Windows 7 - How to perform an incremental back-up

I posed a question yesterday wanting to know about performing an incremental back-up with Windows 7 and received the reply “Try scheduled tasks and write a copying script” which seemed helpful at the time but I am a novice and was unsuccessful.  If someone could please provide me with a Step-by-Step on how to perform an incremental back-up with Windows 7 it would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

This is what I wrote yesterday:  As a photographer I need to constantly back up my photo files.  With Windows7, when I perform an incremental back-up from the source drive to the back-up drive an error message pops up stating “there is not enough disk space” to perform the action.  Previously, I had WindowsXP and was able to perform an incremental back-up by using the “skip over” option and not just “overwrite all of the files” option.  Does Windows7 have a “skip over” option when backing up?  Please inform me on how to perform incrementally back-ups with Window7 with the issues I am having.  Thank you!

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Hi Southern Sunshine,

 

The backup Windows 7 follows is incremental backup. Windows Backup will add new or changed information to your subsequent backups. If you're saving your backups on a hard drive or network location, Windows Backup will create a new, full backup for you automatically when needed.

 

Refer the below links to know how Windows 7 backup and restore process works:

 

Back up your files:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/back-up-your-files

 

Backup and restore: frequently asked questions:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Back-up-and-restore-frequently-asked-questions 

 

How does Windows choose which files to back up?:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/How-does-Windows-choose-which-files-to-back-up 

 

Now, with the error you have posted, I would suggest you to try delete files using Disk Cleanup: Delete files using Disk Cleanup: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Delete-files-using-Disk-Cleanup

 

You may also delete your old backup and check if you still receive the same error message.

 

Regards:

Samhrutha G S - Microsoft Support.

Visit ourMicrosoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think.

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look at this, this could be helpful :

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/981470

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Hi Southern Sunshine,

 

The backup Windows 7 follows is incremental backup. Windows Backup will add new or changed information to your subsequent backups. If you're saving your backups on a hard drive or network location, Windows Backup will create a new, full backup for you automatically when needed.

 

Refer the below links to know how Windows 7 backup and restore process works:

 

Back up your files:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/back-up-your-files

 

Backup and restore: frequently asked questions:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Back-up-and-restore-frequently-asked-questions 

 

How does Windows choose which files to back up?:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/How-does-Windows-choose-which-files-to-back-up 

 

Now, with the error you have posted, I would suggest you to try delete files using Disk Cleanup: Delete files using Disk Cleanup: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Delete-files-using-Disk-Cleanup

 

You may also delete your old backup and check if you still receive the same error message.

 

Regards:

Samhrutha G S - Microsoft Support.

Visit ourMicrosoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think.


Hi Samhrutha,

 

If I am going to delete the old backups will I miss some of my files?? Because my original backup says 120 GB and next backup says 15 GB, is that means I will have 15 left once I delete the old backup.. When the full backup will be taken after the first full backup

 

Prabhu N

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Hello nprabhu95,

 

 Thank you for the response.  Please review the link below on backup and restore questions.  You can view the contents of a backup to confirm what is there before you delete it.

 If you still have any questions or are experiencing any issues, please repost as a new question at the link below.  Include as much system information as possible.

 

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Back-up-and-restore-frequently-asked-questions

 

Microsoft Answers:   New question

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows

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Hi Southern Sunshine,

 

The backup Windows 7 follows is incremental backup. Windows Backup will add new or changed information to your subsequent backups. If you're saving your backups on a hard drive or network location, Windows Backup will create a new, full backup for you automatically when needed.

 

Refer the below links to know how Windows 7 backup and restore process works:

 

Back up your files:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/back-up-your-files

 

Backup and restore: frequently asked questions:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Back-up-and-restore-frequently-asked-questions 

 

How does Windows choose which files to back up?:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/How-does-Windows-choose-which-files-to-back-up 

 

Now, with the error you have posted, I would suggest you to try delete files using Disk Cleanup: Delete files using Disk Cleanup: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Delete-files-using-Disk-Cleanup

 

You may also delete your old backup and check if you still receive the same error message.

 

Regards:

Samhrutha G S - Microsoft Support.

Visit ourMicrosoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think.


Hi Samhrutha,

 

If I am going to delete the old backups will I miss some of my files?? Because my original backup says 120 GB and next backup says 15 GB, is that means I will have 15 left once I delete the old backup.. When the full backup will be taken after the first full backup

 

Prabhu N


How often are you backing up? How often are you performing a full backup versus the incremental backups? What is the size of the storage you are performing the backup to?

 

Depending on how often you perform the backups, I would perform a full back up once a week / month (depending on incremental frequency and storage limitations). Once you perform the next FULL backup you can delete all old full and incremental backups.

 

If you delete the full back up and leave only the incremental backups you will not be able to restore the full data. The incremental backup only backs up data that has been changed since the last full backup.

--
Sam Athanassov
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W3Schools Certified HTML, JavaScript Developer

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I do not find Windows 7 Backup intuitive, there is inadequate information provided to allow me to understand the process and control what is happening and the scheduler is missing some obvious options that would be helpful.

For example, Widows 7 backup 'documentation' provides the following statement: " Backup will create a new, full backup for you automatically when needed."  What does this mean?  "when needed"?  I would prefer to have an explanation of the design of the backup routines describing when/under what circumstances a full backup will be taken, rather than the uninformative "trust me, you don't need to know" statement provided by Microsoft.  Please advise what "when needed" means - we are intelligent people, we like to know what is going on and what you think is appropriate for us (and would prefer options to control this ourselves).

Will the backup work in the background backing up (incrementally), all changed files, even when I'm using the PC?  What about the files which have changed but I have open/am using at the point the backup commences?

Next, I have set up a daily scheduled backup.  On testing, this appears to work only when my PC is running and has not gone into sleep mode.  But I cannot be certain that I will have my PC running at the moment I have chosen to backup 9a set time each day).  And if I leave my PC for 10 minutes and it (correctly), goes into sleep mode, then it won't backup!  So I have to either be using the PC moments before or at the exact time my backup is scheduled to start - then I don't know if the files I have open will be backed up (previous question).

Of course I can choose  "Backup now", say at each time I switch on my PC or each time I switch it off but there are reasons why these are commonly inconvenient times for many users because you either want to get something done (why you turned on the PC in the first place and we don't know if a backup will be successful if you have files open), or you are about to rush out with the laptop, so don't want to wait for the backup to run/complete before shutting down.  So the option appears only to be to remember to run "Backup now" at some convenient point when you know you won't need the PC for a period of time.  But the whole reason for having a scheduler is to ensure regular backups are taken and you don't have to rely on your memory to protect your valuable data.

Additionally, when I chose "Backup now", it did a FULL backup, not just an incremental backup.  So if I choose to "Backup now" at a time convenient to me, when I know my PC will not be in sleep mode or when I don't actually need to be using it, then it will both take longer and will quickly fill up my backup disk if it takes a FULL backup each time I initiate (daily), the manual request.

Perhaps the options of "Backup on turning on the PC" and "Backup on requesting to shut down the PC" BOTH with an option to override and say "not this time" should be added to the scheduler options?  Perhaps a "Do you want to backup now" prompt should be offered every time you switch on or prepare to shut down your PC IF you have set an automated backup schedule and a backup has not been successfully taken in the 'period' (day/week/month, depending on the frequency you have selected)?

All these options should be INCREMENTAL backups with some PROPER ADVICE as to when (time/appropriateness), we should create a new full backup and start the incremental process again (not a Microsoft "we know better than you, trust me, its time to do a full backup" only offer).  And when the advice is provided that its time/appropriate to take a new full backup, the user should have the option to override the suggestion if they feel they don't have time to allow a full backup to run, whereupon they will be continually provided with the reminder/advice at switch-on /shut down until they choose the full backup option.

Providing more information, more options and more user control is really not difficult - many backup programmes do all these things already.  Come on Microsoft, lets have a better backup programme with more options and user control, or at least more information on how the current backup actually works.

 Thanks

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You are of course right.  Window7 is quite good but the backup program medieval.  Microsoft hopefully can do better, if not they don't deserve our business.

I own a Mac and a recently purchased windows 7 computer.  I'm quite pleased with the PC but find the backup as you note dysfunctional and unintuitive.

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The program does do backups, and I have yet to restore a file, thank god.  However, since I alternate between two USB network disks, I never know how the original base files and the incremental files are managed.  

I have read all the available online forums and blogs on it, and have come to believe that each backup SET is independent of the other SETs.  I.e, If I just leave the last SET and delete all the previous ones, I am still in possession of a fully functional set of backup files.  Can anyone confirm that?

Which leads me to my next question:  When I change disks weekly, does the backup deem necessary to do full backups or does it still do incremental ones, and how does that work, as SteveSE19 points out?

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Yes - it should not take 10 hours to do a back-up like it took me last night.  There is also the factor of getting incremental back-ups only via the scheduled ones, assuming that is the only way to do them incrementally.  Not only does your computer need to be on at those times, the external drive used to back-up needs to be connected - which negates the practice of having THAT in a different location.

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Last updated April 25, 2021 Views 131,369 Applies to: