I have also wrote a similar guide using Macrium Reflect. This software carries out the same function as Acronis, is not limited to a particular type of External Hard Drive and has a superior User-Interface. See Backing Up your Windows Installation Using Macrium Reflect (UEFI BIOS).
Free versions of Acronis can be downloaded if you have the following hardware:
- Acronis Seagate DiscWizard – Free if a SeaGate External Hard Drive or a SeaGate Internal Hard Drive is used. (Version 16-2013)
- Acronis WD Edition – Free if a WD External Hard Drive or SeaGate Internal Hard Drive is used. (Version 18-2015)
- Acronis Intel Data Migration Software – Free if an Intel SSD is used (Version 15-2012)
- Acronis TrueImage 2016 – 30 Day Trial (Version 19-2016)
In any case its recommended to have a large SeaGate/WD External hard drive for backing up your Windows installation to. If you don't you can use the 30 day free trial to backup your Windows installation and restore it.
I will focus on the SeaGate DiscWizard (Acronis Version 16) and the Acronis WD Edition (Version 18) as these are the free Editions of Acronis and since most External Hard Drives are made by either vendor. The user interface of these two versions is significantly different so I will split them into different guides.