Once you have a full image backup of your computer, which includes everything on the hard drive, a series of subsequent backups can be significantly quicker and smaller.
Incremental backups backup only those files that have changed since the immediately preceding backup. Because many of the files on our computers are essentially unchanging, this can represent a significant saving in both time and space.
I’ll walk you through creating an incremental image backup using Macrium Reflect.
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The backup definition file
When we created our full system image backup, Macrium also created a “backup definition file” that contained all of the settings associated with that backup, including the drives to be backed up, the location in which to place the backup, and any additional configuration settings.
It’s that backup definition file that we use now.
Click the Backup Definition File tab in Macrium:
Taking the incremental backup
In the resulting list of backup definition files, right-click the one that represents the full backup that you’ve already taken.
Then click Run Now in the menu and click Incremental in the drop-down menu that appears.
The incremental backup will start immediately.
The backup should take less time because fewer files will need to be backed up.
Once complete, you’ll have two (or more) files for the backup set:
The larger file in this example contains the original full image backup. The smaller file contains the incremental backup just completed. Note that its filename has an incremented counter in it. Additional incremental backups built on this set would continue to produce files with incrementing counters.
This is Leo Notenboom for AskLeo.net.
Creating incremental image backups in Macrium Reflect.
In a previous video, we created a full image backup. Now, based on that image backup, it’s time to start creating incremental backups that build on top of it.
To do this, we actually go to these Backup Definition Files. If you recall, when we created that full image backup, in addition to creating the backup itself at the same time, it created a backup definition file in .xml format. That backup definition file is what we use now to define what the backup will be.
Once again, it’s a backup of our C: drive and its destination is the D: drive root. We right-click on the file that we’re going to do; select Run Now and Incremental – that’s it. The incremental backup is underway. This should be significantly quicker than the full backup as it should only copy those files that have changed since the full backup was taken.
As you can see, this time our backup took less than five minutes. If we go take a look at the D: drive where the backup was placed, we’ll find there are now two files: One, the original full image backup that we took originally and a second one with the same backup ID number, but an incrementing number next to it. That image is the incremental image of things that changed between the time we that took the original backup and the incremental.
The next video in the series: Macrium Reflect 5: Scheduling Backups.