Acronis True Image 2016 is the backbone of my personal backup strategy and has been for several years. The convenient combination of backup, disk image and clone disk tools in one package makes Acronis a fine choice for personal as well as small business use.

This review of Acronis True Image 2016 for PC and Mac features comparisons with Acronis True Image 2015 as well as my experiences with the design changes of the user interface, new features and increase in performance.

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What’s new?

  • Facelift of the user interface
  • Improved performance claim
  • Optimized Windows 10 support
  • Language options
  • Additional integration of Acronis True Image Cloud

The main features of ATI 2016 are:

  • File backup (Including automated backup)
  • Disc image creation/system backup
  • Clone disc
  • Acronis Cloud (Must be purchased separately)

Video review and backup tutorial ▼

Acronis 2016 Video Review and Tutorial

Putting Acronis True Image 2016 to the test

I really appreciate the updated user interface which I feel is more clear and easy to navigate than the 2015 edition. I was not too crazy about the pale font coloring scheme in certain areas of Acronis True Image 2015. Light grey font colors seem to be the new black these days, in software as well as web design. When did readable text go out of style?

Anyway, readable text is back in all areas – check!

The horizontal backup creation selection menu at the bottom has been replaced with vertically stacked and centered buttons. A small, but welcome change.

Acronis True Image 2016 source selection

Acronis True Image 2016 source selection

Acronis 2015 horisontal selection menu

Acronis True Image 2015 source selection

Core features are unchanged but still going strong

Apart from the somewhat confusing “Entire PC” backup feature, I was happy to see that nothing has changed in the areas of file backup, disc image creation and clone disc.

All the good old scheduling, backup schemes and advanced features have made it into the 2016 release unchanged. For an in-depth demonstration, I suggest my extensive demonstration of these features in my Acronis True Image 2016 video review and tutorial.

The tools tab is pretty much unchanged as well and it still includes the great clone disc tool. I used the clone disc feature when I upgraded my SSD drive recently. It worked like a charm which I will show you in an upcoming article and video demonstration.

One new, or rather re-included, program from the “more tools” tab is the Try & Decide application. This is a “sandbox” feature where you can test files and software without the risk of contaminating your operating system. (I have not used this program).

Increased backup speed?

Acronis has announced improved backup performance with this release. So I decided to create a test run to compare the performance of Acronis True Image 2015 and 2016. I created a backup of my work folder which contained roughly 50 GB of data. My computer is a 2013 generation i7 PC and the backup was created from a SSD drive to a traditional Hard Drive.

With Acronis True Image 2016, I created the file backup in 13 minutes which is not bad at all.

I then re-installed my 2015 edition and had it create the exact same backup with the same performance and system priority settings. To my surprise it was faster by one minute!

An absolutely negligible difference, but it seems that Acronis True Image 2015 is still going strong.

Time and progress estimation is inconsistent

Two minutes into the backup test of Acronis 2016, the time estimation counter pronounced, “less than one minute remaining”, even though the backup took another 11 minutes.

In comparison, the progress bar was off by approximately 50 percent.

Even though this does not affect the duration or functionality of the backup, it´s actually rather strange since this feature was not working so well in the 2015 release either. I am surprised that an error like that makes it into a big new software release.

However, I am not too bothered by this shortcoming. I know roughly the amount of data that I´m backing up and the “processed GB” indication offers an indication of how long it will take.

But still, if I was Acronis I would either fix this feature or leave it out. It does kind of stain the experience.

Update 19-09-2015!

When using the image creation feature of Acronis True Image 2016, both the time estimation and progress bar work as you would expect. In this case the disks and partitions option was used.

Acronis 2016 toolbarAcronis cloud integration

The additional Acronis True Image Cloud integration feels like clutter when you are not actually using these features. I would have liked to see the extra tabs added after an actual purchase of the Acronis Cloud product.

Language option package

International users will surely appreciate this new feature. Acronis True Image 2016 now offers a generous selection of interface languages, namely:

English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czeck, Cestina, Russian and a number of oriental languages.

Narrow scrollbars

Picking the narrow scrollbars in Acronis 2015 did occasionally demand a steady hand. I was somewhat disappointed to see that they are still quite narrow when I discovered a very fine new detail by coincidence.

Yes, the scrollbars are still narrow, but you can now simply click and drag the selection areas up and down. Simply left click a part of the white space, hold down the mouse button and drag.

That was a nice little surprise!

Click & drag feature

Confusing mix-up of backup concepts remains

As much as I like this backup software, I still think the “Entire PC” backup mindset is quite misleading.

In my opinion a backup and a disc image are fundamentally different things and a 1:1 comparison can be confusing to users who are unfamiliar with disc images. The term “Entire PC” sounds deceptively convenient. I would like the difference between system and file backup to be more transparent in the next Acronis True Image edition.

Why not stick with the perfectly adequate term “Disc Image” for this functionality? After all, this feature has always been a core feature of Acronis True Image and is indeed still part of the brand name.

Example:

When I choose “Entire PC”, I need to “backup” more than 5 TB of data because I use several hard drives in my computer. In this kind of scenario, the feature is reserved for someone with a lot of available storage and a lot of patience. Also, since this would include my operating system it would result in a terrible mess.

Entire PC backup option

For users with laptops or computers with one hard drive, the feature is certainly more manageable. But please note that the “Entire PC”, as well as the “discs and partitions” option is the disc image feature of Acronis True Image.

This kind of backup includes your operating system and everything else on your system drive. If you need to recover that backup at some point, it will set you back in time to the day when you created your “Entire PC” backup/disk image. This includes software installs, software settings, OS updates, Antivirus definitions etc.

The traditional file backup feature is the “Files and Folders” option!

New Acronis True Image users

People looking for new and better backup software will be extremely well served with this seasoned backup software. Acronis True Image 2016 will be a strong part of your home office or personal backup strategy. Having a backup software package that includes disk image and clone disc features is extremely convenient.

Should you upgrade?

Yes ►

  • If your current version is 2014 and older, I highly recommend Acronis True Image 2016 for its core backup and disk image features.
  • If you like the new look and feel compared to your 2015 or older Acronis True Image edition
  • If you wish to use Acronis in one of the mentioned languages
  • If you are a cloud storage user and wish to integrate Acronis True Image Cloud in your backup strategy.
  • If you plan to upgrade to Windows 10

No ►

  • If you like your 2015 edition and do not wish to subscribe to Acronis cloud. However, if you want to keep your upgrade discount option going it could be worth considering the upgrade.

To answer my own question in the title: Facelift or big release?

As a non-cloud user, I have to call Acronis True Image 2016 a facelift release, but with a vague “little bit of both” footnote since I really like the updated user interface. A user of the Acronis Cloud product may appreciate the additional cloud features. (I have never experienced Acronis Cloud).

To use the “Tik-Tok” terminology of technology release cycles, Acronis True Image 2015 was indeed a “Tok” release and in my humble opinion 2016 is a “Tik” release.

  • Tik = Small update with bug fixes and few new features.
  • Tok = Large update into new territory with many new features.

Conclusion

I was happy to see that my favorite backup and disc image features are unchanged. I always enjoy working with Acronis True Image and it remains my backup software of choice.

The fact that the backup time estimation feature is not only inaccurate but plainly not working is strange and somewhat disappointing since this was already an issue in Acronis True Image 2015. I hope this will be fixed in an update soon.

Since I am not a cloud storage user, the main menu of Acronis True Image 2016 feels a little cluttered with the added cloud tabs. It is somewhat irritating that so many menu tabs are off limits.

A plug-in style integration of the Acronis Cloud product would have been the way to go.

Pros

  • I really like the new look and feel and I certainly appreciate the return of clearly readable text.
  • The program still offers a very intuitive and convenient backup workflow.
  • Strong collection of features in one place. Backup, Disc Image Creation and Clone disc is a nice collection of tools to have in one package.
  • A new interface language selection.
  • New click and drag feature added to support the scroll bars

Cons

  • Time and progress estimation is inconsistent.
  • Faster backup performance was not my experience.
  • The “Entire PC” backup feature is misleading.
  • The additional Acronis Cloud tabs feel like clutter for non-cloud users.