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A well-established Windows backup vendor turns its attention to the Mac world.

There's a lot to be said for a full system backup of any computer, as this usually provides the fastest way of recovering from a major calamity - in the short term you can attach the backup drive to another computer so you can keep working, and then clone it back again when the original computer has been repaired or replaced.

In the Mac world, the most commonly used programs for this purpose are Carbon Copy Cloner ($44.95) and SuperDuper! ($32.64).

But last month Acronis - well-known in the Windows backup market - launched a Mac backup product called (understandably) Acronis True Image for Mac.

It's simple to use, as all you need to specify is the backup destination, how often and when you want to schedule a backup, and whether or not encryption should be used. After that, it's very much a case of 'set and forget'.

The destination can be a local drive or any other volume visible in the Finder such as a network storage device - providing it is not in FAT32 format - or Acronis's cloud storage)

We found two major downsides. Firstly, all you can do is a full backup, as there's no provision for excluding one or more folders containing bulky files that you're prepared to sacrifice (eg, because you can copy them again from a server). But to be clear, the software doesn't make a complete new backup every time it runs; rather it refreshes the previous image, keeping outdated versions of the files.

Secondly - and more importantly - the backup isn't bootable. Instead you need to create a special startup drive (an 8GB thumb drive will do) which you use to restore from the image. While there's nothing inherently wrong with proprietary backup formats, some people are much more comfortable if their backups are natively readable by OS X or whatever other operating system they use.

Continued on page 2.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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