Z-DBackup supports different backup strategies for data backups on a computer or in a network. On this page, we want to give you an insight into several backup methods with Z-DBackup
so you can find the optimal backup strategy for your needs.
Copy Backup (The Default Setting of Z-DBackup)
With Copy Backup, all selected directories are copied, but the files are not marked as copied (the files' archive flags remain unchanged). A possibly preexisting backup file is deleted prior to backup. When you use this backup method, you only need the most recent backup file to be able to restore all your data. If you want to use Copy Backup, none of the five backup methods must be selected in the setup! Copy Backup is the default setting for a newly created Backup Set.
It can happen that a file was accidentally deleted or has been corrupted and needs to be restored. This will usually come to the attention of the user only after a few days, and in the meantime, the damaged file was already included in the last backup. For this reason, a Copy Backup should always be done according to the generation principle. If you use removable media for your backups, the copy backup should be done with different mediums. If the backup is copied to another hard disk or a network drive, the program option Cron Backup should be enabled to include the backup date in the name of the archive or directory.
Which files should I include in a backup?
Of course, it does not make much sense to back up files that you have available on a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray anyway, the Windows system and installed programs that are available on CD/DVD/Blu-Ray.
Most important are all files that you created yourself, such as documents, letters, pictures, e-mails, favorites/bookmarks, databases, configuration files, book-keeping data etc. that need to be kept or that you want to reuse on a new system, and also all smaller programs and tools, updates and drivers that you do not have on CD but which were downloaded from the internet or installed from CDs which are no longer available.
The backup is much easier if all relevant data is located in a directory structure underneath a common directory. Z-DBackup can include up to 255 different directories (plus all their subdirectories, of course) in one Backup Set. This allows you to easily copy all your data to another location or removable medium. Use the password option to protect your data from being accessed by unauthorized persons.
Daily Backup According to the Generation Scheme (also: Father-Son Backup)
- Create a Backup Set for your daily backup and create a desktop shortcut for it
- Label four backup mediums "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", and "Thursday"
- Label four backup mediums "Friday 1", "Friday 2", "Friday 3", and "Friday 4"
- The mediums labelled Monday to Thursday are overwritten every week, the Friday mediums are overwritten every four weeks. This means you have a generational backup with which you can access snapshots of your data from different points in time, up to one month before now.
With a normal backup, all your files are copied at each backup and are marked as such (the archive flag is deactivated). As in a Copy Backup, you only need the most recent backup to restore all your data.
If you use removable media for your backups, the copy backup should be done with different mediums. If the backup is copied to another hard disk or a network drive (as we recommend), the program option Cron Backup should be enabled to include the backup date in the name of the archive or directory.
A series of incremental backups starts with one full backup. At each following backup, only those files that were changed or have been created since the last (full or incremental) backup will be copied. All copied files are marked, i.e. the archive flag is deactivated. With this backup method, you need the most recent full backup and all following incremental backups to restore all your files.
A series of differential backups starts with one full backup. At each following backup, only those files that were changed or have been created since the last full backup will be copied. The archive attribute of copied files is deactivated during full backups, but not during any of the following differential backups. If you use differential backups, you need the last full backup and the last differential backup to be able to restore all your files.
The incremental and differential backup methods are quite similar. Both are used together with regular full backups, but need less time and space for the intermediate backups. With these backup methods, you would use the Friday mediums for full backups and the MON–THU mediums for differential/incremental backups. Then, on mondays, only files which have changed on that day are copied. On tuesdays, with incremental backups, only files which have changed on that tuesday are copied, i.e, anything which has changed since any last backup. With differential backups, files which have changed on monday or tuesday are copied, i.e., everything which has changed since the last FULL backup. The differential backups need a little more time and space than incremental backup, but the advantage is that you only need the last full backup and one last differential backup to restore all your files.
In addition to full backups, incremental and differential backups, Z-DBackup can also be used for sychronization/mirroring of files and directories. The program creates an exact copy of the data from the source directory in the target directory. The NTFS access permissions can be copied as well. When this method is used, only new or changed files are copied to the target directory. Optionally, data in the target directory which is not present in the source directory can be deleted automatically or with a user prompt.
This kind of backup is sometimes a little faster than differential backups and many users find it easier than incremental or differential backups.
Windows has the annoying habit of becoming slower and slower over time. There are several reasons for that. One is that programs and applications, once they are installed, can never again be completely removed. They always leave traces, for example in the Registry or in the installed system libraries. Another reason is that the registry itself becomes larger and larger over time and therefore, access times go up.
Everyone who has formatted his or her hard disc and made a complete reinstallation of Windows will have experienced an increase in system speed and reliability compared to the old system. That's why it is absolutely not advisable to make a full backup of a system that is already already several months or years old.
Z-DBackup deliberately omits features for system mirroring. Practice has shown that a system re-installation is usually less of a hassle than an emergency recovery of a system that has grown large and slow.