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Difference between incremental backup and differential backup

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1. Incremental Backup : Incremental backup only preserves the data that has been changed from the last full backup or incremental backup. This type of backup uses less storage and can do backup and recovery quickly. The data in this type of backup contains redundancy as recovery includes last full backup and all the incremental backups. 

Recovery in Incremental Backup: 

2. Differential Backup : Differential backup only preserves data change from the last full backup. This type of backup uses more memory as it saves all the data changes since last full backup. It contains less redundant data and recovery is easy but the time needed for creating backup is high. 

Recovery in Differential Backup: 

Difference between incremental backup and differential backup:

S. No.Incremental BackupDifferential Backup
1.In this type of backup successive copies of data contains only the changed part since the preceding backup copy was made.In this type of backup only the difference in the data from last full backup is saved.
2.It has more redundant data than differential backup.Differential backup contains less redundant data.
3.Recovery is difficult in this type of backup.Recovery is easy as compared to incremental backup.
4.It takes less time to create a backup.It takes more time to create backup than an incremental backup.
5.It takes less data storage space to create a backup.The memory taken to create a backup is more as compared to incremental backup.
6.Incremental backup uses less bandwidth.Differential backup uses more bandwidth than an incremental backup.
7.It requires less bandwidth.It also requires less bandwidth but is greater than an incremental backup.

When to use?

  • It is effective for the businesses that handles huge volume of data but are unable to provide sufficient time for the backup procedures.

When to use?

  • It is effective for small to medium-sized organizations that needs to handle huge volume of significant data but are unable to regularly backup their data.


  • Fastest backup
  • Up-to-date backup
  • Small backup files
  • Storage space is used more effectively because there is no full duplication of files.
  • Less network requirements


  • Recovery data time is fast.


  • Recovery data process takes time and quite challenging.
  • Possibility of successful recovery only in the case of damage-free backup files.
  • File searching takes time.


  • Backup time is long
  • Need large storage capacity
  • Possibility of unsuccessful recovery in case a backup set is lacking data.

Last Updated : 30 Aug, 2022
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