I'm a software engineer and I'm used to pushing computers to their limits. Just my computer at home has 3 hard drives with a total of 14 partitions (I use Boot IT NG to manage so many partitions). I have installed in these disks mostly Windows 7 and Windows XP.
Acronis. A backup and restore solution is like a parachute. It either opens when you need it or it doesn't. It's as simple as that. I've been using Acronis for over 6 years and I've spent my money buying the most recent versions.
Fact: this tool never let me down and it saved my skin several times. However, this isn't to say I love the tool.
To make Acronis work for you is simple: stick to the basics, backup and restore. Acronis has a smart team of developers, but their marketing team is stupid. Every version they come up with, more senseless bells and whistles are added which just clutter their tool.
After so many years, here's a list of features that worked well and some that failed miserably. Again, this is my experience with more partitions in my computer than most users.
This "one-click" feature works great if you're buying stuff from Amazon. For backups you can't be serious. What will it back up, where will it store, and how do you recover? Sure, the answers are there but how can you understand things with a "one-click"? It's a silly marketing catch phrase that in the end never did anything useful to me. Spend a few more clicks and... do things right.
Try and Decide
This one should be called "please crash my computer". Every time I attempted to make this feature work, something went wrong. To me, this is absolutely useless and it's consistently useless across all Acronis Home versions I owned. This has never, ever worked for me.
Acronis Secure Zone.
This one has consistently worked well for me. On client computers I use the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager and it works really well. Again, a core feature that works when you need it. One drawback: it's painfully slow on larger disks with incremental backups. Here's a suggestion for the Acronis engineers:
MAKE EXISTING FEATURES PERFORM BETTER
instead of adding non-sense bells and whistles every year. With Acronis TI 2011, you can convert the ASZ from a FAT files system (old) to NTFS (newer). They claim this should help performance a bit; however, their conversion utility stops working at "33%" on my 350 GB ASZ (not all is used). So, I can't tell you if it's any faster on this version.
Another "you've got to be kidding me feature". Why would you want to do it this way? Simple: another marketing catch. This is simple: save your backup locally, validate it, THEN you upload it to the online service of your choice. Now... uploading the file "directly"? It sounds good in theory, but in reality upload speeds are slower, they drop, people use wireless (!) and you set yourself up for failure. I'm sure this works well for some people, it's just that I'm not one of them. I stay away from this one. If you save your stuff online, save it locally first.
Another feature that works well. I have several backups that run every week and Acronis does a great job emailing me the results (good or bad). These backups have worked consistently well for me over the years and they never failed me. Here's something they did right and it works well.
Recovery / Restores
This is thee acid test: does the parachute open or not? In all fairness, a restore with Acronis has never, ever failed me. I restored partitions, files, data from internal hard drives and from external ones (USB). It worked 100%, all the time. It's even smart enough to deal with the file security in Windows O/S and it even updates the boot.ini file to make Windows bootable. Smart. Useful. It's great.
All other features
I can't cover them all here without making this review 50 pages long. However, stuff like mount / un-mount images, file shredder, system clean-up, work "alright" but... they're slow. What's up with the Acronis team that their tool is "consistently" slow? How do they manage that? :-)
Again, in my opinion Acronis is going in the wrong direction trying to add more "features I don't need" to their software to make it more marketable. Instead, they should make this tool screaming fast, but it has been consistently slow over the years.
In the end: does it work? Yes, but only if you stick to the basics. Do I recommend it? Yes, but only if you stick to the basics.
I've been running TI Home 2011 on my computer at home and it seems to perform better from prior versions. The interface is now centered around backup files and this takes some getting used to. If you want to schedule a backup, it's not as obvious as before in my opinion, but it's there.
All in all, buy it if you don't have one. The price is good and the tool works, just make sure you understand what this tool is: backup and recovery. Stick to the basics. All the other stuff is almost useless to me and I guarantee you all bad reviews here have something to do with their "extra" features (Acronis just needs to get smarter). Their basic backup and recovery works well, if you can deal with slow performance (this could be because of so many partitions I have in my computer too). So your mileage may vary.