Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've been 'using' the builtin backup & restore for the last couple of years. But just recently, it got to the end of my 500Gb external drive.

I went looking to cut out some old stuff, but judging from the folder structure it has only ever being doing incremental backups, for 3-odd years. Some vague trawling through the Help made me expect it to have done some intervening full backups, but I've just got one root "Backup Set" folder, and 77 subfolders.

There are two halves to this question:

  • What should I have done? (Apart from choose another backup solution!) A cursory wander through the different windows didn't seem to throw up any meaningful options.
  • What should I do now? I could just bin the lot and start over (I'm not that attached to the history), but is there a more elegant solution than that?
share|improve this question
Incremental backups take a lot of space after 3 years, this is normal, I only use full disk images for backups, then I can decide when to delete older images when the drive fills up. Data that I want for archival purposes I store as copy and paste files to a folder of choice on multiple external drives. – Moab Nov 7 '11 at 20:56
If you don't actually NEED all that stuff, start from scratch. @Moab is right. – Shinrai Nov 7 '11 at 21:09
2TB harddrive is dirt cheap right now. About $80USD. – surfasb Nov 8 '11 at 9:53
@Moab, yes, but how do I force it to do a full backup? – Benjol Nov 8 '11 at 17:26

I tried EaseUS for a while, but got fed up because it didn't handle me switching external back drives very well.

For now I've settled for MirrorFolder. Not so pretty, but it gives me a bit more control over what's being backed up.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.