Backup Methods in Brief


Saving data is usually the last thing on your mind, until it is too late and data is lost irretrievably. Modern storage media such as hard drives and memory cards can also break. Therefore, it is worth backing up data. Depending on the amount of data for the backup, the various storage medium include external hard drives, CDs, DVDs and USB sticks…

For large amounts of data, external hard drives are a good option. They come in different sizes, in 3.5 and 2.5 zoll. The advantage of an external 2.5 zoll drive is that you can cover your power requirement using the USB port and, therefore, in contrast to external 3.5 zoll hard drives do not require a separate power supply unit. External hard drive discs in 2.5 zoll are easier to handle, however, they are slower than comparable 3.5 zoll hard drives. Especially for large amounts of data you should pay attention to the transmission rate of your port. As well as USB 2.0 the much faster USB 3.0 is establishing itself. Alongside USB ports, there is also Firewire or eSATA.

When saving data, we differentiate between the various types. Below, the advantages and disadvantages of each respective storage method are briefly summarised.

Full backup

For a full backup, during the saving process, all the data is transferred onto the storage medium.

  • Advantage
    • Especially efficient and simple method of saving data for small amounts of data.
    • Easy to use
    • No additional software is required, can be used by using your browser (e.g. Windows Explorer in Windows)
  • Disadvantage
    • Can take a long time under the circumstances (dependent on data volume)

Differential backup

If a full backup is taking too long due to the amount of data, then a differential backup is many users’ first choice. This is due to the fact that using this method, re-storing data is a much quicker process. A differential backup compares the content of data on the hard drive with that of the storage medium. The storage program then checks whether new files and folders have been added and if files and folders have been moved or deleted.

During this procedure all the data that has been changed or added since the last full backup is saved. Therefore, you are always adding new data to the last full backup.

  • Advantage
    • Save time and storage space compared to a new full backup. 
    • No additional program is required to restore files as the data can be opened and moved using the file management.
    • Many users appreciate being able to exercise control, the speed of the saving process and being able to open the storage medium on a different computer.
  • Disadvantage
    • Software required (however, there are very good programs free of charge)
  • Suitable programs

Incremental backup

In this saving process, only the files that have been changed or added since the last incremental backup are saved. Therefore, you are always adding new data to the last incremental backup.

  • Advantage
    • Save time and storage space (comparable to differential backup)
    • Can be saved on various storage media, e.g. DVD
  • Disadvantage
    • This procedure has the disadvantage of that when restoring data, the pieces usually have to be gathered and also software is required to restore data.
    • Restoring data can be quite time consuming.


Disc image
Another option is a disc image. This process is especially advantageous when the entire storage medium including programs and systems need to be saved. More information can be found here:


It is up to you to decide which storage method you wish to use. The intervals between saving data is more important than the actual method. Ensure that the saved files are complete and also that you can access the files. I use the differential backup method and have had positive experiences using “SyncToy“. My hard drives are generally stored in three ways, which ensures that they are secure in the event of burglary; fire etc.
In image processing you should always work with copies of the original images. This allows you to resort to the original image in the case of problems occurring and loss of quality. And another tip – save, save, save! Save your data on at least two if not three storage media.


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