Backup Procedures and Acronis SW

EE Pros,

I have two questions about proper backup procedures;

1.) I have the choice of simply backing up my data files or copying them over to another drive.  If I copy them, I can then access them remotely from my external drive that is connected to my router.  If I back them up using Acronis I cannot see the file but simply restore it.  What's the advantage of backup software such as Acronis?  Is it so I can do automatic backups that only back up changes...thus saving time?  Or is it for some other reason?

2.) With Acronis, I can clone a system.  Does this mean that I can restore the exact system with data and applications on another PC?  Don't the hardware chips or PC components have to be exactly the same?

Thank you in advance,

Who is Participating?
rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you just copy the files as they are, you can modify them directly on the backup location, so after that they are different from the original and no backup anymore. For a proper backup it is important that the backups can't be changed before you restore the files.

Even with acronis you should be able to mount the backup image and then see it's contents.

Cloning a system means that you are making a 1:1 copy of the disk to another disk. You can then boot that disk as you would the original. If I'm not mistaken acronis includes an option "restore to disimilar hardware" or something similar. That means it removes drivers etc and you can boot the cloned OS using different hardware. It will just reinstall the drivers etc when you first boot.
Emil_GrayConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can mount an image with Acronis True Image 2014 and access it as an ordinary disc.
Bright01Author Commented:
Sorry to expand the question;  

Is an "image" the same thing as a "clone"?  Or is it simply the backup (not copy)?

It is a backup image. My personal preference is cloning the entire disc to use as a back up. An image and a clone are two different animals.
Acronis and other similar backup utilities (I prefer those made by paragon) backup into image files called "image files". It isn't the same thing as a clone. A clone is as a said a 1:1 copy of disk and is directly usable again. and the image file is one file which contains all the backed up data. It has to be restored before it can be used. The contents of the cloned disk and the image file though are the same.
Bright01Author Commented:
Thank you guys!  I'll take your advise and make a Clone of my System.

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