File-based Backup | What, When & How

If you want to protect your data, file-based backup is the most easy and common backup type you can choose. In this article, I will introduce what is file-based backup, when and how to perform it.


By Crystal / Updated on June 21, 2022

Share this: instagram reddit

What is file-based backup

Whether you are an individual user or a business, you must have generated a lot of data since you started using computers. Some of them are very important. To protect data from accidental loss, it is vital to perform regular data backups.

Generally, there are 2 type of data backups: file-based backup and image-based backup.

File-based backup

So, what are file-based backup and image-based backup? Generally speaking,

  • File-based backup: backup individual files and folders.
  • Image-based backup: create a full copy of an entire hard disk or operating system.

File-based backup vs image-based backup: What’s the difference

To further understand file-based backup, we need to compare it to image-based backup. To summarize, there are 3 differences between them:

  File-based Backup Image-based Backup
Backup content Individual files or folders A whole disk or system
Backup speed Faster Slower
Data Security Protect critical files Protect business systems comprehensively
Restore flexibility Restore particular files Restore entire image
Restore speed Faster Slower
Cost Lower Higher

How does file-based backup work

Technically, file-based backup operates on a level of a file system, determining files and folders and processing them for the backup.

You will need to install a backup software or agent on the source machine to perform file-based backups and restore. And if you want to restore the backup to another machine or cloud server, you still need to install the software or agent on the target host.

File-based backup

When to perform file-based backup

File-based backup is an effective way to protect relatively small amounts of data. If you are an individual user, or small-sized organization with limited data, file-based backup is fast, easy to operate, and cost-effective solution to secure your data.

However, if want to recover an entire system after disasters such as a server crash, then you should not choose file-based backup.

This is because although the operating system configuration is stored in files, when you copy the contents of one file directly, another file may be altered as a result. Image-level backup can avoid this problem happen.

An effective software to perform file-based backup

In fact, you can backup and restore files or folders manually, but this is only convenient if you have small amount of data to backup. To back up a large number of files or folders, or to automate the backup and restore process, you may still need to install a professional backup software.

Therefore, here I will introduce you an effective file-based backup software: AOMEI Centralized Backupper.

It centralized the features of File, System, Disk, Partition, and SQL Server Backup, as well as Basic Sync, Real-Time Sync, and Mirror Sync.

In addition, by installing the backup agent on your virtual machine, you can even backup and restore your virtual machine as it is a physical machine.

In the next part, I will show you how to perform file-based backup via AOMEI Centralized Backupper. You can click the following button to start a free trial.

Download Free TrialWin PCs & Servers
Secure Download

How to perform file-based backup via AOMEI Centralized Backupper

1. Launch AOMEI Centralized Backupper, and navigate to Computers > Uncontrolled Computers. Check the physical machines or virtual machines (with a static IP) you want to back up from the Computers list, and click Request Control.

It will pop up a request window on both of the machines, once authorized you can back up whenever you like without repeat this step again.

Request Control

2. Navigate to Tasks > New Task > File Backup. You can change the task name by moving the cursor over the task name and click on it.

File backup

3. There are 3 steps to follow.

Step 1, click + Add Computers to specify the controlled machine as the source machine, click OK to confirm.

Add computers

4. Click Step 2 to specify the file or folder you want to backup.

Add source files or folders

5. Click Step 3 to specify a Share or NAS device to store the backup. Then you can click Start Backup and choose to Only create the task or Create and execute tasks.

Add storage

The created task will be listed separately in Tasks.

Click Advanced > Restore on the right top of the task, you can choose to Restore to the original location, or Restore to another location.

Restore to a new location


File-based backup is the most basic and common type of backups. In this article, I introduced what is file-based backup, when should you perform it, and a professional software to perform it.

If you want to perform image-based backup of virtual machines, there is also an effective and affordable software AOMEI Cyber Backup that centralized the backup of both VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.