Correct backup, or otherwise?

  Housten 15:24 PM 26 Nov 12

Good Afternoon, Gentlemen,

I have been working on an Excel spreadsheet lately, and did a backup a couple of day’s ago – and the results have just sort of filtered through to my brain.

What I did, some month’s ago, was to determine that the backup programme that I got – it was one of the ‘free’ ones – had the possibility of a differential backup included within the programme that I could use. I did not really think about the differential one, apart from using it. But it has now penetrated my brain and I am seriously concerned about now doing differential backups and I would very much appreciate any help and/or advice on this aspect.

What I found, and worked out, is that a differential backup seems to take as long as a straight backup, whereas I had assumed that it would be faster. Also if anything the differential backups are bigger than the straight backups!! I had wanted to use differential backups because they would give a ( very ) much smaller file and would be a lot quicker. But they are not working out that way, and to be honest, that was the main reason I wanted to do differential backups.

My question is to you kind people is this: is it worth doing differential backups at all? As I say the idea was to save time and storage by their use, but if I am not getting either, what is the point of bothering with them? I should emphasise at this point that I have absolutely no problem with the base programme – it does a full backup of my ‘C’ drive and a couple of other small parts of the partition – about 57 to 58 GB - in about 30 minutes or so, and I have no complaints with that. It’s just the differential backups, and they seem to get bigger and bigger, take that much longer and are that much bigger. Of, course it could always be that I am doing – more likely NOT doing – something or giving some erroneous instructions of which I am not aware. So if anyone has any comments on what I am doing – especially if it is, or could be, something wrong - I would be very grateful to receive them.

Many thanks in advance.

  X7-250 15:54 PM 26 Nov 12

sounds like you want to be creating incremental backups rather than differential, if your software has the option.

  Housten 16:30 PM 26 Nov 12


Good afternoon,

Many thanks for your post. I am now getting confused, I am afraid. The reason that I got my base backup programme was that it did 'normal' and differential backups, but having now checked - fololowing your post - I do not think it does incremental backups.

I haven't used these for a long time and I thought that these were the differences between each of them and that each backup - either the base or an incremental - had to be perfect, otherwise you lost all backup information from the first 'imperfect' one through all the rest. As there was thus a considerable risk with these it was better not to use incremental backups as such. Or are you suggesting otherwise? And if so what programme(s) would you think would be worth checking out?

  X7-250 17:33 PM 26 Nov 12

i only make full backups using the free version of Acronis.

i'm not suggesting anything other than it's an alternative to differential and they way it works makes for faster backups.

  Housten 14:53 PM 27 Nov 12


Good afternoon,

Thank you for your reply. I tend to keep away from mentioning or replying to posts about acronis. I had a horrendous problem woth them, and after 4 month's of constantly asking for - and to be fair receiving - 'advice' on what to do to make my computer and their programme work together, they gave up and gave me my money back. As I have said before, I wouldn't touch their programme with yours never mind mine, ever again. much, much too risky!!!

Does anyone else have any ideas?? Surely, there must be someone who has an idea of what is better than what I am doing at present?? All ideas are welcome, especially those which incorporate suggestions as to which programmes - especially those 'free' ones - I should be using!! Any help is good help!!!


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