Which Backup Modes to use

Backup modes:

  • Normal (sometimes called Full): Backs up selected files and marks them as backed up.
  • Copy: Backs up selected files but does not mark them as backed up.
  • Daily: Only those files that were changed today.
  • Incremental: Only those files changed since the previous backup.
  • Differential: Only those files changed since the last FULL backup.

I suggest you to choose one of the following three approaches of using the Backup Modes:

  1. Always Full” – every time you back up all project’s included files, whether some of them were changed or not. This approach is good when the project includes not so large amounts of data.
  2. Full+Incremental” – you create a full backup relatively seldom: once a month, or once a week, or on achieving some important point in your work. All other backups you create with Incremental mode, thus backing up only files changed since the last backup (whatever its mode was). This approach is good when the project includes too many files to back up them all each time. It’s fast and takes less time for incremental backups. Incremental backups take less disk space. It allows you to create backups frequently. However, to restore all the files, you have to restore the last full backup, and all the following incremental backups.
  3. Full+Differential” – is intermediate between the first two approaches. It is also good when the conditions are intermediate. Each differential backup includes all the project files changed since the last full backup. It takes less time and space than “Always Full”, but more than “Full+Incremental”. The good thing is that restoring is simpler than for (2) – you’ll have to restore the last full backup and the last differential backup.

You can choose any approach for each of your projects according to their size and frequency of file modifications, e.g. if almost all the files appear changed before an incremental backup starts, the incremental backup will be almost of the same size as a full backup. If so, let it be “Always Full” to simplify the restoring.

Technical note: Incremental and Normal flip a switch on the files so that they are marked as backed up.  Copy and Differential does not flip the switch.  Incremental and Differential look at the switch to decide which files to backup.  Daily simply looks at the create/modify date to decide which files to backup.  The switch is called the archive bit.

And, finally if you can’t get you head around it then you need somebody who has, may I suggest myself. Just consider – its not possible to retype your family snaps, if you lose them, they are lost forever. Don’t hesitate to call – even if you just want an explanation.


This entry was posted in Backup, PC, Vista Tip, Windows 7 Tip, Windows 8, Windows Tip, Windows XP Tip and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.