Incremental Backup ~ Should I change Software?

  wee eddie 17:36 05 Feb 14

I am currently using W7's Built-in Backup Software' to run Incremental Backups. I cannot remember that it was anything other than easy to set up. However I have never needed to try a Restore and hope that I never need to.

Friends keep telling me that I should really be using Acronis. Why, is Acronis really better and if so, in what way?

I had a question on the Forum about Incremental Backups, a while back, which I never received a satisfactory answer.

That question was: When running an Incremental Backup, your Software first makes a copy of the Files on your Hard Drive and then after predetermined periods adds a small file containing the alterations made during the intervening period. How often should you ditch the whole backup and start from scratch again?

  Bris 18:21 05 Feb 14

Starting with your last question first.

It used to be the case that if you needed to restore from an incremental backup then you had to restore from the initial main backup first and then do the same for every incremental backup. This would limit the number of increments that you kept as keeping a couple of hundred for example would involve a lengthy and time consuming restore. So it was up to you. With the latest version of Acronis you just restore from the latest increment and it just consolidates.

There are many reasons why Acronis is the backup of choice and too many here to list and it also depends on what other brand you compare it with.

I like it because I can do a disc backup and still access all the files within the backup but have to admit its getting a bit bloated and gradually losing its advantage over the free tools.

A popular free one is Macrium Reflect and there is also EaseUS Todo Backup.

  bumpkin 19:50 05 Feb 14

I have tried all sorts including pay for Acronis. If you want something simple and easy to use try Paragon free edition, which is what I now use, sorry no link but easy to find.

  Number six 23:14 05 Feb 14


Your understanding of the way incremental backup works is incorrect. W7 (and any decent backup software) in fact creates a complete new backup image every time it operates. At the same time it also creates a record of any files that have changed since last backup. These will show in backup screens as "previous versions".

This way you can periodically delete all except last backup, and still have a complete recent image available.

  wee eddie 00:26 06 Feb 14

Number six: As the main File is 190Gb and the weekly updates increase it by about 3Gb, that does not sound right

  northumbria61 04:22 06 Feb 14

wee eddie - this should explain it all for you - W7 Backup & Restore

  alanrwood 10:53 06 Feb 14

For a simple free backup program that takes either full or incremental scheduled backups I use FBackup. Never let me down, Just install, set up and forget it.

  Batch 14:36 07 Feb 14

My vote goes to Macrium Reflect Free.

I was using Acronis True Image (version 8) for years. But on migrating from XP to W7 needed something newer (and ideally free). I liked Acronis V8 - clean, straightforward, boot (rescue) CD version (running from Linux shell) mirrored installed version well.

Acronis not free, now bloated and later versions have had some pretty poor reports.

Tried Easus and Paragon. These were either lacking in functionality or (in the case of Paragon) the boot CD version was severely restricted compared to the installed version.

Macrium was the best fit (for me):

  • Straight forward disk imaging and cloning without unnecessary bloat.

  • Can mount images to access files within Windows Explorer etc.

  • Boot (Rescue) CD (if made using the Windows Pre-Installed Environment based on the WAIK facility, not the Linux version) very much mirrors the installed version (albeit with some limitations). Macrium have made creating the Boot CD using WinPE very smooth and does not need to download the whole WAIK installation.

I would also add that I have restored extensively using Macrium (on both MBR and GPT disks) without any issue whatsoever.

  alanrwood 16:22 07 Feb 14

As the OP is asking about doing a simple incremental backup why recommend paid for programs which have far greater functionality that the OP wants. He has not asked for disk clones etc so why his friend has recommended Acronis I don't actually know.

If the OP wants these facilities then fine.

  wee eddie 17:05 07 Feb 14

Alanwood: I think that you are the first person to have read the question.

Is the W7 Backup Tool adequate and how often should I junk the set and start again?

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