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Most backup software solutions have proprietary software. Trial versions can often help out in a situation like this.

Leo, I'm stuck! I'm using Acronis True Image Home 2010 on my laptop. I have a serious problem with the laptop which means it has gone to a friend of mine to reinstall the operating system and it can take over a month knowing how he works. I have a desktop (an X64 Dell) on which I use Microsoft Office 2007. I've plugged my external drive into this desktop and it's unable to read the Acronis backup. The reason that I did not install the backup software on this machine is I can't find the installation CD. Any advice on how I can restore these files on to the Dell desktop which has no Acronis installed? Otherwise, I'm messed up big time!

In this excerpt from Answercast #16, I discuss the way that programs such as Acronis store their data and what's needed to retrieve files to a different system.

Accessing backed up data

Unfortunately (and this is true for many commercial backup programs; for many common backup programs), they tend to save information in proprietary formats. Acronis uses the .tib file; Macrium Reflect uses an .mrimg file.

Those are proprietary in the sense that they're really only readable by the programs from the manufacturer that created them in the first place.

So, I don't know of a way of reading that file without Acronis installed.

Trial versions

That being said, you may be able to get away with using a trial version of Acronis.

I believe they still offer a 30-day trial. All you really need is a one-day trial. But the point is that there's a free trial that you should be able to download, install on your machine, extract everything you need from that .tib file, and then let the trial expire.

What about protecting the desktop?

Honestly, in a situation like that, if that's the backup software you're using, is there any reason it shouldn't be installed on your desktop?

Is your desktop getting backed up? If not, maybe this is the time to install Acronis. Then, you can not only read this .tib file from your other computer, but you can also begin backing up your desktop like you should.

End of Answercast #16 Back to - Audio Segment

Article C5329 - May 10, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

George Hinkle
May 11, 2012 10:10 AM

Acronis provides for making a bootable recovery CD that will boot to a menu of the Acronis products installed on your computer.

So, make a recovery CD, put a copy of the .tib file you want to recover on an exteral drive, go to the machine you want to restore the .tib file to and restore the file.

May 11, 2012 11:28 AM

If you have Acronis running on any machine or any friend has it, you can make a recovery CD (or DVD) that will boot a windows machine directly into Acronis without installing it. It's a form of Linux, I believe. I have several of these disks that I keep around and travel with at least one copy.

Insert CD. Boot. Find the drive with .TIB files and restore files to desired location.

It can also be done with a USB flash drive. You should make a USB or CD boot disk whenever backing up. Acronis urges you to.

Afterwards, you reboot into Windows and can now use the files you recovered using Acronis.

May 11, 2012 12:13 PM

I have used Acronis to create a system image. The image has an extension of tib. This image is on an external hard drive. I found the backup image using Windows Explorer and double clicked it, and the image file then showed the file structure of the hard drive and I navigated through the tree to where my documents were and double clicked a Word file and it opened in Word. So, I tried a few more and they all opened just as if they were on the computer's hard drive. So, the contents can be read without having Acronis running.

Mark J
May 11, 2012 12:27 PM

What you are doing by double clicking on the .tib file is causing Acronis to open the .tib file. This is done through a feature known as file association. Installing Acronis created a setting in your Windows Registry which instructs Windows to run Acronis and open that .tib file whenever you double click on it. This is similar to, for example, double clicking on a .doc or .rtf file which will open it in Word or your default word processing program. Double clicking on a .mp3 file will open the file in your default music player. In order for this to work the associated program must be installed on your computer.

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