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I have used Acronis TrueImage whole-disk backups for a long time, and they've saved me on numerous occasions. The ease of restoring a system when you have a 3 day old full image of C:\ is just astonishing.

Recently I started using TrueCrypt whole disk encryption on my laptop, just in case it gets stolen. Unfortunately Acronis can only back this up sector-by-sector, which is insane: my old backups were 10 GB in size; my new backups would be 120 GB consisting mostly of encrypted empty space.

Leaving aside questions such as why TrueImage can't read the decrypted sectors when the NTFS driver clearly can, I am now after a program that can do the smart thing with TrueCrypt whole disk systems. I don't care if it's pay-for (unless it's something insane).

Any recommendations? Reminder: I already have a tool to do sector-by-sector backups, so I'm only interested in tools that can do better than that.

  • OS: Win7 32-bit
  • True Image: Home 2010
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what's your operational system, where do you make your backup ? –  woliveirajr Aug 26 '11 at 13:31
    
@wol added to the question –  romkyns Aug 27 '11 at 8:19

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I am using Acronis True Image too and I also have whole disk encryption in place and I make sure to backup my files almost daily. What could be irritating is that you can't backup the full drive but if you switch to the partition panel you should be able to select all partitions individually and then proceed to backup your drive just like you did before. Still you should store your backups on another encrypted drive as the backup files themselves will be unencrypted.

By the way I am using Win 7 (x64) SP 1 with TC 7.0a and Acronis True Image Home 2011 v14.0.0.6574

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Hm, I see. So it works on 2011, apparently. 2010 just locks up. It sees the partitions just fine, but doesn't get very far once backup begins. If only I didn't hate the rearranged UI of 2011 quite so badly... –  romkyns Aug 27 '11 at 8:16
    
Acronis state it's not supported at all so I didn't expect True Image 2011 to work differently to 2010. I've verified that it works in 2011 though. Thanks! –  romkyns Aug 27 '11 at 21:56
    
glad I could help you –  Christian Smorra Aug 29 '11 at 10:51

Simplest approach of all:

Use the version of Acronis Workstation that supports AES encryption of image files, and create your images from within Windows, using the Acronis operation "Backup My Data" (and not "Backup My Computer").

That way, your backups are also secured.

That said, it would be a good idea not to encrypt your system disk, because I couldn't imagine how to add TrueCrypt to the Acronis Rescue CD. The Acronis CD is a Linux boot CD and could possibly be hacked to do TrueCrypt, but this is not a trivial task.

I would therefore suggest not to use TrueCrypt whole disk encryption, but rather to partition the disk into two parts : system and data, where data is TrueCrypt.

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The simplest approach doesn't work. TrueCrypt locks up the entire PC when I try to create an image from within Windows. Acronis actually state explicitly that they don't support this kind of thing - presumably they read the disk using methods that are incompatible with the TrueCrypt decryption driver for some reason. –  romkyns Aug 27 '11 at 8:14
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Also, I think it is a good idea to encrypt the system disk on any laptop that can get lost... :) –  romkyns Aug 27 '11 at 8:15
    
One can get the same effect via a BIOS password with less problems, if the system disk is not encrypted. With today's PCs, these passwords are not easy to erase. –  harrymc Aug 27 '11 at 17:57
    
I'm not sure if I understand you correctly, but isn't that trivially circumvented by simply removing the HDD from the "password-protected" laptop? Which is something that a thief would be very likely to do? –  romkyns Aug 27 '11 at 21:55
    
I suggest partitioning the disk into two : system and data, where data uses TrueCrypt, or putting the TrueCrypt disk in a file. If someone takes your disk he cannot get at the data, and Windows itself is useless for him. If the entire computer is stolen, then the BIOS password will make it impossible to use. –  harrymc Aug 28 '11 at 6:44

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