Oklahoma Bar Journal

Small Office Image/Backup With Acronis True Image

By John Brewer

The traditional reason to back up a computer is because things go “bump in the night.” Hard drives are mechanical and will fail, it is only a question of when. Data may get corrupted for various reasons. Malware may infect a computer. Ransomware is increasing its footprint. This article addresses one approach to image and back up a small office computer system using Acronis True Image as the image/backup software. However, other software can be used. This article does not address the issue of storing data in the cloud and the issues that might be associated with Microsoft Office 365. The article is based on using the standalone version of Microsoft Office 2013.

The following is an overview of a sample small office setup where three computers are used.

Computer number one is a legacy computer. The operating system is Windows XP Professional with service pack three. It has legacy software installed on it and a 3.5-inch floppy drive just in case it might be needed in the future. The computer connects to the office network with a USB wireless device (often called a dongle). The computer has a standalone version of Acronis True Image installed and is generally powered down and not connected to the internet for security reasons.

The primary workstation has Windows 10 Professional installed as the operating system. It has two hard drives. Drive one has a single C partition that has the operating system and applications installed. Drive two has two partitions. The E partition has copies of applications and is generally a static partition except when new applications are archived to it. The F partition is the data partition. This computer has the subscription version of Acronis True Image installed. The subscription version comes with 50 GB of online storage, but more storage is available at a small cost. The annual subscription with 50 GB of online storage costs $20 per year.

It is important to have two drives so the data partition will not be affected if drive one becomes corrupted or fails. In addition, it is easier to back up the data partition if the data is not commingled with the operating system and applications.

The secondary workstation also has Windows 10 Professional installed. The drive is a Samsung SSD. This workstation is used for office assistance and bulk scanning with a Fujitsu scanner. The standalone version of Acronis True Image is installed on this computer. It is a one-time cost until upgraded. Data that is generated by this computer is saved across the network to the F partition on the primary workstation.

The following is an example of an image/backup routine.

The legacy computer is a full image on a one- time basis with Acronis True Image since the computer is basically static.

The secondary workstation is imaged fully once a week to an external drive with the standalone version of Acronis True Image.

The primary workstation is imaged fully once a week to an external drive with the subscription version of Acronis True Image. In addition, the data files are backed up daily to online storage. Differential and incremental routines are also possible, but a full image once a week and daily backup of the data files is used for this example.

Once a month after the first of the month, the latest Acronis True Image files are copied to a portable USB drive and taken off-site.

This is a relatively inexpensive image/backup routine with versatility since Acronis True Image also has additional tools.

This article uses the terms image and backup. It is submitted the terms differ in their meaning. Acronis True Image makes an image of the hard drive rather than a conventional backup of selected data files. The difference can be explained as follows. A system image is an exact copy of everything on the computer’s hard drive. It can be used to restore the system after a catastrophic crash, hard disk failure, etc. A full backup contains data files, but not everything on the disk, and it cannot be used to restore the system.

Acronis True Image can perform both routines – it can image the drive and backup the data files.

Acronis True Image can be purchased at www.acronis.com or at a discount at www.ugr7.com. The vendor at ugr7 is recommended. There is a wealth of information on the website regarding the use of Acronis True Image and other Acronis products. There is a new version of the yearly subscription called Acronis True Image New Generation that costs more but has added features and comes with one TB of online storage.

John Brewer is a solo practitioner in Oklahoma City. He graduated from the OU College of Law in 1974 and is a long-time member of the OBA Law Office Management and Technology Section.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- OBJ 88 pg. 1545 (Aug. 19, 2017)