Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Acronis TrueImage Home is a cost-effective, easy to use, reliable backup software solution.
I've temporarily suspended my recommendation of Acronis TrueImage Home.
This isn't a disrecommendation, per se, but rather a reflection of my discomfort continuing to recommend it at this time. Based on reader feedback and on what I'm seeing in the Acronis support forums I'm reluctant to recommend recent versions to the average consumer.
If you're using Acronis you don't need to switch. Most issues appear to be installation and customer support related. While I might recommend confirming that you can access the contents of your backed up files, that's a recommendation I make for all backup software.
If you're looking for an alternative, or for new backup software my current recommendation is Macrium Reflect.
As long time readers know, I frequently mention backing up as one of the biggest and most important missed opportunities that too many people are overlooking to protect themselves. And I get reports every day of people who've lost important data, sometimes everything, that a simple backup solution would have protected them against.
If you're still without a backup solution I recommend Acronis True Image Home as an easy to use solution for anyone who should be backing up but isn't. Acronis is easy to set up, can back up files and folders, or your entire machine, and can similarly restore individual files and folders, or your an entire machine image, quickly and easily.
When used with an external hard drive, Acronis True Image can be a nearly "set it and forget it" backup solution.
In fact, it's what's running on the very machine I'm using as I write this.
My recommendation for backup software has always been, much like a physical exercise program, "anything you will actually do". Almost any backup solution is better than no backup solution.
But in reality, some backup solutions are definitely better than others. While there are many good backup programs out there, after having used Acronis TrueImage for a couple of years myself now, I feel confident recommending it as a solution you should consider.
In my particular case, I have it configured to perform a full backup of my primary machine once a month, and an incremental backup (copying only things that changed since the previous backup) once a night. That allows me to do two very important things:
I can revert my entire machine to the exact state it was in on any given day a backup was taken. This is real system restore - not just a few things, but everything is backed up including files, settings and anything I didn't think to save in some other special way. Everything. Acronis allows you to burn a boot CD, from which you can then restore your entire hard disk from the backups you've made.
I can retrieve one or more files from any of those backups as well. As long as a file was captured by one of those backups (and everything is captured) I can always find it. Acronis actually lets you mount the backups you've taken, and with a Windows Explorer interface search and then copy files directly out of the backups back to your machine.
Like I said, I get reports of data loss in one form or another every day: emails gone, family pictures lost, important documents irrecoverable. And all that loss could have been prevented with a backup solution in place.
The sad truth is that most people don't learn this lesson until it's too late. Most people decide that they need a backup solution only after they've suffered some kind of loss. And that loss is often significantly more expensive than the backup solution would have been.
And Acronis TrueImage is not expensive. I'll bet that it's significantly less expensive than losing your important or irreplaceable files.
The setup that I use works very well with an external USB hard drive. I happen to have an external 250 gigabyte drive on my desktop machine, to which these nightly backups happen without any thought on my part. Again, external drives have come down dramatically in price, and the capacity just seems to be going up and up.
It's worth it.
Try Acronis TrueImage today.
I recommend it.