Create Incremental and Differential Backup in Windows Server 2016

Posted by @Cody

February 23, 2016

How does the incremental and differential backup in Windows Server 2016 work? Learn to create incremental backups as well as differential backups.

Incremental and differential backup in Windows Server 2016

In case of data loss due to system crash, virus attack, or accidental deletion, to create backups is inevitable, especially for Windows Servers that control many other machines. This article will address the backup strategies of the new server system Windows Server 2016. With the growth of business and industry, the amount of data that needs backing up is increasingly large. To take a full copy the data will take much space and time. Therefore, new backup methods were introduced -- differential backup, which creates a copy of data modified since the last full backup, and incremental backup, which creates a copy of the data that was added or modified since the last incremental backup. Windows Server Backup, the built in backup and restore tool in Windows Server 2016, supports full backup and incremental backup. If you prefer differential backup, you can use third party server backup software.

How to create increment backup in Windows Server?

In Windows Server 2016, if you set up a scheduled backup task, it will be performed as incremental backup by default. Therefore, you need to only create a simple scheduled backup job. You can also change it to always run full backup in the Configure Performance.

To create a scheduled incremental backup:

  1. Open the Windows Backup Server under Administrative Tools. On the right side of the interface, click “Backup Schedule”.
  2. Configrue Performance

2. In the next screen, choose what to be included in the backup.

Full Server

3. Specify the time run to backup. You can set it to run once a day or more frequently, but you cannot use it to run the backup weekly or after certain days.

4. Specify destination type from backup disk, backup volume or network shared folder. When you select a whole hard drive as a backup disk, the hard drive will be reformatted, so make sure that there are no important data in it.

5. Select the destination location. If you want to backup to volume, note that only the partition formatted with NTFS can be selected as backup volume.

Select Disk

6. Confirm the operation, and click”Finish” to start the backup job.


After that, the daily incremental backup will be running on your Windows Server 2016. Comparing the difference between incremental and differential backup, you may also want to perform differential backup. If you are not content with Windows Server Backup for lack of some crucial features like notifications, weekly scheduled backup, differential backup, you can use backup software for Windows Server.

Create incremental backup or differential backup with backup software

If you are looking for advanced and easy to understand server backup software, AOMEI Backupper Server may just be the one. It allows you to create daily/weekly/monthly/scheduled backup performed with full/incremental/differential backups. It supports many file systems including NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3 and many operating system including Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2, and 2016. Besides, it also provides many backup options, such as email notification, encryption, and compression.

To enable an incremental or differential backup:

System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup, and File Backup to backup Servers. Let’s take System Backup as example:

1. Free download the software, Install and launch it

2. Under Backup tab, choose to use System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup, or File Backup to backup Servers. Let’s take System Backup as an example.

System Backup

3. Click Step 2 to specify the location path to store the backup image as the program will automatically select the required partition(s) for system backup. All the locations the File Explorer detects are supported as destination location without worrying about the file system.

Destination Path and Options.gif

4. In the next screen, click Schedule to set up the time that you want to run backup. Click the Advanced tab to select Full/Differential/Incremental backup. If you do not specify this, the Incremental backup is enabled by default.

Incremental Backup

5. You can click Scheme to enable Disk Space Management to delete previous backups as schedule and click Backup Options button to see more options. Then Click Start Backup to start the backup job.

That is how incremental and differential backup in windows server 2016 was done. To restore this backup is also quite simple. You can use bootable media (USB drive or CD) or AOMEI PXE tool to restore system backup or disk backup to the same server or another server with dissimilar hardware. Apart from backup and restore, AOMEI Backupper also allows you clone hard drive or only OS to SSD.