Windows 7 Incremental Backup - Only Backup Changed Files

You will learn the Windows 7 incremental backup meaning and how to create it step by step, 2 ways in total.


By Yuka Updated on October 28, 2022

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Basic information of incremental backup

Incremental backup refers to a backup in which data objects modified since the last full backup or incremental backup. In another word, an incremental backup will only back up the changed data based on the last backup

Incremental Backup

The advantage of an Incremental backup is that it saves disk space and running time while keeping all the files backed up. However, it does have some disadvantages.

  • It is more demanding on backup intact. Since every incremental backup is based on the last backup, if one of the incremental backups gets lost, you will lose all the backups after that incremental backup.
  • The recovery process require more time. When you come to restore the backup performed as incremental backup, it will take more time since it needs to use all the incremental backups and the corresponding full backup.

Besides, you may hear Windows 7 differential backup, it's similar to Windows 7 incremental backup, but backup the changed files since the last full backup. In view of this, it only requires one full backup and any of differential backup for recovery. And it takes less time.

Windows 7 Backup and Restore for incremental backup

The Backup and Restore in Windows 7 performs schedule backup using the incremental backup method. And it allows you to choose if you want to include a system image in this software. You can follow the steps below to configure one:

  1. Open the Windows backup tool. You can find it under System and Security in Control Panel. Or directly search backup and restore and select the best match.

Back up

  1. Click “Set up backup“ to get started.

Set Up Backup

  1. Choose where to save the image backup. You can perform Windows 7 incremental backup to external drive if it's recognized by Windows. 

Where to Save

  1. Choose what to backup by selecting “Let Windows choose” or “Let me choose” to create a custom backup.

Let Me Choose

  1. Select files or folders you want to backup in the following window if you select let me choose in the previous step. Then, click Next and “Save settings and run backup” to create Windows 7 incremental backup. 
By default, it will set a schedule at 7:00 PM every Sunday to run the backup. You can click “Change schedule” to modify it according to your needs. 

What to Backup

Besides this method, you can also use WBadmin enable backup command line to create incremental backup on Windows 7 from a command prompt.

Microsoft does not want users to get messed up with full backup and incremental backup, so Windows 7 backup will perform incremental backup by default. There is a way to change whether to perform a full backup or incremental backup in Registry, which is not confirmed by Microsoft. Therefore, it is not recommended to modify it.

However, if some error occurs during creating the new full backup, you will end up with no backup at all. And it will not delete old backup images automatically when there is not enough space for new backups. You can only choose to delete backup files one by one or all of them at once.  And it does not compress backup image, which makes this issue even worse.

More flexible way to perform Windows 7 incremental backup

Here you will use the best Windows 7 incremental backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard to create Windows 7 incremental backup. You can perform it in all the backup solutions with a scheduled (daily, weekly, monthly) or on-time backup task. Below are some advantages of this software:

It supports all the backup solutions, including system backup, disk backup, partition backup, file backup and cloud backup
It will compress backup images automatically to reduce the size of image file. The default option is normal compression, but you can change it to high compression level. It requires more backup time but least image size.
It will automatically split backup image to a smaller one. It's especially useful to copy larger files, for example, you want to copy a file larger than 4GB from partition formatted NTFS to FAT32. 
It allows you to create a bootable USB or CD/DVD to boot computer when it fails. 

To get started, please download, install and launch this freeware on your computer. The free version does not delete old backup images automatically, if needed, please upgrade to the professional version. Thus, you don't need to worry about backup disk full issue in a scheduled task.

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

1. Click “Backup", and select one type of backup you need. Let's take System Backup as an example.

System Backup

2. All files needed for a system restore have already been included in the System Backup window, so click the lower blank to select a destination path.

Select Destination

3. Set a specific time to run a backup by clicking the “Schedule Backup” button. You can choose Daily, Weekly, or Monthly and the incremental backup “ is the default backup method. And click “Start Backup” to run the backup as scheduled.


Also, you can enjoy Event trigger or USB plug in on the professional version.

If you upgrade, you still can enjoy one flexible backup method - differential backup and cleanup methods in the Backup Scheme. You can learn more about Windows 7 backup incremental or differential and then decide which method you want to use.

Incremental Backup

Tip on how to create one-time incremental backup:

  • Switch to the Home tab and select the backup image you created.
  • Then, go to BackupIncremental Backup to perform an incremental backup.

Choose Incremental Backup

  • After that, you will see the Comment window. Write a comment if you want to distinguish it from others and click OK.


This article has provided you with 2 ways to create Windows 7 incremental backup. You can select one of them, but if you want one more flexible way, try AOMEI Backupper Standard. With which, you can perform incremental backup in all the backup solutions. And it helps you alleviate the image size and disk usage to make up more space for backups. Apart from Windows 7 incremental backup, you can also use it to clone hard drive to SSD, sync files, and more. 

Also, its advanced edition allows you to delete old backup automatically, so you can keep all the changes made later and use least disk space. To deploy system image to multiple computers simultaneously, try image deployment software in the AOMEI Backupper Technician. And it allows you to create portable version of this software and take it everywhere. 

Yuka · Editor
Yuka, our dedicated editor at AOMEI Technology, is committed to bringing you valuable insights and guidance in data protection. Her mission is to empower everyone with her knowledge in computer backup and recovery, disk cloning, file synchronization, and more. Yuka's goal is to do her best to make complex tech tasks simple and ensure that your digital world remains safe and secure.