Differential Backup Software for Saving only Changed Files

Differential backup technology employed in Handy Backup greatly reduces time and storage space required for backups by saving only changes, on byte level. Handy Backup saves your money by saving only the least modifications of documents, e-mails, disk images or databases.

Download Handy Backup

Version 7.8.1, built on 10 June, 2016
61.0 MB

How Differential Backup Works

Differential backup is a process of backing up only those files that were created or changed since the last full backup.

For example, if you do a full backup on Sunday and then perform daily differential backups, then Friday’s differential will contain all data that appeared or changed for the whole work week.

Differential Backup Process

Difference Between Differential and Incremental Backup

Differential vs Incremental Backup

The difference between differential and incremental backup is that the amount of data being backed up is calculated from full backup, rather than from previous backup.

I.e. if you repeat two incremental backups without changing any files, the second backup will contain nothing, while two consequent differential backups will be identical.

Handy Backup supports both differential and incremental backup technologies, as well as mixed full and differential backup.

Choose Differential Backup


Fast Restoration

Another advantage of making differential backups is quick data restoration in case of a disaster. Unlike incremental backups which need to go through the entire chain from the last to the first backup, restoration of differential backups is done in two steps, using the most recent full and the most recent differential backup.

Mixed Full and Differential Backup

This backup technique creates a chain of backups, starting with a full backup and then containing some differential backups. When a chain reaches an end, deliberately set by a time or by a quantity of diff backups, the process repeats again, starting with a new full backup.


Recommended Solution

Handy Backup Standard

Version 7.8.1, built on 10 June, 2016. 61.0 MB
Backup Software from Novosoft LLC. 39 USD per license.

Handy Backup Standard

Easy-to-use utility with full support for differential and incremental backups. Full-featured free 30-days trial!

How It Works on Different Types of Data

Let’s imagine some real-life examples how the technology of differential backups works in different situations:

  • Files and folders. Say you need to back up a folder in which you change 2MB of data each day by editing 50 files with an average size of 1MB. Backing up all modified files will cost you 50MB of space daily. Differential backups reduce this number to 2MB, then 4MB, then 6MB, increasing by no more than 2MB each day (because some of the files may be repeated).
  • HDD images. For disk imaging differential backups work effectively and allow saving a lot of drive space. However, calculation of a difference requires to create a complete drive snapshot and therefore requires the corresponding amount of drive space for temporary use.
  • Databases. Database backup is an area where differential backups turn out to be especially powerful. For example, a typical company’s data retention plan requires administrators to back up Exchange Servers at least weekly. Instead of backing up tens of gigabytes of data each time, they limit it to hundreds of megabytes and save only new correspondence that took place since the full backup.

To learn more about Handy Backup, please see the full list of backup features of our software.

Download Handy Backup

Version 7.8.1, built on 10 June, 2016
61.0 MB

Download Handy Backup and try the power of differential backups!

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