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Windows 7: Question for Acronis Users

26 Jan 2012   #1

Windows 7
 
 
Question for Acronis Users

Digging deeper into the program, I see you can configure backups to be differential or incremental. After reading the documentation on the differences, I want to make sure I am understanding those differences correctly.

My goal is to, after the initial backup, which has been done, I want to backup only when changes are made to the files/disk backup.

From what I understand, under my scenario, the best option for me would be the differential backup?

Under the differential option, it also gives an option to do a full backup after a certain number of differential backups.

I was wondering if that might also be a wise option to check, and was wondering if anyone else is using it, and what number of differential backups you have chosen before you do the full backup?

Thanks again folks for all your knowledge and help!

God bless,
Jack

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jan 2012   #2

 

Get a 'bare metal' restore point, then build complete further backup files as and when changes are made.

Incremental backup jobs can be overwritten as disk space becomes tighter, and when that happens it's the oldest (and therefore the most important one) that goes first!

Personally I make a bootable DVD with the Acronis Rescue ISO that also contains my 'bare metal' backup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2012   #3

Win7 H.Prem. 32bit+SP1
 
 

Hi Jack,
I use Acronis 2010 and only make 'One Click' back-ups. They are saved in separate folders on an external hdd named as the date they were made. I keep 3 back-ups as a safety measure, in case one fails. Creation time, 7 minutes, restore is slightly faster. As you see in my image, C: is small with plenty free space, that's because all I need access to is kept on D:
I find doing other types of back-ups confusing, restoring if needed is even more so if it's required. i.e. what one to choose for restoring.


Attached Images
 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jan 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

A differential backup always starts with a full backup. Each subsequent backup will be a backup of every file that has changed since the last full backup ran.

Example. You run the first full backup on Sunday. On Monday, you create C:\file1.txt and C:\file2.txt. When you run the backup on Monday night, it will backup all files that have changed since your last full backup on Sunday. So, the differential backup on Monday will consist of file1.txt and file2.txt. Now, lets say on Tuesday you create C:\file3.txt and C:\file4.txt. When your backup runs on Tuesday night, it will backup everything that has changed since the last full backup. So, it would include file1.txt, file2.txt, file3.txt and file4.txt. So, on Saturday , if you needed to restore absolutely everything...it would more or less restore the full backup from Sunday, and then the differential backup from Friday night (as that would contain all changes since the last full backup occurred.).

An incremental backup is different in that it only backups up the files that have changed since the last backup (notice, not full backup). So, based on the above example, on Sunday night you would get your first full backup. The backup on Monday night would include file1.txt and file2.txt. The backup on Tuesday night would only get file3.txt and file4.txt. Thus, in the event you had to fully restore everything on Saturday, it would first restore the full backup from Sunday, and then the incremental from Monday, then the incremental from Tuesday, and then the incremental from Wednesday, and the incremental from Thursday and finally the incremental from Friday night.

A differential backup is nice in that it provides the fastest restore time, but also takes the longest to backup...as all changes since the last full backup are backed up each time the backup is run. This type of backup will consume the most disk space as the subsequent differential backups on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are going to get bigger and bigger and bigger...since they contain the cumulative changes since the last full backup. So, the backup on Tuesday contains the changes from Monday and Tuesday. And the backup on Wednesday will contain the changes from Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday. So, with a differential backup, you often backup the same data over and over and over again.

An incremental backup is nice in that it provides the shortest backup time since it only gets changes since the last incremental backup, but it does lengthen the restore time as it has to restore the full as well as all subsequent incrementals along the way. This backup is going to consume the least amount of disk space as it's only the changes from each day getting backed up once.



For me personally, I only do full image backups with Acronis. My actual data files are only stored in a few folders and they aren't on my C drive. I regularly attach some USB 2 drives and run robocopy to mirror my actual data on the hard drive with the external drive. I try to always keep 1 external offsite at any time just in case I am robbed or the house burns down.

With Acronis, about once a month or so, I run an image based backup of my C drive to an external eSATA drive. This gives me a snapshot style backup of my OS and my installed applications. I just go ahead and do a full backup each time, as my C drive in an SSD and it takes less than 5 minutes to image it. < This image is just my OS and apps....so in the event that I had to restore the whole box, I would have to restore the image to get the OS and apps back, and restore from my USB drive to get my data files back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2012   #5

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
A differential backup always starts with a full backup. Each subsequent backup will be a backup of every file that has changed since the last full backup ran.

Example. You run the first full backup on Sunday. On Monday, you create C:\file1.txt and C:\file2.txt. When you run the backup on Monday night, it will backup all files that have changed since your last full backup on Sunday. So, the differential backup on Monday will consist of file1.txt and file2.txt. Now, lets say on Tuesday you create C:\file3.txt and C:\file4.txt. When your backup runs on Tuesday night, it will backup everything that has changed since the last full backup. So, it would include file1.txt, file2.txt, file3.txt and file4.txt. So, on Saturday , if you needed to restore absolutely everything...it would more or less restore the full backup from Sunday, and then the differential backup from Friday night (as that would contain all changes since the last full backup occurred.).

An incremental backup is different in that it only backups up the files that have changed since the last backup (notice, not full backup). So, based on the above example, on Sunday night you would get your first full backup. The backup on Monday night would include file1.txt and file2.txt. The backup on Tuesday night would only get file3.txt and file4.txt. Thus, in the event you had to fully restore everything on Saturday, it would first restore the full backup from Sunday, and then the incremental from Monday, then the incremental from Tuesday, and then the incremental from Wednesday, and the incremental from Thursday and finally the incremental from Friday night.

A differential backup is nice in that it provides the fastest restore time, but also takes the longest to backup...as all changes since the last full backup are backed up each time the backup is run. This type of backup will consume the most disk space as the subsequent differential backups on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are going to get bigger and bigger and bigger...since they contain the cumulative changes since the last full backup. So, the backup on Tuesday contains the changes from Monday and Tuesday. And the backup on Wednesday will contain the changes from Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday. So, with a differential backup, you often backup the same data over and over and over again.

An incremental backup is nice in that it provides the shortest backup time since it only gets changes since the last incremental backup, but it does lengthen the restore time as it has to restore the full as well as all subsequent incrementals along the way. This backup is going to consume the least amount of disk space as it's only the changes from each day getting backed up once.



For me personally, I only do full image backups with Acronis. My actual data files are only stored in a few folders and they aren't on my C drive. I regularly attach some USB 2 drives and run robocopy to mirror my actual data on the hard drive with the external drive. I try to always keep 1 external offsite at any time just in case I am robbed or the house burns down.

With Acronis, about once a month or so, I run an image based backup of my C drive to an external eSATA drive. This gives me a snapshot style backup of my OS and my installed applications. I just go ahead and do a full backup each time, as my C drive in an SSD and it takes less than 5 minutes to image it. < This image is just my OS and apps....so in the event that I had to restore the whole box, I would have to restore the image to get the OS and apps back, and restore from my USB drive to get my data files back.
Let me first say that you rock pparks! Now THAT is a detailed explanation that I could comprehend! I do have a few questions.

1. It sounds to me that the differential would be better for me, because I have plenty of external drive space and it would be more beneficial to me to have the quicker restore time, with my business, in exchange for the longer backup time. Agree?

This is what I have my settings at in Acronis:

Schemes: Custom
Method: Differential

I have the following boxes checked:

Create a full version after every 7 differential versions

Store no more than 7 recent version changes

2. With those settings, am I to assume that after initial full backup, it will back up 7 differential versions, then another full backup, and on the next differential backup, it will delete the previous 7 version changes?

3. So the most I will ever have on the external is a full backup, and 7 differential versions?

I did the full backup which used 11.2G. The first differential version used only .77G.

Let me know how all this adds up and if I need to tweak anything, in your respected opinion.

Thanks again,
Jack
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2012   #6

Windows 7 Pro with SP1 32bit
 
 

It is stated in Acronis backup page that a differential back up is always smaller in size than an incremental back up.

That said, I have found that there is not much difference in size between full, differential and incremental backups. The reason being that Acronis does a sector by sector backup and if the files have moved and changed sectors they get backed up again. Things are really bad if the drive has been defragmented between backups. It is for this reason that I make a full image every time. And standalone images are easier to handle because you can delete one without affecting your imaging strategy.

I have only once done a differential backup of a small size. This was after I installed Windows 7, took an image then immediately installed MS Office 2010 and then again immediately take a differential image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jan 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jack1953 View Post

1. It sounds to me that the differential would be better for me, because I have plenty of external drive space and it would be more beneficial to me to have the quicker restore time, with my business, in exchange for the longer backup time. Agree?
Usually in business case scenarios, the faster restore times are preferred.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jack1953 View Post
Create a full version after every 7 differential versions

Store no more than 7 recent version changes

2. With those settings, am I to assume that after initial full backup, it will back up 7 differential versions, then another full backup, and on the next differential backup, it will delete the previous 7 version changes?
I don't use Differentials or Incrementals with Acronis, however if the program works like almost any other backup application, things won't work like you are describing.

Using my example, if you were to do your first full backup on Sunday, and then differentials on Monday, Tuesday, Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat...that would mean that on Sunday morning you would have 7 restore points.

On Sunday night, your system would then create a new full backup. So, technically you would be left with 1 full backup from previous Sunday, incrementals all week, and 1 new full backup from this Sunday. Now, this would give you more than 7 restore points....but "if" the system were to delete the first full backup from the 1st sunday...it would render all of the differentials form the 1st week as unusable since they need that first full backup. So, "if" the 1st sunday were deleted, and all subsequent differentials were useless, come Sunday night if you had to restore, you would only have 1 restore point (from that current day).

So, come the 2nd Monday you have
--Full backup from Sunday
--Diff from Monday
--Diff from Tues
--Diff from Wed
--Diff from Thurs
--Diff from Fri
--Diff from Sat
--Full from Sun *
--Diff from monday

So, technically you have 9 files. But the system will most likely not be able to delete anything until you have 7 additional backups after the Full backup on the 2nd Sunday. (which I noted with an * above). Otherwise you wouldn't have 7 restore points to pick from.

Hopefully that makes sense...it can be a little confusing at first. I've tried to explain it best that I could.



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jack1953 View Post
3. So the most I will ever have on the external is a full backup, and 7 differential versions?
No, see above.

The most I would expect if you kept 7 restore points would be.

--Full backup from Sunday
--Diff from Monday
--Diff from Tues
--Diff from Wed
--Diff from Thurs
--Diff from Fri
--Diff from Sat
--Full from Sun *
--Diff from monday
--Diff from Tues
--Diff from Wed
--Diff from Thurs
--Diff from Fri
--Diff from Sat (first deletion would occur here).

Because you now have 7 since the 2nd full backup. That first week can go. So, I would say the most you would have would be 2 fulls and 11 differentials.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jan 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wanchoo View Post
It is stated in Acronis backup page that a differential back up is always smaller in size than an incremental back up.

That said, I have found that there is not much difference in size between full, differential and incremental backups. The reason being that Acronis does a sector by sector backup and if the files have moved and changed sectors they get backed up again. Things are really bad if the drive has been defragmented between backups. It is for this reason that I make a full image every time. And standalone images are easier to handle because you can delete one without affecting your imaging strategy.

I have only once done a differential backup of a small size. This was after I installed Windows 7, took an image then immediately installed MS Office 2010 and then again immediately take a differential image.

I'm not sure that applies if you aren't doing an "image" based backup. If you are using Acronis to backup files and folders...then the sector by sector won't come into play at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jan 2012   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

I like the differential option myself, and have mine set to do them daily.

But, I would also recommend having a second schedule that does just full backups periodically, depending on how often things change.


For example,.
Keep a Full backup that remains untouched of the system after a clean install with Windows activated, but nothing else.
A second Image after your get you main software installed and activated, & everything setup to your liking.
Never know when these will come in handy.


From there, youll want to make a full backup image to save after any major changes.

I use the differntial backups to recover files folders etc should I need to, and the full images to recover the entire disc.

However, you can recover the entire disc from a differential I just prefer to try and avoid doing that. But they are there should I need them, and they make recovering single files/folders easy as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jan 2012   #10

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit
 
 

I only do full hard drive backups with Acronis. I also keep, at a minimum, the previous backup on the hard drive I use for backups when I do a backup. This eliminates "Murphy's Law" of something happening during a backup and no longer having a backup because the drive used for backups was erased first.

Where I used to work (I was a LAN/WAN Network Manager) we initially did a full backup of our file servers on Monday and then incremental backups on Tuesday through Friday. However, we found that if we needed to restore a server from the backups it took longer to restore with all the incremental backups. We also had a couple of isolated problems with the incrementals and lost some data. Thus the decision was made to do full backups every night. That eliminated any potential for data loss from the incrementals and rebuilding a file server from a full backup took less time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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