By AOMEI / Last update June 28, 2020

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Incremental backup in Windows Server Backup

Windows Server Backup (WSB) provides the ability to run incremental backup that only backups the changed data, which makes the backup faster. WSB is supposed to perform incremental backups by default when running scheduled backups. However, there are many circumstances that Windows Server Backup not doing incremental backup but full backup.

To figure that out, first, you can check the “Configure performance settings” on the right side of the WSB interface. In Windows Server 2008/2008 R2, scheduled backups to network share will only be performed by full backups. There are also other configurable situations that will cause WSB to do full backups. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Windows Server Backup Incremental Not Working?

As you know, incremental backup is based on the last backup, so you cannot perform a successful restore if any of the previous incremental backups go missing. Therefore, WSB will create a full back up after 6 incremental backup or running scheduled backup for 14 days since the last full backup by default. WSB will also do a full backup instead of incremental backup if the previous backup cannot be detected.

Many users have backed up to external hard drive. While plugging off and plugging in, the drive letter might change, leading to unrecognizable location path. If the VSS snapshot associated with the previous backup of the source volume was deleted, then WSB will have a problem reading the last backup, resulting in a full backup being created instead of incremental backup.

This situation often happens when the diff area where the shadow copy was located was reset when there was no enough space. If you change the file system of one volume included in the backup form NTFS to ReFS, it will do a full backup or cause the backup failed.

As the circumstances mentioned above, WSB will do a full backup even if you are certainly sure that the scheduled backup was set to incremental backup. If you want a better experience with incremental backup, you can use third-party server incremental backup software.

Create Incremental Backup with Server Backup Software

For those who want to prefer an easier way to manage full and incremental backups, AOMEI Backupper Server, a server backup tool, is one of the best choices. It provides lots of powerful functions to satisfy your needs related to Server backup.

  • It allows you to include system, disks, partitions, files, and folders into the backup.

  • You can configure as many scheduled backups as you want, and you can set to do full/incremental/differential backups.

  • There is no limation to save the backup on the hard drive, external hard drive, a network share, etc.

  • What’s more, it provides the feature to automatically delete previous old backups to save space while keeping all the backups valid for restore.

To create Windows Server incremental backup task:

1. Free download the software, Install and launch it.

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7 & Server
Secure Download

2. Under Backup tab, select “System Backup”. You can also choose “Disk Backup”, “Partition Backup”, or “File Backup” based on your needs. System Backup is quite simple because it will include the needed files for a system restore by itself.

System Backup

3. Click to specify the destination location to store the backup image.

Destination Path And Options

4. Click “Schedule” to decide when to run the backup, and then click the “Advanced” tab to run Full/Differential/Incremental backup as you wish. The Incremental Backup is the default setting.

Incremental Backup

5. (Optional) Click “Scheme” to let Disk Space Management delete old backups in five different ways, which you can choose as you like.

Backup Scheme

6. Click “Start Backup” to run or add the scheduled backup.


If you are confused about Windows Server Backup not doing incremental backup, you can easily switch to AOMEI Backupper. You can have one full backup and continuous incremental backups. If you enable the Disk Space Management, it will do a full backup once the old backups get deleted in order to make the current backups are valid.

If you want to protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, you may choose AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus. It offers unlimited billable technical services to clients. It also enables you to copy installation directory for portable version creation.