By Delia / Last update March 9, 2022

Why do you need a backup software that only copies changes?

With the increase amount of daily work, more and more files need to be backed up just in case. In order to make sure the integrity of your files, most people prefer to make a full backup. As everyone knows, full backup needs a long time.

Is there an easy way to copy changed files only? Incremental and differential backup can solve this problem successfully. By comparison, incremental backup requires less storage space and shorter time. But incremental backup needs longer time to restore data. You can choose a backup type according to your needs based on their feature. 

Backup Method Backup Speed Storage Space Restore Time
Incremental Backup Faster Smaller Longer
Differential Backup Slower Larger  Shorter

What is the incremental and differential backup? 

Incremental backup, base on the previous backup (full backup or incremental backup), only copies changed files and newly added files for you. When you make an incremental backup, you must use a full backup as the starting point. Then you can make the first incremental backup after the full backup. By parity of reasoning, you can get the second incremental backup after the first incremental backup. Therefore, if one of the incremental backups is damaged, others will be affected.

Differential backup based on the originating full backup, backups only files that have changed. When you make a differential backup, it will backup copies only the files that have changed since the last full backup. If one of the differential backups is damaged, others will not be affected.

Best free backup software that only copies changes – AOMEI Backupper

If you want to find a backup software that only copies changed files, AOMEI Backupper Standard may be a good choice. This best free backup software can run smoothly on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and XP. And you can make an incremental backup easily with its simple interface and easy steps. 

Rich backup solutions: It support "System Backup", "Disk Backup", "Partition Backup", "File Backup ( to backup files such as photos, music and so on)", so you can backup any items you want. Any storage device recognized by Windows is available.
Schedule backup changed files only: You can copy changed files manually, but it only keep changes since last backup and will not include changes made later. To keep all the changes in the future, schedule your task.
Other disk space saver: Except for incremental backup, this software uses normal compression, automatic splitting, intelligent sector backup, etc by default. They do a big favor in reduce the size of backup image.

Besides, this software is totally safe, you don’t need to install other plug-ins. How to use it? Let’s take the incremental backup as an example. You can follow the easy steps below.

how to use backup software that only copies changes 

Before you start to copy changed files only, please download this software on your computer and install it. 

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

(PS: This free version only works for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server. 70% off for one server computer.)

Step 1. Launch this software. Choose Backup from the left list and then click System Backup to create a full backup for your system.

System Backup

Step 2. The required system partition is selected by default. Select your destination path by clicking the lower box. Then click Start Backup to get a full backup.

Select Backup Destination

Note: If you decide to backup system to an external device, you need to connect it with your computer. The external device will be overwritten. You need to backup the data of the device in advance.

Step 3. After the backup finished, go to the Home and set the incremental backup manually.

Select the backup image you created > pitch on Backup and Incremental Backup. Then, a pop-up window will appear, write comment if you want and click Start Backup. Wait until the process is complete, you will get the incremental backup if you made any changes to the full backup.

Incremental Backup Home

As mentioned eariler, setting up incremental backup manually is not a good choice for continuous protection. You can choose to make it schedule by Schedule Backup in the Step 2.

You have 5 options, including Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger and USB plug in (to backup system to USB flash drive automatically when it's plugged in). The last two features requires an upgrade before using.

Schedule Settings General

Now you can protect your system by including all the changes made later. But this may result in another issue - backup disk full due to accumulated backups.

To resolve this completely, try automatic backup cleanup methods (By quantity, By time, By daily/weekly/monthly) in the Backup Scheme. They are available on the professional verion.

Incremental or Differential Backup

Tips:

  • You can click Check backup integrity on completion in the System Backup Progress. If you choose this tab, the program will check the integrity of the backup image. Thus, you can recover it successfully later.

  • You also can click Shut down PC to choose Shut down PC, Restart PC, Hibernate or Sleep according to your needs.

Summary

Backup software that only copy changes play a great role in saving time and storage space, you can choose to create an incremental backup or differential backup, depending on the backup time, backup speed and recovery time. 

And it's a wise choice to make this task schedule, so as to keep all the changes made in the future. And you can reduce data loss as much as possible if your computer runs into issues. Besides, you can set automatic backup cleanup methods in the backup scheme to delete old backups automatically. Try AOMEI Backupper to make it!