By Delia / Last update September 26, 2021

What is Continuous Backup

Continuous backup, also known as continuous data protection (CDP), is an advanced backup scheme which auto saves each copy of your changed data on a tight schedule or in real-time.

Continuous backup is a time-honored concept which has long been adopted by some data backup software, and still in use today. Compared to traditional data backup solution, CDP has some obvious advantages:

◆  The backup is auto executed, you don’t need to set up manual backup every time, nor worry about data loss.

◆  For frequently modified data, you can keep different copies of it, and revert to any old version when needed.

In the following article I’ll introduce how to perform continuous backup in Windows 10/8/7, and the best continuous backup software providing continuous data protection.

Continuous Backup

How to Implement Continuous Data Protection in Windows 10/8/7

When you search for this term on Google, most of the results are probably 3rd-party continuous backup software. Does this mean that continuous data protection cannot be implemented with Windows built-in utilities?

Well, given the existing backup methods of Windows 10/8/7, it's possible to set up a schedule for automatic backup, but the features are very limited - both in offered options and backup speed & success rate.

For example, in Windows Backup and Restore, you can't set continuous backup more frequent than once a day; in File History, you are only allowed to auto backup files to external hard drive. And in System Image Backup, there's no shedule option at all, which means you cannot continuously backup Windows operating system.

Besides, none of these utilities supports real-time backup, which executes automatically when any changes is captured. So it's still recommened to perform CDP with specialist continuous backup software.

But if you are fine with these conditions, here are the approaches to create a scheduled backup in Windows 10/8/7.

  • In Windows File History:

It applies to Windows 8/8.1/10 for automatic files backup.

Backup Options

1. You can find it in Start > Settings > Update & Security > Backup, or directly type File History in the search bar.
2. Connect an external hard drive > Click Add a drive to select it > Click More options to choose the frequency (from hourly to daily).

  • In Windows Backup and Restore:

It applies to Windows 7/8/10 for folders & libraries or system image backup, but you can only set up a schedule for folders & libraries.

Change Schedule

1. Search for it to enter Backup window > click Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)
2. Click Set up backup > follow the wizard and click Change schedule in Review your backup settings page > Choose from Daily/Weekly/Monthly.

You can find detailed tutorial with screenshots in this Windows 10 backup options guide.

Best Continuous Backup Software for Windows Continuous Protection

To set up continuous backup more flexibly and adopt tight protection for your computer data in Windows, an effective continuous backup software is still necessary. AOMEI Backupper, for example, is a complete backup & restore software that can satisfy your needs perfectly.

  • It supports all Windows OS including Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista, and various devices, e.g. internal/external hard drive, USB, network, cloud drive.

  • It enables you to create a schedule backup to auto backup files, partitions, system or even the disk flexibly. To be specific, you could select daily/weekly/monthly, and further set up the specific time points and intervals. Moreover, there are options triggered by events, like startup, shutdown, usb plug-in. 

  • It provides Real-Time Sync feature to continuous backup changed files in real-time.

  • In addition, there are Clone features and some practical Tools to manage your system and data.

To adopt continuous data protection on your computer, you can try following steps to set up backup on a schedule, or sync changed files from the source to the destination in real-time. Keep reading and try the method you prefer.

★ How to continuous backup Windows with a tight schedule:

The most common continuous backup may be automatic backup with a reasonable schedule. Compared with Windows built-in utilities, the completely free software AOMEI Backupper Standard offers you more detailed schedule options to protect your data tightly, and yes, it supports you to continuous backup Windows operating system.

Download this continuous backup software for further operation:

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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1. Go to Backup tab, choose System Backup. Other backup types are also available.

System Backup

2. Choose a destination while the system partitions are automatically selected as source. Click on the inverted triangle icon, you can also choose Select a network location or Select a cloud drive.

Select Backup Destination

3. Click Schedule to set up the continuous backup. You can choose Daily/Weekly/Monthly and then do further settings, like the specific time point or intervals. Thus you can also perform backup multiple times a day/week/month.

>> If you upgrade to Professional or higher editions, you'll enjoy two more schedule options, Event triggers and USB plug in. The former could perform backup at each logon/off, or startup/shutdown, and the latter will perform backup once source or target USB is detected.
>> If you are worried about the accumulated image files of continuous backup filling up your storage space, you could use the Scheme option in advanced editions to auto deleting older backups.

Schedule Settings General

4. Click Start Backup and wait for the progress to end.

The scheduled incremental backup will backup only changed or newly add files each time. To restore an earlier version from a continous backup, just go to Restore > Select Task or Select Image File, then choose the image file at the time point you want to go back to.

★ How to continuous backup changed files and folders in real-time:

If you don't feel like creating a schedule, and want to backup changed files in real-time, then Real-Time Sync may suit your needs better. It's available in AOMEI Backupper Professinal and enables you to automatically sync files or folders from souce directory to target directory once changes are detected. 

In this version of AOMEI Backupper, you can use more powerful features as well, like Scheme, Two-Way Sync, Mirror Sync, and earlier mentioned advanced scheduled options. Note the real time sync won't keep different versions of your changed data (only the lastest version). Please choose your way to perform continuous backup accordingly. Download the free trial of Pro edition to have a try.

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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1. Navigate to Sync tab, you can find several options here. Choose Real-Time Sync for continuous backup.

Realtime Sync

2. Click Add folder to specify the data you want to sync, you can click the + button to add multiple folders.

>> For data on NAS or network share, you can click Share/NAS button in the popping-out window.
>> You can click on the funnel button to include or exclude files with specific formats in Filter settings.

Add Folders

3. Select a destination directory. In addition to local disk, you can also sync to network, external hard drive, USB, etc.

>> To backup changed files to removable devices in real time, you need to keep the corresponding device always connected.

Add Destination

4. Click Start Sync and wait for the process to complete.

That’s it, your files are now under the continuous data protection. Once there are changes detected in the source directory, they will be synchronized to the target directory in real time.

◆ What’s the difference between Sync and Image Backup?
They are both effective data protection solutions and are both considered as backup in a broad sense. But a backup is a restorable image of the source data that can’t be used directly, while sync will create an exact copy of the files with original format. With image backup, you could keep multiple copies of different versions for accurate recovery. And with sync, you could directly access and use the copied data.

◆ Mirror Sync and Two-Way Sync
There are two more advanced sync modes in Professional edition.
Mirror Sync - it will keep the target directory exactly the same as the source directory. For example, if you accidently add a file to the target directory, Real-Time Sync will do nothing about it, while Mirror Sync will delete it at the next sync. Also, you need to set up a schedule for it to run automatically.
Two-Way Sync - as the name suggests, it will sync any changes in the source or target directory to the other side. To auto run it, you need to create a schedule as well.


Continuous backup will automatically save your changed data with a schedule or in real time. In Windows 10/8/7, however, there’s no built-in utilities can provide effective and flexible continuous data protection, so you still need continuous backup software for this purpose.

Among a variety of Windows backup software on the market, AOMEI Backupper is a good choice as continuous backup software. Using it, you can perform scheduled backup or real-time sync to continuously protect your important data. What’s more, there are also clone features allowing you to migrate OS to another hard drive. Even if you are Windows Server user, you can make use of the Server edition.