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Windows 7: Incremental Backups?

16 Dec 2014   #1
leehop71

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 
Incremental Backups?

Any recommended software out there that will do incremental backups once the initial backup is done?


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16 Dec 2014   #2
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

Macrium
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16 Dec 2014   #3
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Macrium Reflect is capable of making incremental and differential images as long as it was used to make the initial image. However, only one of the paid versions have that capability.

Personally, I do not recommend using incremental images. To be able to recover anything, you have to have all the images. Let just one go bad or get lost and you will be out of luck. If you have your OS (such as Win 7) and programs on their own drive or partition, full images won't take up much room. Other than an initial image you should make after first installing your OS and programs and getting all the updates done, you only need to keep the last few images. That will still give you some redundancy should an image somehow get corrupted.

Data should be kept on its own drive(s) or partition. For backing up data only, I recommend (and use) a folder/file syncing program, such as FreeFileSync, in mirror mode simply because it's considerably faster and gives a backup you can actually use as is (the OS and programs can't be backed up with a folder/file syncing program; you have to image those). Once the initial backup has been made, the program will compare the source drive to the destination drive and copy or delete data in the data drive as necessary to make the two drives essentially identical. Since only files added, changed, or deleted since the previous update, backups can be extremely fast.

I image my boot drive (OS and programs only) once a week and just before making changes, such as adding a new program. It takes about ten minutes for me to image and verify the 64GB volume on my boot drive. I backup my data drives daily. On most days, it takes only two or three minutes for each backup (I keep two backups for each HDD in my computer; I save images to one of my data drives so they will get backed up when the drive itself gets backed up).
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18 Dec 2014   #4
lite1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
...
Personally, I do not recommend using incremental images. To be able to recover anything, you have to have all the images. Let just one go bad or get lost and you will be out of luck. If you have your OS (such as Win 7) and programs on their own drive or partition, full images won't take up much room. Other than an initial image you should make after first installing your OS and programs and getting all the updates done, you only need to keep the last few images. That will still give you some redundancy should an image somehow get corrupted....
Appreciate your comments and especially FreeFileSync. I'm establishing a new approach for data backup at home, and while not likely to use Incremental scheme do want to understand it more particularly what is lost if you have one bad/lost file in chain e.g.
Day 1 do Full back up to start chain
Day 2 files 1-5 are changed
Day 3 files 1, 3, 5 are changed
Day 4 files 1-5 are changed
Day 5 files 1-5 are changed
Day 6 files 1-5 are changed
Day 7 new full back up is done and all of the others above are retained

Now say in week 2: you have accidentally deleted files 2 & 3 AND have lost or corrupted the Day 2 incremental. What are your options with regard to these files? "Let just one go bad or get lost and you will be out of luck." Exactly how out of luck would one be? Thanks for clarifying.
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18 Dec 2014   #5
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Incremental backups depend on every incremental file being valid, or any incremental after a lost or corrupt file won't work.

Differential backups do not depend on previous Differential files being valid.
Each differential can be used to restore to that point in time as long as it is valid.

The original Full Backup must always be valid ...
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18 Dec 2014   #6
lite1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

@DavidE If I am understanding correctly in my example the options one would have would be to use the back up from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 7. Because Day 3 was lost or corrupt then Day 4, 5, and 6 are of no value; AND could NOT even be used to restore files 2 & 4 which were NOT touched on Day 2 - is that correct?

If that is correct, it doesn't seem intuitively obvious to me that Day 4 & 5 are NOT usable for files 2 & 4. This is in part why I am trying to understand in detail. It sounds like it is quite simple - once the chain is irrevocably broken in an Incremental scheme every Incremental back up thereafter is useless.
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18 Dec 2014   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

DavidE is right - incrementals are very fragile. I would recommend against them. Differentials are better. But best are full backups each time. Those are the easiest to manage and the most reliable.
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