I have a backup drive at home and at work that I use for my laptop. I recently upgraded to Windows 7, and I've been experimenting with Windows Backup and Restore. I've noticed that if I don't change any settings between backups, the sizes of subsequent backups are much smaller than the original. This is as expected and good. Most of the time, I want the system to do an incremental backup. However, if I change the destination drive from my work backup drive to my home backup drive (or vice versa), the program doesn't seem smart enough to tell that it should do an incremental rather than fresh backup. This results in very long backup times and large file sizes for what should be quick, routine backups.

My question is: Do I need to use a more sophisticated backup program (e.g., Acronis TrueImage) to perform backups in two locations, or am I just missing a setting on Windows Backup and Restore?

  • Are both target drives setup as targets for the backup job (at the same time)? Or by "if I change the destination drive" do you mean you are reconfiguring the backup job to use the currently available target? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jun 17 '11 at 23:31
  • @techie007, unfortunately, the drive letters are different, so I have to go into the settings for the backup and change the destination drive. I don't change any of the other settings, but I'm guessing just changing anything is enough to make the app think it's a totally new backup. – devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 23:36
  • You know, I was going to go abouts telling you how to add multiple targets in multiple ways (ie: wbadmin) and then remembered that Windows 7's Backup is a stripped down version of Server 2008's (which is what I was thinking of, as I use it way more) that doesn't allow adding 'rotating' targets. So I guess ignore my clarification questions, sorry. :( But, unfortunately, each time you reconfigure the sole target (in both 7 and 2008) it counts as a 'new' backup job, which requires a new full backup to be done. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jun 18 '11 at 0:03
  • @techie007, Thanks for clarifying my suspicions. If you put your comment into an answer I'll be happy to mark it. – devuxer Jun 18 '11 at 6:06

Unfortunately, each time you reconfigure the sole backup target it counts as a 'new' backup job, which requires a new full backup to be done.


Many external hard drives ship with software that can do what you want. Western Digital, Seagate and Maxtor had such software on a number of drives. Not all so careful selection is important. In some cases it can be downloaded from the support site.

  • Dave, thanks but my question was specifically about Windows Backup and Restore. – devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 20:14

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