Definition

differential backup

A differential backup is a type of backup that copies all the data that's been changed since the last full backup. The size of a differential backup grows throughout the week and becomes progressively larger until the next full backup. A full restore from this type of backup only requires the last full backup and the last differential.

See also: incremental backup, cloud backup

Here is a comparison of different backup operations

Type/Backup number

Full

Incremental

Differential

Backup 1 All data
--
--
Backup 2 All data Changes from backup 1 Changes from backup 1
Backup 3 All data Changes from backup 2 Changes from backup 1
Backup 4 All data Changes from backup 3 Changes from backup 1

This was last updated in January 2011
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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