Comparisons And Contrasts
From the system (C:) drive on our test machine, we started with a disk image that was 19.87 GB in size. Norton produced the smallest image file on disk after backup at 7.25 GB (about 63.5% compression) with Acronis not too far behind at 8.37 GB (about 58.9% compression). Windows trailed pretty far behind at 14 GB (a relatively paltry 29.5% compression).
Relative Times for Backup Creation
When it comes to backup creation time, none of the tools was incredibly slow. Acronis came out on top at 8:53, with Norton 50 seconds behind at 9:43 (about 9.6% slower). Again, Windows finished last at 10:56 (2:03 behind Acronis and 1:13 slower than Norton).
Relative Times for Image Restores
Desktop Summary And Conclusions
All three approaches to bare metal backup for Vista work reasonably well. As you’d expect, you get more bells and whistles for the extra money you spend on Ghost or Acronis, than you do with the Windows Vista offering. But as our measurements show, the Vista tool is not completely shabby when it comes to basic backup and restore, even to bare metal. What you have to ask yourself is if the improved features and added capabilities you get with the other two products justify their added cost. We think so - we use Acronis on product equipment, and Ghost on test machines - but that’s something you must decide for yourself.