Internet Business

Data Backup Saves a Lot of Time (Part II)

by doug on 26 May, 2009

Incremental vs. Full Backups

There are two ways to back up data: incremental or full backups.

A full backup is a complete copy of every file on a hard drive or subdirectory.  This is the most complete backup.  If you ever need to restore data, you just copy the whole backup to the original location and you are done.

The disadvantages to full backups is that they take a long time to do and use up a lot of hard drive space.

Incremental backups copy only what was changed since the previous backup.  In other words, only new and changed files will be copied to the backup storage device.  These backups are fast and take relatively little space on the backup hard drive.

The disadvantages to incremental backups is that it is hard to do a full restore, and hard to find a specific file if you don’t know when it was last changed.

To do a full restore from incremental backups, you have to restore each incremental backup in the same order it was created.  Some files will be copied and recopied, but others may be in one of the backups just once.

A good compromise is to mix incremental and full backups.

Do a full backup at least once a month, and an incremental backup every day.  You don’t need to do incremental backups on the days when you do a full backup.

A full backup once a week might be better than doing it once a month.  This makes the restore quite easy: one full backup and up to 6 incremental backups to get all of your data back.

When to Do Backups

The best time to do a backup is at the end of the day.

There are a few reasons for this.

One reason is that if you do loose anything between backups, you are more likely to remember what you did today, than what you did yesterday.

Another reason is that your can run the backup every day at the end of the day.  Your computer can be backup up while you are off having dinner, sleeping etc.

It is possible but not practical to run a backup while working on your computer.  The reason it is not practical is two-fold: it slows down your computer, and the backup may try to copy a file you are working on, which usually prevents that file from being copied.

Doing regular backups is an internet business accelerator.  You’ll find out the next time your hard drive fails or you delete the wrong file.

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