Q

What is the difference between a full and an incremental backup?

What is the difference between a full and an incremental backup?
A full backup is done by selecting all the files on the hard disk for backup. This is the simplest type of backup, and yields the most complete backup image, but it takes the most time and media space to do. An incremental backup is one where only the files that have changed since the last backup are selected. Incremental backups are supported by most decent backup software. The backup software looks at the archive bit to determine what files have been changed since the last backup, selects them for backup and then clears the bit for all the files it backs up. If any files are changed, the software sets the bit again so on the next incremental they are again selected, and so on. Which type of backup you do depends on what is important to you in terms of time, media cost and ease of restoration.
This was first published in March 2003

Dig deeper on Microsoft Windows Data Backup and Protection

Pro+

Features

Enjoy the benefits of Pro+ membership, learn more and join.

Have a question for an expert?

Please add a title for your question

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

You will be able to add details on the next page.

0 comments

Oldest 

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

SearchServerVirtualization

SearchCloudComputing

SearchExchange

SearchSQLServer

SearchWinIT

SearchEnterpriseDesktop

SearchVirtualDesktop

Close