How are the Backup Types Implemented in Backup4all?
Backup4all creates two main types of backups:
- Backup types with zip compression (Smart, Full, Differential, Incremental)
- Backup types without zip compression (Mirror backup type)
User can change the backup type from the Type page in Backup Properties, or from a specific type page, by checking the box to select that type as default backup type.
Backup Types with Zip Compression
Full, differential and incremental backup use zip compression to reduce the size of the stored backup versions. To keep the number of stored zip files at a reasonable number, the application provides three options in the Storage page: Yes, limit number of file versions, Yes, limit number of backups and Merge backups. These options either delete older stored backups or perform an internal merge to keep the number of stored backups or file versions under the selected limit.
The Yes, limit number of file versions, Yes, limit number of backups and Merge backups options cannot be used when the backup destination is on a removable media: floppy disk, CD, DVD, Blu-ray disc etc.
Customize zip name prefix
Typically the name of the zip file is something like: "1_C.zip", "1_D.zip" etc. (one zip for each drive). The names of these zip files do not make much sense for the user but they can be customized by pressing the Insert tag button. Following tags are predefined:
- Backup Name (<BACKUP NAME>)
- Backup Number (<BACKUP NUMBER>)
- Backup Type (<BACKUP TYPE>)
- Backup Date (<DATE>)
- Backup Time (<TIME>)
- Backup Hour (<HOUR>)
- Backup Minute (<MINUTE>)
- Backup Second (<SECOND>)
- Backup Year (<YEAR>)
- Backup Month (<MONTH_MMM>)
- Backup Month - numeric (<MONTH_MM>)
- Backup Week (<WEEK>)
- Backup Day of Week (<DAY OF WEEK>)
- Backup Day (<DAY>)
- Backup Day of the Week (use locale) (<DAY OF WEEK LOC>)
- Backup Day of Week (name) (<DAY OF WEEK NAME>)
- Computer Name (<COMPUTER NAME>)
- User Name (<USER NAME>)
You can also add your text in the edit tag field. Use the Preview button to see how the names of the zip files will look like.
Windows does not allow the following characters in the file name: / \ * ? : " < > |, so Backup4all will also not allow them to be entered in the edit tag field.
Smart backup type
The smart backup type will perform full, differential or incremental backups, depending on the destination free disk space or the limit size you set in Backup Properties. The smart backup type will automatically decide which is the best action to perform by combining the backup types.
Full Backup Type
The full backup type will always backup all the files defined in the sources. Incremental and differential backups will create a full backup first, because they will back up the new files (all files are new if the backup was never executed).
Differential Backup Type
For a differential backup the system will always backup the differences from the last full backup, regardless of the intermediate versions between the latest full and the current differential backup. The first execution of a differential backup is a full backup, because it backs up the new files (and all the files are new if the backup was never executed).
Incremental Backup Type
In case of incremental backups only the new and the modified files since last backup (differential, incremental or full backup) are added to the backup. Each file can have many versions stored in the backup files..
Backup4all can generate custom zip file names, set a size limit for zip files and encrypt them. For more details look at the Compression page from the Backup Properties window.
If a new backup job is created and the backup type is set to incremental or differential, then when the backup job is first run, the application will perform a full backup. This also happens when the catalog (".bkc") file is not found in the destination folder or the Clear backup action was executed before backup (see the Advanced page of the Backup Properties window).
Backup types without zip compression - Mirror backup type
The mirror backup implementation provides some useful options to improve the backup quality.
Since the mirror backup keeps only one version of each file, you can use the Create subfolder(s) in destination with following name option to copy the files to customized subfolders, therefore keeping more versions of the files. Backup4all can only use the latest version for the Restore or Test operations. You can restore older versions manually.
If the Copy files in a subfolder option is checked, the files will be copied in a subfolder of the destination folder (typically you will see a ".bkc" file and a folder with the same name). If the option is not set, the files (and folder structure) will be copied directly into the destination folder.
When the Fast Mirror (copy only new or modified files) option is used, Backup4all uses the information stored in ".bkc" files to copy only new or modified files to the destination. If this option is not set, the system will copy all files each time the backup is executed.
Using the mirror backup type, you can also choose to Zip the files. This option will zip each file individually, preserving the folder structure. In this case, you can use the zip compression and encryption.
When changing the backup type between Smart, Full, Incremental or Differential the older backups are not deleted, only the type of the next backup is changed. If the Yes, limit number of file versions, Yes, limit number of backups and Merge backups options are used, the application will delete or merge older backups so that the number of versions is less or equal to the specified limit. However when changing between Mirror and Smart, Full, Incremental or Differential, the older versions are deleted.
On the Storage page, by default the Yes, limit number of file versions and the Yes, limit number of backups options are not enabled. This means that the system will keep all the stored backup versions. If you choose to enable the Merge backups option, when the limit is reached the system will perform an internal merge between the older versions keeping the number of stored backups equal to the specified limit (the merge between zip files is necessary to keep at the latest file version from each zip file to be merged).
However when changing between Mirror and Smart, Full, Incremental or Differential, the older versions are deleted.