62741: Acronis True Image: rotating backup destination disks requires separate backup plans per destination disk

Introduction

This article describes how to set up Acronis True Image so that backups are saved to two or more external disks, which could be swapped or rotated on regular basis. For example, backup to disk A on even weeks and backup to disk B on odd weeks. The disk that is not used on a given week is usually kept in a different physical location as an extra layer of protection.

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Background

Consider an example: you have 1 backup task and 2 or more external drives as destination, which you want to swap regularly. You expect that another drive with the same drive letter will be recognized in Acronis True Image as destination automatically, but backup fails with the error message about missing backup destination. The backup failure in this case is expected program behavior.

Each drive has a unique identifier (not to be confused with drive letter), which is saved in the program’s database when a new backup task is created. When you plug in another hard drive and try to run backup in the old task, it won’t be recognized as the backup destination even if the drive letter is the same, because the unique identifier of the new drive is different and doesn't match the information in the database for this task.

Solution

Because Acronis True Image is positioned as a product for home use, the scenario of swapping destination disks is not supported out of the box, but it can be implemented as follows:

  1. Rotating external disks with backups requires that each disk that is being rotated has its own backup plan. For example, if there are 3 disks where you store backups, of which only 1 is used at a time, there must be 3 backup plans, each targeting the corresponding disk of the three.
  2. If there are earlier created backups, which you would like to continue, make sure they do not span across multiple disks. If they do, delete them in Acronis True Image using the context menu option "Delete", then "Delete entirely".
  3. Each backup plan shall be created when the respective destination disk is connected, and the rest of the disks are disconnected.
  4. Name each backup plan differently.
  5. Do not use "Clone settings" option - create each plan from scratch.
  6. Distribute the schedule for backups so each backup plan will be executed only on days and time, when the corresponding disk is connected. E.g."Monthly" - "Every third Tuesday".

More information

Advanced users can script logic to automatically choose the right backup plan to launch, depending on which disk is currently connected. Acronis does not provide technical assistance with such scenarios. An example is given on Acronis forum by Steve Smith.

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