total novice questions

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by cwthornton, Mar 10, 2007.

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  1. cwthornton

    cwthornton Registered Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I have ATI 9.0, and I'm unclear on what's supposed to be happening with differential backups. I did a full backup of my C drive to a second hard drive, then I've been trying to perform differential backups every week.
    The full backup of about 100 GB of data created 23 files (named "myCbackup1.tib" through "myCbackup23.tib") of 3.99 GB each, and one file ("myCbackup24.tib) of 1.16 GB. My first differential backup created three files (named "myCbackup25.tib" through "myCbackup27.tib") with the first two at 3.99GB and the third at 3.801 GB. A week later, my next incremental backup a week later produced four files named "myCbackup28.tib" through "myCbackup31.tib", with the first three at 3.99GB and the fourth at 2.02 GB.
    I'm probably clueless about the concept of the differential backup, but here's my questions: Should the files be that large? Should I be naming the incremental backups something different than the original backup files? Should I be erasing the previous differential backups after producing the new ones? Is there a step-by-stop tutorial for dummies like me who just want to back up their hard drive every week?

    Thanks for your patience with a novice.
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    You are mixing differential and incremental in the same question - both are names of backup mechanisms so I don't know if you mean a real incremental backup or just a "general increment of change" to your backup files.

    A differential backup records all of the changes made since the Full backup each and every time. So to restore to the latest backup time you only need the Full and the last differential. (However, due to a quirk of TI to validate the archive you need the full and every intermediate differential.)

    An incremental requires a Full backup and then each incremental records the changes made since the last incremental (or Full if it is the first incremental). To restore to the time of the last incremental requires the Full and every incremental in the chain. A weakness with this is that if you have a bad incremental then any incremental made after it is useless. However, incrementals are faster since they do not keep backing up every change since the Full.

    The reason you have so many 4GB files is that your archive storage disk is formatted FAT32 instead of NTFS. FAT32 can only support a max filesize of about 4GB. This doesn't cause TI any problems.

    So if you want to validate your archive and I think it is a good idea at least for now - don't delete differentials even if you don't need them for a restore to the latest date.

    The differentials are big because each one is backing up all the changes. Note also that imaging programs like TI look at in-use sectors not archive bits or whatever so a defrag will make it look like almost everything has changed even though it hasn't at the file level.

    Do not rename files.
  3. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Apr 28, 2004
    Hello cwthornton,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are sorry for the delayed response.

    In addition to what seekforever said, please have a look at this article describing incremental, differential backups and their differences.

    Please also have a look at this thread regarding the size on incrementals/differentials.

    You can learn more how to use Acronis True Image from the respective User's Guide.

    Thank you.
    Marat Setdikov
  4. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

    May 10, 2006
    Massachusetts, USA
    Perhaps you could decrease the size of your backup files.

    I would also suggest that you investigate whether you have some files which can be either deleted or moved to a different drive or to DVD. If you have large files which do not change, perhaps these could be moved to DVD.

    For example, you could stop and start your XP System Restore function. This would delete all current System Restore Checkpoint and allow you to start fresh. You could also check that the alloted space for such restore points are not excessive.

    Your temporary internet files and your temp files could be deleted.

    Another possibility would be to install a program such as "TreeSize v2.0". This program can identify what folders or files comprise your space. Free for personal use.
  5. cwthornton

    cwthornton Registered Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Thanks, and sorry for the accidental use of "incremental" instead of "differential" in one of my sentences.

    If I understand seekforever correctly, it sounds like TI needs every intermediate differential. If I have to hold on to them, my backup drive will fill up in a few weeks. So I'm thinking maybe I should just make a full backup weekly, with maybe an incremental backup daily if I can get the hang of the scheduling function. (I've had trouble in the past with scheduling... the backup would fail as if TI was looking for a password. But frankly I haven't spent a whole lot of time looking at it).

    Let me know if I'm totally off-base here. And thanks again for all the help.
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