daily backup, or normal and then differential/incremental???

Posted on 2002-03-12
Last Modified: 2012-06-22

I have to backup a large drive of often changing data, of about 20gb on a windows NTFS partition.

I am often asked to recover files/folders for users who have accidently deleted them, and also obviously I would like to be able to restore the whole lot to another drive should a disaster occur.

which of the options in the windows 2000 backup utility should I use?
Question by:tommyh
LVL 44

Accepted Solution

CrazyOne earned 100 total points
ID: 6859140
From the Windows Backup help


Differential backup

A differential backup copies files created or changed since the last normal or incremental backup. It does not mark files as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared). If you are performing a combination of normal and differential backups, restoring files and folders requires that you have the last normal as well as the last differential backup.

Incremental backup

An incremental backup backs up only those files created or changed since the last normal or incremental backup. It marks files as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is cleared). If you use a combination of normal and incremental backups, you will need to have the last normal backup set as well as all incremental backup sets in order to restore your data.

Normal backup

A normal backup copies all selected files and marks each file as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is cleared). With normal backups, you need only the most recent copy of the backup file or tape to restore all of the files. You usually perform a normal backup the first time you create a backup set.

Backing up your data using a combination of normal backups and incremental backups requires the least amount of storage space and is the quickest backup method. However, recovering files can be time-consuming and difficult because the backup set can be stored on several disks or tapes.

Backing up your data using a combination of normal backups and differential backups is more time-consuming, especially if your data changes frequently, but it is easier to restore the data because the backup set is usually stored on only a few disks or tapes.


Personally Incremental would be my choice because it is a bit faste and it removes the archive attribute from the file being backuped. This way if that file is not used when the next backup occurs then Backup does not neeed to waste time copying it. However if your aim is to be able to restore the files quicker then use differential because for restoring purposed it is a bit faster. It's whatever is most important you. Faster backups versus Faster restore.

The Crazy One
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 6859856
I think you should use the option of training your users not to be so stupid, frankly. Tell them that backups are there to rescue their work if the building burns down, not to solve problems when they've deleted something they shouldn't have!

Expert Comment

ID: 6861501
Executive Software has a program call Undelete which takes all deleted files and makes them recoverable. You can get the deleted files from there and not have to go to tape. Just monitor it closely so you don't use up all your drive space.
Best Practices: Disaster Recovery Testing

Besides backup, any IT division should have a disaster recovery plan. You will find a few tips below relating to the development of such a plan and to what issues one should pay special attention in the course of backup planning.


Author Comment

ID: 6909184
Ive opted for weekly normal backup followed by a daily incremental.

Author Comment

ID: 6909187

I was hoping for an answer that gave a reason for choosing one method over another, rather than merely a copy and paste from the help file.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 6909316
Whats wrong the help file explaination. It tells what the difference are. There really isn't much that can be added to it or explain it anymore better than that. And I did give a personal opinion ony why I would use Incremental over Differential. Don't know what else can be said.  

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