terrible, it's just more steps and I was spoiled by a relatively simple thing. Another thing which is actually bad and confusing, although a techie like me doesn't mind it as much as some might is that in the dialogs specific to choosing backup archives, whether it's to create or validate one, it doesn't actually list the existing archive filenames. You have to browse to the folder you want and then type the name of the archive. It will offer to auto-complete the filename as you type so that helps, but it should list the names of the archive in the actual dialog like True Image has for a long, long time. Hopefully this is just an oversight that will be corrected with a future build. Separate from the above issue, I've had mixed results switching an existing task from creating incremental archives to full. This new True Image has plenty of features which are designed to actually make it easier to choose incremental filenames, but at first choosing a new full filename worked for me, and then much later it would appear to work but it actually hadn't and on further review the dialog had switched back to incremental, and still based on the old archive name. Another relatively minor issue. The emergency CD version of this True Image, including when Windows has to reboot in order to perform an operation, looked like real crap color and readability-wise. I suspect it was just either a misdetection of the computer's built-in Intel 845 video and/or the LCD screen I had it connected to. I will verify later if it looks much better on one of my other computers with real, and more modern video cards. UPDATE: Tried the emergency CD on my home-built HTPC and the color and readability was just fine, so it was as I suspected, either the older and cheap built-in Intel 845 motherboard graphics and/or the LCD screen I was using in conjunction with it. Another UPDATE: FYI the emergency CD still does not handle ATI (really Promise underneath it all) RAID such as that included in the 690G chipset. Oh well. Also bad but expected. The new .tib format (Acronis' archive format) isn't compatible with even the fairly recent True Image Echo Workstation v9.5. I don't know about it's compatibility with the other recent True Image Home versions, 11 and 10. Hopefully a new more up to date Workstation version will be released that is compatible, because only Workstation and Server editions offer the Universal Restore feature which make it much easier to restore a backup to totally different hardware such as if your motherboard failed and had to be replaced. These are all the bad things I've noticed so far. Now the good. The interface is completely done over. True Image has never looked like this. Some option dialogs look familiar because they house the same options as previous versions, but the actual interface is new. I haven't tried this under Vista yet but my experience even with True Image Echo Workstation v9.5, both under XP and Vista the program would sometimes take a long time to get through it's drive analysis it would perform when you first load the program. Sometimes it would take 10-15 minutes at it's worst. The new True Image (albeit not a Workstation version) does it's analysis during a splash-screen stage, a la Acronis Disk Director. It does it very quickly too, but again I haven't tried it on Vista nor on any of my more complex multi-partition machines. I don't know if this is good or bad, but when it created an emergency CD, it only has the Full version listed, not a Safe version like previous True Image versions had. Sometimes these Safe versions would work on hardware the Full versions wouldn't. Hopefully this means the Full version can be expected to work just as well on everything. Time will tell. If you have Disk Director installed when creating an emergency CD, the Rescue Media creator still offers to put the Full and Safe versions of it on the CD along with True Image. The task section is much improved. I haven't seen an explicit "Clone task" option like I've seen at least in recent Workstation versions, but perhaps that can be had by right-clicking an existing task and choosing to create a new task from there. Haven't tried it yet. What is there that didn't used to be is a visual calendar-based log which shows what dates backups were successfully created on. It makes it much easier to traverse current and previous backups, incorporating the log with the actual tasks. You have to see it and try it to really know what's going on. Also much improved is the dialog system for actually creating tasks. First, beyond a first few required dialogs, from there you can skip to the end dialog if you know everything else should remain the same. You can also skip around to all of the various option dialogs once the required dialogs are done. You no longer have to see dialogs you don't want to. For a person who uses True Image an awful lot and is usually in a hurry, this is terrific and works well. Also at the end dialog (called Summary) it includes a checkbox which offers to run the task immediately when you are done with the Summary dialog. Saves a step after it closed the dialog in previous versions. In this particular test of True Image on this computer, I was creating all my backups over my home network to another computer. This worked extremely well and fast with True Image Home 2009. Not only this but in the past when trying to restore a backup from a network location, I don't recall if I ever had a satisfactory result. I seem to recall getting through most of the restore but then it failing towards the end. Also, I was able to configure the restore from the network location under Windows and when it rebooted to actually perform the restore, it successfully did so using it's built-in Linux version (same as the emergency CD) without any further interaction from me. I believe previous versions I tested like this failed too. One thing I haven't tried is having this version create and/or restore backups directly to CD or DVD. In those cases and with all versions, I DEFINITELY had consistently bad results on every single piece of hardware I ever tried, which spans many generations. There might have been ONE successful attempt at this with previous versions. If this versions improvements are any indicator, I really hope that this feature works consistently now. This also applies to backups and restores to and from external USB drives, although I know someone who has successfully done so all the time with his particular hardware. I also haven't used this versions' Acronis Secure Zone because the hard drive was only 40GB. I have no reason to suspect they might have ruined this feature and it always worked great in the past. I know this new version has new configurable automatic features to consolidate old incremental backups by various trigger events, but I haven't tried this yet either. One thing I do wish True Image would do but haven't seen yet is the ability to split an existing archive into smaller archive sizes. Not an annoyance that often, but once in a blue moon. Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5.