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Mirror backup is identical to a full backup, with the exception that the files can be compressed/encrypted only individually and only the latest file version is preserved in destination. A mirror backup is most frequently used to create an exact copy of the backup data. It has the benefit that the backup files can also be readily accessed using tools like Windows Explorer.
A mirror backup is a straight copy of the selected folders and files at a given instant in time. Mirror backup is the fastest backup method because it copies files and folders to the destination without any compression. However, the increased speed has its drawbacks: it needs larger storage space and it cannot be password protected.
While the other backup types collect all the files and folders being backed up each time into a single compressed container file, a mirror backup keeps all the individual files separate in the destination. That is, the destination becomes a "mirror" of the source. You can even directly access files in the destination without needing to use Backup4all's restore feature, because each file is just a straight copy of the original.
One handy feature of mirror backup is Backup4all's "Fast mirror" option.
When this option has been selected, any mirror operation after the first will only copy new and modified files, making the operation very fast. In the image below you can see how a mirror backup job would look after running four times (first mirror will back-up everything, subsequent backups will back-up only new/modified files) when the Fast Mirror option is enabled:
A mirror backup cannot keep track of different versions of files. However Backup4all provides an option to customize destination folder names using user-defined parameters, giving you the ability to save each mirror backup in a different folder location. Restoring via Backup4all is possible only from the latest mirror backup, but all previous mirror backups remain available in the destination should you want to access them manually.
Mirror vs Imaging/Cloning
Backup4all was designed for data files backups. It will create in destination an exact copy of the source files and folders, without zipping them. The files will be restored with their original date. Please note that Backup4all cannot be used to clone your OS. It was not designed for system backups or OS imaging/cloning. Even if you back up the entire C: drive, you won't be able to restore it as a functional OS.
Advantages of mirror backups
The fastest backup type, especially in conjunction with the "Fast mirror" option
It creates a snapshot of selected files and folders in the destination which you can browse and access later without needing to run Backup4all
Disadvantages of mirror backups
It needs more storage space than any other backup type
Incremental backup stores all files changed since the last FULL, DIFFERENTIAL OR INCREMENTAL backup. The advantage of an incremental backup is that it takes the least time to finish. The disadvantage is that during a restore operation, each increment is processed and this could result in a lengthy restore job.
Full backup is the starting point for all other backups and contains all the data in the folders and files that are selected to be backed up. Because the full backup stores all files and folders, frequent full backups result in faster and simpler restore operations. Remember that when you choose other backup types, restore jobs may take longer.
Backing-up is a crucial process that everyone should do in order to have a fail-safe, for when the inevitable happens. The principle is to make copies of particular data in order to use those copies for restoring the information if a failure occurs (a data loss event due to deletion, corruption, theft, viruses, etc.)