Two Simple Ways to Run an Incremental Copy in Windows

Running an incremental copy in Windows is a good way to save backup storage space and minimize the time required for backup. To do so, two easy ways are listed here.


By Delia Updated on December 23, 2022

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Incremental copy in Windows

Taking regular backups is a good habit, as data loss and system corruption may happen due to various reasons, such as accident shutdown, hard drive failure, and virus attack, etc. As the most common backup type, full backup works well to copy your entire data set. However, this method is not suitable for those who frequently add or modify data.

Continuous full backups not only waste a lot time but also fill up your disk quickly. Consequently, incremental backups become more and more popular. Incremental backup (also known as incremental copy) is similar to differential backup, which is created to backup only changes.

The difference between incremental and differential backup is that a differential backup copies changed data since the last full backup, while incremental backup copies changed data since the previous full or incremental backup. Thus, an incremental backup requires less storage space and shorter time for backup.

Incremental Backup

How to create an incremental backup in Windows with ease

Here are 2 quick guides on how to make an incremental copy in Windows. Preview them and then choose the one that works best for you.

#1: Use Windows Backup and Restore to get an incremental copy

Windows 7 Backup and Restore is a Windows built-in service that can realize incremental backups using schedule backups. Let’s see how it works.

Step 1. Open Control Panel from start menu.

Step 2. Click Back up your computer under System and Security.

Backup Computer

Step 3. Click Set up backup to get started.

Set Up Backup

Step 4. Choose where to save the image file.

Step 5. Choose what to backup by clicking Let Windows choose or Let me choose.

Step 6. Select the data you want to backup. Then click Next.

Select Data

Step 7. Change the schedule settings as you like and then click Save settings and run backup to get an incremental backup in Windows 7.

Change Schedule


After setting up a scheduled backup, Windows Backup will run as incremental backup by default. However, it is reported that Windows Backup often goes wrong during creating a new incremental backup. Sometimes you may even end up with no backup at all.

Besides, before scheduling backups you should also pay attention to Windows 7 Backup limitations, for instance, some specific files cannot be backed up. To keep your data safe and break these limits, the second method is highly recommended.

#2: Use the freeware to perform a Windows incremental backup

AOMEI Backupper Standard makes up for the shortcomings of Windows Backup successfully. It features with a strong stability. Almost all data can be backed up with this utility. By using it, you are allowed to backup system/disk/partition/file to internal/external hard drive, NAS device and network.

Optional compression and splitting settings free up more disk space. Best of all, anyone can download it free! Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP are supported. Take system backup as an example to explore this freeware.

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

Step 1. Install and open this freeware.

Install AOMEI Backupper Standard

Step 2. Click Backup to choose System Backup.

System Backup

Step 3. Modify the Task Name as you wish. Then, click the second box and select a destination path to store the backup image.

Select Destination Path

Step 4. Click Schedule Backup to set up the frequency for automatic backup (daily, weekly, monthly)and it will run in Incremental Backup by default.

Incremental Backup

Step 5. Click Start Backup to run the backup.

Start Backup


  • If you intend to create a scheduled differential backup, you need do an edition upgrade.

  • You can click Backup Options at Step 5 to comment, compress or split this backup image.

  • Backup Scheme enables you to choose backup method (full/incremental/differential), and enable automatic backup cleanup to delete old backup files automatically (supported by AOMEI Backupper Professional).

  • You may need to restore system image later. Go Home > the system backup task > Restore to finish this task.


This article contains two easy ways to perform an incremental copy in Windows. I suggest you use AOMEI Backupper Standard, because it is safer and simpler. Also, this freeware offers you more advanced options. More pleasing, it also can be used to create a block level incremental backup.

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.