Windows Server Backup Software

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Windows History Backup explained

Problem Description.

You modify some files every day or even many times in a day, and you want to have an history of your changes. It's necessary to have a copy of the files made, for example, every hour, so that you are able to revert to a prior version if you find that the current version has problems and the work to reverse the most recent changes is excessive.


For example, a typical situation might involve developer source files. For example, you are working on a project and you start from a stable situation. You change a lot of files and then when you begin to compile you discover that the solution you have started to build does not work. At this point you need to go back to the previous stable situation. If you've kept hourly backups, it's easy to revert an earlier backup. This is just one example. Another one is a database that you update daily and you are not the only one who updates it. As there is the possibility that this database might become corrupted or damaged, you want to have a daily backup so that if you discover that it is corrupted then you can go back to yesterday's database and redo today's operations only. We can continue with other examples but at this point I’m sure you can see the principle.


Our professional backup software GRBackPro supports two ways to do History backups. You need to first enable the History in the Backup tab and then define the number of copies you want to have (called the "Depth"). The depth must be selected once you have defined how often you want to backup your files. For example you can define an hourly backup rather than a daily backup.

There are two different Backup Methods (Differential and Incremental), and which one you select will make a differece as to how the History backup works.

Regardless of which one you select, History mode will automatically add an Hist_NN folder to the destination path (where NN starts from 01 and when it reaches 99 will round to 01 again). The number is always increased but the folders are just renamed so their content is kept. This is because you need to know what is the last backup (bigger number) and be sure of the sequence. A smaller number means an older backup, and a larger number means a more recent backup. Using full backup isn't really useful in this process but you can use it if you wish. It will work like the Incremental method plus the destination disk will be deleted (only the current Hist_NN folder, of course) before the backup take place. This can be helpful when you have a set of removable disks that you wish to recycle and you want to be sure that all previous data will be deleted before the backup starts. Of course this will take more time to execute compared with an update backup.

Incremental History.

If you select the Incremental backup mode then, supposing you have set a depth of 3, you will end up having 3 full backups on the destination disk. This will take destination disk space and you must take this into account.

Differential History.

If you select the differential backup method then you have to enable also the option to “Clear source file archive attribute bit”. With this method you will do a first full back up the first time you will execute it because all source file have the archive attribute set (no previous backups were done). The successive backups will only save new or changed files.

Other possible customizations.

Using the Tasks feature you can add a Message Box at backup start so that if you are backing up to a removable drive you will be able to change the destination disk and thus rotate a disk backup set. By the way, this can also be applied to any backup strategy…