Incremental Backup VS Differential Backup

Incremental backup and differential backup are two backup types. They both back up only changed data and therefore save your time and storage space. But what's the difference between incremental and differential backup, which one is better? Let’s take a close look.

  • Incremental Backup:
    It will backup all changed or increased data based on last full backup or incremental backup. That is, if you have made a full backup and two subsequent incremental backups, the first one will back up data changed after the full backup, and the second one will back up data changed after the first incremental backup.
    The restoration of incremental backup requires the last full backup plus all the following incremental backups.
    Pros: It takes the least backup time and storage space.
    Cons: The recovery process is comparatively long, and if any of the incremental image files in the sequence is damaged or missing, the subsequent image files will be invalid.
  • Differential Backup:
    It will backup all the changed data based on the last full backup. For example, if you make a full backup on Monday, a differential backup on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, then the Tuesday's backup will contain the changes from Monday to Tuesday, and the Wednesday's backup will contain all the changes from Monday to Wednesday.
    The restoration of differential backup requires the last full backup and the latest differential backup.
    Pros: It takes less restoration time, and if one of the differential image files gets damaged, other images won't be affected.
    Cons: It consumes larger storage space and takes longer time to backup.

Many people are aware of the importance of backup and have taken actions to protect their data. However, for users who perform frequent backups, it's common to run out of storage space, or spend too much time to execute and complete the backup. Under this circumstance, it's definitely a good idea to back up only changed files manually or on regular basis. To achieve this, you need incremental and differential backup software, AOMEI Backupper.

How to Perform Scheduled Incremental or Differential Backup with AOMEI Backupper?


Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper to create a backup task. For example, select Backup, and choose File Backup to specify the source and target, then click Schedule to set up the backup frequency in General tab, like Daily, Weekly, Monthly.

Step 2. Switch to Advanced tab to choose backup type. Options include Full backup, Incremental Backup (Default) and Differential Backup. You may upgrade to advanced editions to perform scheduled differential backup.

Step 3. Click Start Backup to execute the task. After finishing the first-time full backup, the process will run automatically at the time you set to perform incremental or differential backup.

Further Tutorials & Video Guides

If you want to know more about incremental backup and differential backup, please refer to following documents and video.

More Tutorials

Incremental backup and differential backup have their own features. If you want to know more about incremental or differential backup:

Learn More

How to Backup

You could refer to the following tutorials to backup system, partitions, disks or files:

System Backup Partition and Volume Backup Disk Backup File and Folders Backup

Study Video

Video tutorial of incremental/differential backup: