Computer Security

This article gives details about the five most common types of backup: Full, Incremental, Differential, Daily Copy, and Copy.

Characteristics of Different Backup Types

Dedicated backup software commonly includes the following types of backups.

Type of backup Files backed up Files marked as backed up Media volume required Notes
Full All selected files even if they have changed since the previous backup of any kind. All files marked as having been backed up. High Always first backup in a backup cycle

Uncomplicated to restore
Incremental All selected files which have been created or modified since the last backup of any kind. Copied files are marked as having been backed up. Relatively low Must be restored in exact order of creation after restoring full backup.
Differential All selected files which have been created or modified since the last full backup. Does not mark copied files as having been backed up. Relatively high Should not be mixed with incremental backups. Only most recent need be restored after restoring full backup.
Daily copy All selected files which have been created or modified on the current day. Does not mark files as having been backed up. Relatively low Must be performed every day. Must be restored in exact order of creation after restoring full backup.
Copy Backs up all selected files. Does not mark files as having been backed up. High Used most often to copy files from one computer to another.



Bruce Miller, 2003, 2007, 2014