Types of Data Backup


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Data Backup types: Incremental, Differential, Full, or Image

Which Data Backup types would you use on a scheduled basis?

There are a lot of different data backup types :

  • Incremental
  • Differential
  • Full
  • Image
  • Incremental is only files that have change in a given period, based on date/time stamp of the file.
  • Differential is only files that have changed based on file size and CRC (checksum redundancy check)
  • Full is complete backup of all data in a given folder, volume, or drive.
  • Image is a complete re-installable copy of a hard drive or partition.Use all Data Backup types on servers with a Tape backup system.

So you need to think about what you have that is of the highest value, then of value, then how much time it will take you to recover from a disaster.

Irreplaceable documents should be printed and stored where the elements will have the least effect, safe deposit box, etc.

Hard to replace or time consuming documents should be stored on a non-volatile media, CD or DVD is the best.

Now we get down to the everyday document, I will use a web page as an example. You create a web page on your computer, then when it is complete and looks the way you want it you upload it to your web site.

Then you forget about the original on your hard drive until you need to update or change the page on the site. You go to look for the page but some how it has been overwritten, misplaced, or deleted. Now this is annoying but is not catastrophic. A daily backup would have put that document on some other media than your computer that you use every day. You could go to your backup and pull the original or latest page on to your computer do your changes and upload it.

What about your operating system drive and all the apps you have installed over time, you don't want to reinstall all of those again if your hard drive fails. There is a way to do this also.

Other data backup types:

Image or Clone copy of your Operating System drive.

You would want to keep at least two copies of the installation of your OS.

At this time you can not make a copy of the original install because you have installed a lot of programs, deleted files, and so on. It is best to make a copy directly after the setup and before installing any applications. Once the system is up and running in a stable condition then I make my copy.

The reason for doing this (bear with me on this one) is if I install an application and it crashes then I don't have to start all over with the OS install. Just put the copy back on the system, then I can figure out what cause the system to fail when I was installing the application, or call the publisher's support and have them figure it out.

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A good use for the second copy is after you get all your applications installed lets say you inadvertently received a virus, it is causing all kinds of problems with your system. Just put the second copy on your system, restore any data that has changed from the time of the copy to now. You still need to keep those cd's, serial number's, and programs you downloaded safe.

One advantage of doing a copy after install is that you don't have to reinstall all of your applications. I have one application that every time it is installed I have to go to the publisher and get a new license, this is cool, keeps someone from pirating it, but it is a pain because it takes three working days to get the new activation code. With an image when I blow up my system (happens to the best believe me) all I do is put the copy back on, restore some data and I am up and running, takes about thirty or fortyYou will be smiling if you do your backup regularly, especilly if you have to restore your data! minutes.

There are numerous programs to do the image of your hard drives, I recommend either Norton's Ghost or Acronis True Image. There are free programs out there, but as the old axiom goes: You Get What You Pay For.

Some Data Backup types need a bootable floppy or CD. Be sure to read all the instructions before you start, printing the main points is a good idea.

An old IT motto: "Your recovery is only as good as your last backup!" Choose your data backup types wisely...


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