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Windows 7: Optimal Acronis 2010 back up method?

04 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7 Professional (x64)
Optimal Acronis 2010 back up method?

I'm currently using the incremental backup method with the create a new full backup after 7 incremental backups. I was wondering if the automatic consolidation was a faster choice. From my understanding, once your backups get to the set number, Acronis will consolidate them all into one file then start the process over again.

So basically, after the backups get to a set number, is creating a full new backup better or consolidating them all back to one? (I'd like to be able to set it and forget it)

My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Dec 2009   #2


If you use incremental backups in an Acronis Secure Zone the first backup will be wiped as space runs out. Since that is usually one of your most important images you're better off to keep it somewhere safer, on an external drive, somewhere on your network etc.

I don't use incrementals. I do full backups and store them in two seperate places for safety. Hard drive space is cheap enough these days
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2009   #3

Windows 7 Professional (x64)

Thanks for the response, but that's not how I understand it. The first backup for incremental is always a full backup, then all subsequent backups will be incremental until the set number chosen. Each subsequent backup depends of the first full backup and any previous subsequent backups. This is where I configured it to delete them all and start over with a new full backup.

But again, my question is whether consolidating them all will save time over another full backup...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Dec 2009   #4


I see no point in incrementals, personally.

But since you haven't said whether you're using a secure zone or not the behaviour you're asking about may vary depending on the physical volume/partition size and the amount of data you're backing up.

If Acronis TI 2010 behaves like the prior builds the earliest backup in secure zone can get wiped as the available space shrinks.

From the help file...

Setting automatic consolidation
Automatic consolidation of a backup archive is enabled by setting the overall limitations for the archive. These limitations include:

a maximum number of backups
a maximum storage period for the archive files
a maximum archive size
By default there are no limits set and automatic consolidation is not performed. To enable automatic consolidation, you must select at least one of the limits and either leave its default value or change it according to your needs.

If limits are set, then after creating a backup the program checks the archive for quota violations, such as exceeding a pre-set maximum number of gigabytes set aside for backups and, if any limitation is exceeded, consolidates the oldest backups. For example, if you've pre-set your archive to store 50GB of backup files and your backups reach 55GB, you have exceeded a quota and the system will respond automatically based on rules that you've already set. This operation creates a temporary file and thus requires disk space. Consider also that the quota must be violated so that the program can detect the violation. Therefore, to be able to consolidate the files, the program needs some space on the disk in excess of the archive quota. The extra amount of space can be estimated as the size of the largest backup in the archive.

In case of setting a limit on the number of backups, the actual number of backups can exceed the maximum number of backups by one. This enables the program to detect quota violation and start consolidation. Similarly, if you pre-set a backups storage period, for example, 30 days, the program will start consolidation when the oldest backup is stored for 31 days.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2009   #5

Windows 7 Professional (x64)

I'm not using a secure zone. It backs up up to my external HDD. And I've skimmed over the instruction manual. (I've never seen one so tedious to read)

Since I backup every day at 7AM, an incremental backup only takes less than 5 minutes. I don't want it backing up my whole hard drive every day which would take 45 minutes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2009   #6


Each to their own, and Acronis TI is quite flexible. I use RAID (plus synched' NAS is in the pipeline) on my archives and only keep the OS and Program files on the boot drive; therefore the data I need to have 'restorable' is far less than that you may face if your archives are also on the primary disk/partition.

Everything you need is quite clearly covered in the help files, and there is a dedicated Acronis TI forum which you could also take a look at
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2009   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit

I don't bother with incrementals either and in fact don't use imaging to back up my personal data.

Hugh: just as a point of reference, how many GB data is Acronis backing up for you in a 45 minute full backup? I haven't used Acronis in a while, but I know that Macrium backs up my 22 GB system in maybe 5 minutes. I'm not sure if Acronis is faster or slower?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2009   #8

Windows 7 Professional (x64)

I'm backing up maybe 100GB and it takes 30-45 minutes though I didn't really count.

So does anyone that uses the backups consolidation option know the answer to my question?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2009   #9

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit

I don't have an answer to your question, but I too ONLY do full backups. I keep two backup copies on my backup drive - the current back up and the previous backup (the previous backup is there in case Murphy's Law comes into practice and there would be a hard drive crash while doing the backup). Where I worked, before I retired, we tried incremental backups on our servers and ran into a lot of problems trying to keep track of all the backups and it turned out it took more time to restore with all the incremental backups. They switched to only doing full backups (every night on the severs) and that eliminated any potential confusion and also sped up restoring if it was needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2009   #10

Windows 7 Professional (x64)

Ok guys, I'll might go the full backup only route as time goes by but I just installed Acronis and want to test things out. Besides, if you guys only do full backups, Windows can create a system image in the exact same way. The only advantage Acronis seems to have is that it compresses the full image.

Also, with Acronis, I'd like to replace both the Windows System Image function as well as the System Restore function.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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