Backups can be divided into two major categories:
- Image backups
- File/folder backups
What is the difference between these backup types, and which backup types do you need?
An image backup is a snapshot of your computer’s operating system, programs, settings, and files at a particular moment in time. In other words, if you create an image backup today, perform no other backups, and have a computer crash that requires you to restore the backup in three weeks, you will be restoring your computer to its condition as of the date of the image backup.
While an image backup enables you to perform disaster recovery (also known as “bare-metal” restore because you don’t need to reinstall your operating system first), it should not be your only backup type. You also need to backup data files (email, photos, documents, videos, music) and settings because they change frequently and because you can’t repurchase them. If you lose your data, you’ve lost the part of your life you stored on your computer.
File and Folder Backup
A file and folder backup is designed to back up the information you create (email, photos, documents, videos, music). Some backup programs and all online backup services provide this type of backup. For complete protection, you should use both image and file/folder types of backup.