Top 2 Ways to Create Incremental Backup in Windows Server 2008 (R2)

This article will show you the top 2 ways to create incremental backups in Windows Server 2008 (R2) that work even when Windows Server Backup not doing incremental backups.


by Ivy Updated on December 1, 2022

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Contents of this article:

Is Windows Server Backup Incremental?

"Hi, I encounter a problem. My computer system is Windows Server 2008, there are large of data stored on my computer. I backed up some important files and folders, and then, add new files, there is a warning to tell me my disk is running out. I need to back up all of them. Is Windows Server Backup incremental or any idea to do it? I am urgent. Please help me."

The answer is yes, Windows Server Backup enables you to create an incremental backup in Windows Server Backup, and it says it will, by default, create an incremental backup that behaves like a full backup, but only occupy space needed for incremental backup, and delete old backup automatically

So what is an incremental backup? How can I create incremental backup with Windows Server Backup? Please continue to read below.

What Is Incremental Backup?

In general, there are 3 backup types, namely, Full backup, incremental backup, and differential backup, and the first backup is the basis of the last two backups. Thus, both backup only changes after the first full backup, but with different rule: 

Incremental backup: It backs up the newly changed, added, or deleted data based on the last backup, and it can be a full backup or incremental backup. On the basis of the last backup, there will be a mutually dependent relationship between these backup image files. The last image file of incremental backup is based on the previous image file. This means, if you delete a previous image file, all the subsequent image files will be invalid.

Differential backup: Similarly, it backup all the changes, but it is based on the last full backup. With this in mind, it is relatively independent, so you just need one full backup and any differential backup in recovery. Note that data is different in each differential backup, to keep data intact, it's suggested to use the latest one.

Incremental Vs Differential

By comparison, the incremental backup takes less backup time and disk space. It's worth trying if you want the most effective methods with the least disk space, please be sure of the security of the backup drive. Also, you can choose to use differential backup as a backup method, it's easy to manage and safer, so you don't need to worry about the backup image being damaged. Click here to learn the differences between incremental and differential backup.

Create Windows Server 2008 (R2) Incremental Backup with Windows Server Backup

Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 would help you a lot to create an incremental backup with the least disk space. Please note that this tool is not installed by default, you need to install it manually in Server Manager.

Open the Server Manager in Administrative Tools, and click Features. Then click Add Features > Select Features and choose Windows Sever Backup Features and click Install.

Install Windows Server Backup

Then, follow the steps below and create Windows Server 2008 (R2) incremental backup. 

1. Click Start > Administrative Tools > Windows Server Backup to open it.  Then, select Configure Performance Settings in the Actions column.

2. Tick Faster backup performance, and press OK.

Faster Backup Performance


  • Normal Backup Performance: It is what we call a full backup, which takes longer.
  • Faster backup performance: It is the incremental backup, which backs up only changes since the last backup.
  • Custom: It allows you to set the backup type for each volume, for example, create a full backup for data partitions but incremental backup for system partition.

3. Then press Backup Schedule... in the Actions column, and then click Next >.

4. Tick Full Server (Recommended), and press Next >.

Full Server

5. Choose Once a day or More than Once a day and specify the time you would like to backup, and hit Next >.

Schedule Backup Time

6. Select Back up to a hard disk that is dedicated for backups (recommended), and press Next >.

Dedicated Backup Disk

7. Tick Show All Available Disks and select the disk in the list, click OK to add it. Then, select the disk again, and click Next >.

Add and Select Backup Disk

8. Confirm the Windows Server 2008 (R2) incremental backup task and press Finish to create it. 

And then you will get the incremental backup in Windows Server 2008. By the way, you could perform Wbadmin incremental backup if you are familiar with it.

However, there are some limitations of Windows Server Backup:

  • You can only schedule backup once a day or more than once a day. 

  • Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 (R2) and Windows Server 2003 (R2) could not backup volume larger than 2 TB.

  • Removable storage media not supported, like Tape, CD, USB flash drive, etc.

  • Windows Server 2008 does not support backing up to a network share. Windows Server 2008 R2 and newer system support, but it will keep only the latest network shared backup. 

  • Windows Server Backup does not support differential backup. 

If you happen to encounter these problems or think the steps are quite complicated, you still can create Windows Server 2008 (R2) incremental backup with third-party reliable software in the next part. You can complete the backup task in simple steps and it's easy to set schedule backup and incremental backup, even the backup retention policy.


Simple Way to Create Windows Server 2008 Incremental Backup 

AOMEI Backupper Server is a reliable and professional server backup software to help you create incremental backups in Windows Server 2008 and it is more flexible and easy to operate. With this software, you can also enjoy the following advantages and excellent features: 

  • All-in-one backup solutions: system backup, disk backup, partition backup, file backup and cloud backup. 

  • Flexible backup settings: it supports 5 schedule backup options, once you enable one of them, you can enjoy incremental backup automatically without configuring it. You can also switch to differential backup and set the automatic backup cleanup method. 

  • Rich backup storage: local disk, external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD/DVD, Network share or NAS, and even the cloud. And you can keep multiple backups in all of them. 

Please download AOMEI Backupper Server to have a try!

Download Free TrialWin PCs & Servers  
Secure Download

(PS: If you want to create an incremental backup for multiple computers in a company or different locations, try the AOMEI Backupper TechPlus edition. It supports unlimited PCs & servers and allows you to run AOMEI Backupper from a flash drive without installing again.)

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Server, click Backup, and choose Disk Backup. Or choose System Backup, Partition Backup, File Backup, or Cloud Backup if you prefer.

Disk Backup

Step 2. Click Add Disk to choose Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 hard disk. Rename the Task Name if required.

Add Disk

Note: You can backup multiple hard drives at the same time by clicking Add Disk to select the disk you want to backup. But you can only restore disk one by one.

Step 3. Press the inverted triangle icon to select a local path or add a share or NAS device to store backup images. If it's an external disk, please connect it in advance. If it's a network location, you need to have access permission for it. 

Select Backup Destination

Step 4. Click Schedule Backup and enable it, then select Daily, Weekly Monthly, Event triggers, or USB plug in. And, by default, it will enable incremental backup automatically. 

Configure Backup Method

Besides, you still enjoy other useful features:

  • Options: It allows you to comment on the incremental backup in Windows Server 2008 R2, split, compress, or encrypt the backup image, enable email or SMS notification, use Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), etc.
  • Schedule Backup: You can still set the Wake the computer to run the scheduled task and preset the operation after completion: shutdown, restart, sleep, or hibernate.
  • Backup Scheme: Except for incremental backup, you can also use different backup and set automatic backup cleanup methods to automatically delete old backup images for more space. To keep old backups as long as possible, try By daily/weekly/monthly, which is a hierarchical deletion method.

Step 5. Hit Start Backup >> button to perform Windows Server 2008 R2 incremental Backup automatically. The first time you execute the task, it will create a full backup, and then create incremental backups when changes happen. 

✎ How to set incremental backup manually: 

Go to Home > Find the backup task, and click the more options icon > Backup > Incremental Backup. That is, you could also perform a full backup or differential backup here.

Home Incremental Differential

Further Reading: Windows Server 2008 (R2) End of Support

According to Microsoft, Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 support has been ended on January 14, 2020. It means that you can’t get Windows security updates, drivers, and other patches. And it becomes vulnerable, your computer may be attacked and there is a system crash, data corruption, virus attack, human error, etc. 

In this case, you are about to face the question of whether to upgrade and data security. How should you decide?

  • If you would like to protect your critical data on Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, the best way is to upgrade to Windows Server 2012, 2016, 2019, or 2022 and get free security updates to keep them protected. Click here to learn about the in-place upgrade or clean install
  • If you want to stay on Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2, please schedule backup Windows Server 2008 weekly at least. For individual files or folders on it, you may need to backup more frequently, such as, daily.  

In summary, data protection is very important. Even if your system is still a supported system, your computer may be attacked by viruses, such as ransomware attacks in 2017, and encounter other problems. 


You can easily create incremental backup in Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 with above methods. Sometimes you may find Windows Server Backup not doing incremental or just not working, try AOMEI Backupper Server.  It supports all the backup solutions and types, such as system backup, disk backup, incremental backup, differential backup, etc. So you can choose what you want to backup and its backup settings are more flexible. 

If you just want to get all the files and folders from the Windows Server 2008 (R2), you could try file backup or real-time sync to keep all the data and changes to be synced to the destination once the changes occur. And you can easily modify it and add new files to the backup drive without restoring image file first. 

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.