Computing F451: Back ups and Archives

Notes on Backing up data and archiving data

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Full Back Up

Full Back Up is the process of copying all files to provide a complete snapshot of the data on a system at a particular point in time


  • Restore is the fastest
  • The entire backed-up data is stored in a single file (better storage management)


  • Backing up is the slowest compared to other backup types
  • The storage space requirements are the highest (compared to incremental backup or differential backup). Considering how cheap storage devices are now, this is a low impact disadvantage.
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Differential Back Up

Differential Back Up is when you make a copy of the data files that have changed since the last FULL back up (back up as you go along). 

There is a significant distinction between differential and incremental backup. Incremental backs up all the files modified since the last full, differential or incremental backup. Differential backup offers a middle ground by backing up all the files that have changed since the last full backup. 


  • Restore is faster than restoring from incremental backup
  • Backing up is faster than a full backup
  • The storage space requirements are lower than for full backup


  • Restore is slower than restoring from full backup
  • Backing up is slower than incremental backup
  • The storage space requirements are higher than for incremental backup
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Incremental Back Up

Incremental backup provides a faster method of backing up data than repeatedly running full back ups. Only files changed since the most recent backup are included here. That is where it gets the name,  each backup is an increment for a previous backup


  • It is the fastest backup type since it only backs-up increments
  • Saves storage space compared to other types
  • Each backup increment can store a different version for a file/folder


  • Full restore is slow compared to other backup types (you need the first full backup and all increments since then)
  • To restore the latest version of an individual file the increment that contains it must be found first
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