Acronis True Image is a well-known example of back-up software and remains one of only a handful of applications that people are prepared to spend money on.

Version 11 packs in the features and there are some great aspects worth shouting about.

Back-up made easy

The Acronis Drive Cleanser, File Shredder and System Clean-up utilities protect your privacy by destroying sensitive data, cleaning up your system or securely wiping the hard drive.

Yet backup hasn't been forgotten and simple rule creation and scheduling is reduced to just a few simple steps.

Whether it's just a few regular files or your entire drive, Acronis True Image is a trusted application that means you'll stop worrying about data loss and let it do backups quietly in the background. However, our experience with the latest version wasn't without problems.

Make sure you update!

With previous knowledge of Acronis at hand, the task of transferring our backups onto a new drive should have been straightforward. So imagine our surprise as we were met with the horror of a stumbling backup. Our first back-up file, which weighed in at around 80GB, froze at just 42 per cent transferred.

Cancelling the backup and starting again proved ineffective. A restart of Vista was the only option, but with the external drive freshly formatted we encountered the same problem.

A quick search of the Acronis online forums informed us that we weren't alone in this freezing back-up scenario. With patience wearing thin we followed the advice of an Acronis representative on the forum and downloaded the latest update (Build 8053) and the newest Acronis drivers.

Taking this action resolved our data disaster. Multiple backups later and we can safely say that True Image 11 is as good as we remembered the program to be. Yet we find it discouraging that these errors could only be resolved by trawling a forum and downloading an update.

Frankly, flaws like this shouldn't occur in a retail-ready version.

Test software safely

With a full backup safely under way we were able to explore Acronis True Image 11 further and we were impressed by its power and straightforward approach.

Backing up an entire PC was a speedy and painless task, and Acronis even strips out unnecessary temporary files and folders along the way. The new Try & Decide feature enables you to test new software or browse the Web in a protected environment.

At the end of the session you decide whether to keep or discard the changes made to your system and carry on. It's another level of back-up protection that'll keep your system running.

Acronis are on the ball

It's frustrating that, out of the box, Acronis True Image 11 has a crucial fault.

We all expect software to be updated to fix minor problems, but when it drastically affects the main function then you're bound to you feel let down, especially if you've spent hours trying to make an update.

To its credit Acronis has fixed the error, although it could advertise this fact more prominently on its Web site.