What Is Block Level Backup and How to Use It?

You will learn more about block-level backup and file-level backup as well as how to create block level incremental backup step by step.


by Delia Updated on October 18, 2022

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What is block-level backup?

Block-level backup is a feature of incremental or differential backup, in which backup only changed files with snapshot technology. And it even allows you to backup files that are currently in use.

Block Level Backup

In contrast, there is another backup type called file-level backup, which is applicable to backup individual files or folders. You cannot use it to backup patition, system or disk. 

Block-level backup vs file-level backup: which is better?

Speaking of block-level backup, many users want to know: block-level backup vs file-level backup, you can check the following content and get clear idea.

  Block-Level Backup File-Level Backup
Backup Speed Faster  Much slower 
Backup Content backup only changed blocks in the disk, system or partition, even files in use. Look through every file to detect changes and replace the original file, not including file in use.
System resource consumption Use fewer system resources and do not affect other running processes. Use more system resources and be able to affect other running processes.

Thus, if you want to backup only changed block in the files, system, partition or disk, instead of replacing original files with changes, try block-level backup instead of file-level backup. This will save you much backup time and disk space. 

Block-level backup software to backup only changed files 

AOMEI Backupper Standard is free backup software for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista and allows you to backup disk, system, partition, and files automatically. All of them support block-level backup, so you can choose to backup only changed files instead of replacing original files with changes.

Usually, there are two block-level backup, namely block-level incremental backup and block-level differential backup. Both of them are based on full backup, but has a little differences.

The incremental backup is the default backup method and totally free. It will backup only changes since last backup, whether it's a full backup or incremental, and this may result in the backup image being invalid if any of them get damaged between two full backups.
By contrast, the differential backup (advanced feature) only changes since the last full backup and does not have this limitation. Even if one or more backups get damaged, you still can restore Windows image to new hard drive successfully. However, it will use more backup time as well as disk space.

Anyway, the incremental backup is worth-trying if you want to backup only changed block in the files. To avoid backup corruption and data loss due to it, it's suggested to set daily/weekly/monthly schedule Backup to perform continuous data protection.

How to create block level incremental backup step by step 

AOMEI Backupper Standard comes with very user-friendly interface. You will know how it works just by looking at it. Before you start to create an incremental backup, please download, install and open this software. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Click “Backup", and select one type of backup based on what you want to include in the backup. Let's take System Backup as an example.

System Backup

Step 2. All the system related partitions are automatically selected and you just need to select a destination path to save backup image. You can backup Windows 10 to external hard drive, network drive or other locations that are detected in Windows.

Select Destination

Step 3. Click “Schedule Backup” to enable daily/weekly/monthly backup and incremental backup. Afteward, click “Start Backup” to perform block-level system backup. 

It will create one full backup at the first time and then create 6 incremental backups by default if you enable schedule backup, then repeat the backup process.

Backup Methods

Also, you can manually perform incremental backup at Home screen. Just select the backup image and click Backup > Incremental Backup, then click OK to confirm.

Incremental Backup Home

But if you are worried the incremental backup gets corrupted and causes data loss, you can choose to use differential backup. It can make compensate for this shortcoming in the incremental backup.

Besides, the incremental backup may become invalid if you delete old backup manually while backup disk full. Thus, it's suggested to delete backup  file automatically.

You could enable backup scheme and its automatic backup cleanup methods in this software. You have 3 options, By quantity,  By time, By daily/weekly/monthly. You need to upgrade now (5% off for one computer) before using it. 

Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup

Besides, you still can enable email notification to confirm if the backup task is completed successfully or not. Comment, split, compress the backup image, or select a backup mode, etc. 

AOMEI Email SMS Notification Settings

As mentioned, block level backup only takes very few computer resources, you can always run the backup during watching movies, writing papers, surfing the web, or doing other stuff.

To avoid computer failure, you could consider creating a bootable USB or CD/DVD. It has the ability to boot computer from it and restore system image without booting into Windows 10. 

Also, if you don't have any storage device, please try to make a recovery environment  in Windows 10. It's to add boot menu on the cureent computer and you can access it at the system startup every time.

Recovery Environment


You can backup system, disk, partition or files with block-level backup and save much disk space as long as you use a reliable block-level backup software. If you create block-level incremental backup, you need to pay more attention to its security. Since the corrupted incremental backup will invalidate subsequent backups and you may find system restore failed finally.

To avoid this problem, you can choose to schedule backup them, replace it with differential backup, delete old backup image automatically. Any one of them is helpful, but combining them all is best. And these backup settings applies to all the backup types.

All the backup images is not accessible unless you restore backup image first. To access them flexible, try Clone or Sync feature. For example, if you want to clone hard drive to SSD, you need to use Disk Clone feature.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.