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Windows7 Backup not doing incremental RRS feed

  • Question

  • My current install of Windows 7 x64 RTM doesn't seem to want to back up incrementally, meaning that each time I request a backup it does a full backup - essentially doubling the space of the original backup and taking the same ammount of time as the original backup. I would have thought, after the first backup cycle, that subsequent backups would have been very quick and only backed up changed files. I was wondering if anyone has run into this issue. Backups were never an issue in Vista for me, so I was surprised that I have any issues with Windows 7.

    Let me just add that, other than the backup issue, thigs have been quite stable and it seems to be a fine OS (no bashing here).

    Thanks in advance for any input.

    Friday, August 14, 2009 3:56 PM

Answers

  • Boy, it's been a long time, and a long thread! My thanks to all who have contributed to the discussion of Windows 7 backup and its shortcomings. Personally, I stopped using the native Windows 7 backup in x64 once it became clear that the root poblem was systemic and would never really be fixed. It was never an option to shut off services that facilitate my use of the PC in conjunction with my 2 XBox's,  so I had to fall back to a (somewhat crappy) Western Digital smartware solution for the last couple of years. It was not the best solution, but it served its purpose.

    Now, if I had to give advice to those who still search for a resolution of this issue it would be to switch to Windows 8 when it comes out (or even the current preview). I've been using its backup feature in my dual-boot with win7 and it works just fine. It's very light weight and simple to use. The backup is based on the volume shadow copy service and it seems MS has thought through the use cases with this one. The backup feature is called "File History" and is disabled by default. In previous versions of windows, Volume Shadow Copy was on by default, but used the same volume as the boot drive for storage. In Windows 8 you specify a non local path for storage. For those interested I suggest Paul Thurrott's articles on the subject, as he usually boils features down to an understandable level. I've included links to his articles below (thanks for the info Paul).

    Windows 8 Feature Focus: File History

    Windows 8 Tip: Enable File History

    Best of luck to everyone and thank you again.

    Regards, Jim

    • Marked as answer by LongSyntax Tuesday, July 31, 2012 1:22 PM
    Tuesday, July 31, 2012 1:22 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    The backup you manually create is different with the system restore points that system created. Your personal files will be saved every time when you manually backup, therefore the backup file sizes are almost the same if you do not make any changes. However the sizes of system restore points are different as because it would only record the modified components as you say. All of these restore points are saved into the folder System Volume Information. It is a hidden system components. When we manually backup files, we can select directory to be the backup destination.

    When you would like to restore files, click Control Panel/Backup and Restore. Then click "Restore all users' files", and select the backup. If you would like to restore system, click "Recover system settings or your computer", and click the button "Open System Restore".

    To configure system restore settings, click Start, right-click Computer, choose Properties. Then click System Protection, change settings under System Protection.


    Arthur Xie - MSFT
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 9:32 AM
  • I can confirm this same issue. Also using Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RTM version and I scheduled automatic updates through the Backup and Restore Center but the second scheduled backup did a complete backup instead of incremental. What should have taken 5 minutes like incremental backups in Vista, took over 3 hours to backup everything all over again.

    This is not related to manual backups or restore points at all.
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 10:31 PM
  • I had the same problem. I noticed when I used windows media player it was updating music files etc. When I went under options/library and I disabled automatic update, it appeared to fix my backup issue since media player was no longer changing the modified date on most of my files.
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:05 PM
  • I don't see the files that are being backed up again and again having a changed modified date. Is there another date that it uses to determine if a particular file should be backed up?

    As an example, my 150 GB of used disk space from my 500 GB raid 0 array is backed up to an external 300GB hard disk. After the first run, with compression, the user backup and image take up about a little more than half of the 300 GB external drive and takes about 4 or 5 hours to run. The after the second run, the backup uses up another 70 gb bringing my disk space down to only about 60gb left and still runs about 4 to 5 hours to complete. Quite honestly, the bulk of my files are media files, pics, videos, music, and I saw it backing those up again when I looked at the details during the backup. If the next run of the backup (scheduled for this Sunday again) takes the same amount of space, it won't be able to complete. It shouldn't be backing these files up again. I haven't changed them. Then only thinkg I've done is viewed the media either through Live Media Gallery or through the XBOX 360 as a media center extender.

    As always, I do appreciate the comments. Hankhil, I can try your solution, but I'm not sure it will work given that I don't see the modfied dates on my pre-existing files being updated.
    Thursday, August 20, 2009 3:11 PM
  • Hi,

    I suspect that your second backup was a full backup,because the size you mentioned is less than the half of the data to be backed up. To confirm whether it was a full backup or not, go to Manage space link on backup and restore control panel, click on view backups, here list view shows a  backup set entry for each full backup. Do you see entries for both the backup runs there?
    What all changes you made in your data set between the two backup runs? Did you include any other new data to the set by using Change settings options in backup?

    Please also send across the contents of C:\Windows\Logs\WindowsBackup to nehaa_at_microsoft_dot_com (Remove the underscores and replace the words with symbols wherever applicable). This will give us more insight into the problem.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 5:01 PM
  • Hi,

    Backup in Windows 7 is different than Windows Vista. By default when backup a system image will be created. If you do not want to include a system image when backup, just change the settings. Select "Let me choose" rather than "Let Windows choose". Then unselect the hard drives listed, just choose to backup profiles.
    Arthur Xie - MSFT
    • Marked as answer by Arthur Xie Monday, August 24, 2009 2:11 AM
    • Unmarked as answer by LongSyntax Monday, August 24, 2009 2:02 PM
    Monday, August 24, 2009 2:11 AM
  • I've sent you the details you asked for and then some. I'll copy some of the details here in hopes it furthers the discussion:

    As always, thank you for the interest. I have seen others have encountered this issue as well, I hope this dissusion might idnetify the issue and help others.

    Sent picture of Windows Backup disk space use:

    Data file backup -     136.36 GB
    System image -         88.26 GB
    Other Files -                5.88 GB
    Free space -              67.59 GB
    Total size -               298.09 GB


    Backup Period 8/14/2009 to 8/16/2009  - 136.36 gb (Datafile backups on two dates, first backup backed up about 68 GB, second Datafile backup backed up the same amount and took the same time).

    Sent picture of backup configuration:

    Data Files
       (checked) Back up data for newley created users
       (checked) Jim's Libraries
       uuid XXXXXX-XXXX-XXXXX Libraries (these are the XBox Media Center Accounts)
           ...additional locations (contacts, searches are unchecked - the rest are checked - this was done to get around the suggestion on the forums to correct the Error:(The system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002))) error.

    Also sent an updated explaination regarding a final test where I backed ran the backup again:

    UPDATE 22 August: I figured I’d just run the backup one more time to see what happens. Due to only having 60-70 gb left, the backup again ran for about 4 hours but ended in failure due to no disk drive space being left on the USB backup harddrive…


    From Event Log The backup was not successful. The error is: There is not enough space on this drive to save the backup. Free up space by deleting older backups and unnecessary data or change your backup settings.
    Monday, August 24, 2009 2:02 PM
  • I don't believe this is the answer. This has to do with the Data File backup not the system image. I've tried removing that checkmark and just letting the Datafile backup happen, but it doestn' change the reults - the backup of the user data is being backed up in full each time rather than backing up just the changed files (which is what I understand to be the definition of an incremental backup).

    Would you mind unchecking this as an answer as I believe this might confuse people reviewing this thread.

    Thanks,

    Jim
    Monday, August 24, 2009 2:07 PM
  • Looks like I was asble to remove the Answered flag... thanks for replying, I sincerely appreciate the effort to add to the discussion.
    Monday, August 24, 2009 2:11 PM
  • Let me quote the Windows Help on this:

    "After you create your first backup, Windows Backup will add new or changed information to your subsequent backups. If you're saving your backups on a hard drive or network location, Windows Backup will create a new, full backup for you automatically when needed. If you're saving your backups on CDs or DVDs and can't find an existing backup disc, or if you want to create a new backup of all of the files on your computer, you can create a full backup."

    "Windows Backup keeps track of the files that have been added or modified since your last backup and then updates the existing backup, which saves disk space."

    "Backups are created in sets known as backup periods. To help maximize your disk space, Windows Backup backs up all selected folders the first time it's run and then it only backs up files that are new or have been modified since the last backup was made. Periodically, Windows creates a new, full backup. Each full backup is known as a backup period. When you view your file backups, you see all of the backup periods labeled with date ranges. If you decide to delete file backups, you should always keep the most recent file backup."


    So, I can't resolve the above statements with what I'm seeing with my backups. To me, it looks like it's only doing a FULL backup each time. It looks like others are having the same issue as well...

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itproperf/thread/d625869a-b485-4e18-bd4b-90639601c7e2

    and the last post by Kfoutts http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itproperf/thread/a413ba37-2cde-4e4f-b23b-e5adab4c8b2d
    ... where he states:

    "MS - I don't think full copy backups will work for the average home user, or most any home user!!!!  Many have 100s of gigs of pics and mp3s.  I have about 300 gb, I would really like  to have a built-in, regular MS backup setup for this!!!  I don't have terabytes of space for full copy backups!!"

    Are there others questioning the same thing about backup in windows 7?


    Wednesday, August 26, 2009 2:19 AM
  • I wish the backup option would have been migrated from Windows XP. It is the best example how Backup should work. I automate a full Backup every Saturday and every day of the week Differential. The Full backup takes 17.6Gb and all the Backup folder was only 17.75Gb that means that all the week was only 1.75 Gb. This goes week by Week. When I had a crash I restored the Saturday Full backup and the differntial of the day the computer crashed. in 30 min I was back up and running, and I do not have to sacrifice a whole hardrive for backups and never the less saving of time every day for backups that take actually a couple of min.

    Windows 7 should consider Implementing this for the sake of the users.

    Sam

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009 2:51 AM
  • By looking at the details you have posted here we can infer that your second backup was not full because list view has a single entry referring to single backup set.
    But as you mentioned each backup size is vey huge, this can be due to Windows backup is detecting a large number of files modified since the last backup run and ends up backing them in each run. Do you see any activity on your computer which is modifying such large no. of files in some way or the other.

    And I have not recieved any mail from your side. I am not sure whether you sent it to the right alias.
    It is nehaa_at_microsoft_dot_com (Remove the underscores and replace the words with symbols wherever applicable). 
    Can you please try sending the mail again?
    Thursday, August 27, 2009 10:21 AM
  • In general situations, only one system image backup VHD which is from Windows Backup will be stored as you expect. I suspect that the backup cannot update the existed image. I suggest that you temporary disable the anti-virus, anti-spyware. Also please open the backup drive, open the folder WindowsImageBackup\[computer name]\Backup [date], verify if Backup Operators has full control on this folder.

    You may check how many VHD files are present. There should be two VHD files.

    If the issue persist after disabling security programs and the permission settings are correct, please try to find some clues in Event Log. IN Event Viewer, please open the Application log. Another log is in the folder Windows\Logs\Windowsbackup\. In Event Viewer, please click Event Viewer in the left pane, then click Action->Open Saved Log. Open C:\Windows\Logs\Windowsbackup\WindowsBackup.etl. Please try to find any error or warning in the event logs.


    Arthur Xie - MSFT
    Tuesday, September 1, 2009 9:04 AM
  • Ok, more testing, but still no understanding of the situation ;-) (just FYI... no image option, just user file backup, and I've only chosen my account to backup, not the MXC# accounts assocoated with my 2 xbox 360's)

    A summary of last Sunday trying to figure this out.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    I do see on occasion that the backup does run an incremental. Let's see what the mechanism is that's causing this.

    Example, I blow all the other backup sets away, run backup and it does a full backup (as expected) which is about  68GB of data. It finishes. If I run another backup right after it, I may see an incremental run that only runs for about 3 mins and doesn't increase the size of the backup set. Run it again, another incremental -yippe!!! I think it's fixed, yeah I don't know the mechanism, but hey my data is backed up and I don' thave to worry about having to check every week to see if I'm going to overrun available space the target backup drive. But hold on, nope, I do another backup just to ensure my conclusion that it's now working isn't flawed. DAMN! it's doing a full backup again another 68GB's - nothing changed... no newer modified dates. Tired and confused I give up for the night.

    So, I start to think that maybe I have a hardware issue. Maybe my target backup drive (a WD 320GB MyBook Pro). is goofed up, let's try a different drive. I have that smallish 160GB drive from PDC in LA last year (a WD Passport) and I don't need anything on it anymore (yeah it had the win7 pre-beta on it, but no longer needed). So I run a backup using that as the target. I'm surprised that, what took a backup to my 320GB MyBook about 4 hours or so, took just under two hours. Hey, maybe I do have a hardware issue -- low likelyhood of it going bad just when I went to Win7, but stranger things have happened. I run another backup against the PDC drive, yippee! - it just does an incremental! I try again, just an incremental - awsome. Because it's Sunday (was 30 Aug) I know my backup is going to run great, so I leave it to run at the scheduled default 7PM timeframe. I go outside to cut the grass (about 2PM), secure in my assumption that my backup troubles are over.

    I check on the backup at 7:10PM Sunday -- Darn! It's running (should be finished by now if it was just incremental)... WTF. It only takes like 40 minutes though and only adds 30GB's to the existing backup set. DAMNIT! Well, not a total full backup, but not an incremental which shouldn't have backed up anything of consequence on the order of 30GB. Geeez... well, time to get the kids ready for bed.

    9PM or so I start another backup against the 160GB PDC drive, I have another 60 gb's left on the drive. I see it's running long so I kill the backup. I dump the existin backup sets and start over. I let another backup run overnight. Monday morning I safely remove the PDC drive from the PC and let it sit on my desk... at least I have a full backup to fall back on if my PC decides to take a dump.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ok... so that's my summary of last Sunday. I wonder if any readers find it as intereseting as I did ;-)

    To respond to Arthur and Neha above, I've tried the suggestions of shutting down my virus protection - AVG FREE 8.5.? - and checking privs on the backup of the <DRIVE>:\JIM-PC folder shows no Backup Operators explicitly having any access to this folder. I added it and gave it full control, but still seem to have the same problems. Also, Arthur talks about the IMAGE BACKUP, which isn't at all what I'm dealing with here. I've shut that option off temporarily until I figure out what is happening with the user's DataFile Backup.

    As fo Neha, I've tried to limit to just only backing up one folder... I chose the Music Library, which is only about 5 GB and backs up in about 10 15 mins. I get the same results - sometimes it the backups after the initial full are incremental, but then somtimes it just does a full again. And I don't see the Last Modified dates changing on any of the files that are repeatedly bing backed up.

    Is it just me and a handful of others seeing this issue? I'd be glad to hear from those who see this backup behavior.

    Jim
    Thursday, September 3, 2009 3:28 PM
  • Jim, For what it is worth you are not alone. I am running Windows 7 Ultimate RTM 32bit, and I am experiencing the same thing you are with respect to backup. It is kind of interesting that we have tried very similar steps with the same results. I am thinking of burning one of my two free per year Technet 'help desk' calls. I used XP and Vista backups for years and depend on the speed of the daily incremental to cover my behind. This full backup every time simply will not do.

    Dave

    In Northern Italy
    • Edited by Ice Shepherd Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:43 PM Sig error
    Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:34 PM
  • I have seen this kind of behavior in XP using NTBackup when I changed the permissions on a large folder of data.
    I don't believe that the file's modified date is changed, but the archive bit is set and thus the file was bakedup by NTBackup.
    Perhaps Win7 Bckup is also using the archive bit?

    (There are so few details avilable about what how Win7 backup works that I don't trust it one bit. I also wish NTBackup.exe was still available.)
    Thursday, September 17, 2009 8:34 PM
  • count me in on this one, win7 always doing a full backup and its becoming frustrating as i do regular backups. i am now at a point that i would have to delete the latest backup because it won't fit my external hard drive anymore. help please.
    Monday, September 21, 2009 2:26 PM
  • Ice Shepherd, Richard, chayski:

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad to see I'm not alone. To further the discussion (yeah, let's make this thread longer), I've been doing some testing that leads me to believe it's the SearchIndexer that my be contributing to this phenomena. I say this because I've eliminated the obvious culprits such as hardware defects and antivirus. Also, I had desired to move my Public Pictures and Music to my local account, and upon doing that move and a subsequent re-indexing in Media Player (and I would think in the file system in general) definitely triggered a full backup - as expected and that makes sense. But after the indexing finished and a full backup was completed I then turned on one of my xbox 360's used as a media center extender, which then indexed things again (as I could see this in Resource Monitor - Disk tab which showed the SearchIndexer hitting all of the media files again) and interestingly enough, when things looked like they were done indexing I ran another backup and again a full backup was triggered. Now, I know I don't have any concrete evidence, just circumstantial at this point, but like I said, I do suspect the SearchIndexer to be (at the very least) a contributor to what triggers the full backup.


    Again, thanks for reading through this thread. I suspect that in time the issue will be identified and addressed. I understand as an early adopter we need to be ready to deal with issues like this, and i'm happy to see if I can shed any light that I can on the subject.

    As always please feel free to comment on your backup experiences. Who knows, we may be able to help identify the issue.

    Sincerely, Jim

    Monday, September 21, 2009 8:01 PM
  • Also, I think it's worth noting that I created a simple C# winform app that gets the fileinfo for a given directory and binds it to a DataGridView (source below if you're interested). I wanted to verify that NO dates were getting updated, specifically the LastWriteTime as noted in the following article:

    http://blogs.technet.com/filecab/archive/2007/03/06/why-incremental-backups-in-windows-vista-are-larger-than-expected.aspx

    The LastWriteTime isn't getting changed at all on any of the media files in question (video, music, pictures).

    So, I think I'm also ruling out file date updates as a cause as well.

    Jim

     

    private void viewButton_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)

    {

     

    // Show the FolderBrowserDialog

     

    DialogResult result = folderBrowserDialog1.ShowDialog();

     

    if (result == DialogResult.OK)

    {

    folderPathLabel.Text =

    "FileInfo for following directory: " + folderBrowserDialog1.SelectedPath;

     

    //Get the contents of the directory chosen

     

    DirectoryInfo di = new DirectoryInfo(folderBrowserDialog1.SelectedPath);

     

    FileInfo[] fi = di.GetFiles();

     

    //Bind to dataGrid

    dataGridView1.DataSource = fi;

    }

    }

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009 2:23 PM
  • Jim, I believe you are on to something with the SearchIndexer as a or the culprit. I have been adding a new Win 7 RTM to a local test network about every week. The 'master' Home Group computer (my primary machine) has about 80 gig of files in the Libraries shared out.  Once I stop adding machines to the network and they have had time to SearchIndexe each other, I will re-approach the problems with our build-in backup not performing a proper incremental backup.

    I do have some reservations about the 'image' option mentioned by Arthur Xie, our MSFT, Moderator (24 Aug 09). I have a sinking feeling we will not be able to shake it and perform normal daily scheduled backup like we used to.

    Regards, Dave  


    In Northern Italy
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 12:58 PM
  • Dave,

    Thanks for your concerns. I will like to understand your scenario more clearly before commenting.
    Normally, search indexing is a one time operation and index changes only when the files are modified. 

    1. On which machine are you configuring your backups?
    2. What all is included in the backup?
    3. Do you see your backups being full everytime?

    Thanks,
    Neha

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 2:15 PM
  • My backup destination is a USB external hard disk, not a network location.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009 12:34 PM
  • Neha,

    Thanks for the questions, I am looking forward to your ideas and thoughts.

    1. The machine that is the 'master' Home Group computer is where the backups are being configured.
    2. I used the 'Let Microsoft decide option' or default
    3. When I was trying to use scheduled daily backups it would perform the first one full of course, then sometimes one or two very long duration (as compared to Vista) small to medium sized backups, then only fulls. There was not a large about of 'changed data' maybe a handful of Word, or PP files, and a few images.
    5. The backup drive is an external ESATA WD Black 1T drive.


    Regards,

    Dave


    In Northern Italy
    Sunday, October 4, 2009 1:12 PM
  • Dave,
    I am sorry, but aren't you tired from hoping that windows 7 would do incrememental backup, it does not have those features as Windows XP has. The features should be appearing in the OS as Incremental, Differential and so on as Windows XP does and only Windows XP will do when you set it up every differential will be 10% of a Full Normal backup.

    Regards,
    Sam
    Sunday, October 4, 2009 1:46 PM
  • count me in on this one, win7 always doing a full backup and its becoming frustrating as i do regular backups. i am now at a point that i would have to delete the latest backup because it won't fit my external hard drive anymore. help please.

    hi folks, not sure if this will work for everyone.  tried and tested several approaches and so far has worked for me.  if i initiate the backup from the Backup and Restore window then it DOES NOT do incremental backup.  however... if i initiate the backup from the Autoplay window (the one that automatically pops out when you plug in the hard drive) then it DOES incremental backup.  call it a quirk but when i choose Backup from the Autoplay window then it does exactly what i want.

    hope this helps.
    Tuesday, October 6, 2009 6:55 AM
  • same problem here.

    i disabled windows backup now. hoping for a fix soon... :(
    Tuesday, October 6, 2009 7:12 AM
  • Hello.

    I see that the following folks in this thread are experiencing slowness during their incremental backups:

    LongSyntax
    Decklyn
    Ice Shepherd
    chayski
    Axel Heer

    If you are still experiencing this issue, I would be glad to get in touch with each of you individually and try to investigate furhter to see if there is a viable solution.

    If you have already sorted out this issue, would be great if you can update this thread with the resolution found.

    To start with, it would be great if each of you can explain the scenario when you are running into this issue:
    1. What is the data that you are selecting to backup as part of file backup?
    2. Did you choose system image backup also?
    3. What is the size/duration of the first full backup?
    4. What is the size/duration of the subsequent incremental backup?
    5. Is there any notable operation you did between the backups? e.g. viewing the files through applications like Picture Viewer, Media Player etc., sharing the folder/files for others across network etc?

    Pl. send mail to sriramb-at-microsoft-dot-com (pl. remove the hyphens, and replace at with @, dot with . to get the correct one) with these details to continue investigating.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 7:22 AM
  • We followed up with Jim <LongSyntax>offline. We have identified the issue. Here are the updates.

    The issue is some applications (Windows Media Player in this case) while indexing media files change the metadata(object id) of the file for their tracking purpose. Basically this change modifies the ChangeTime of the file (one of the NTFS properties). Note that this attribute is different from LastModifiedTime and is not shown in the explorer.The last modified time in fact does not change for this file due to this update. Hence explorer does not show any change in time for such files.
    However Windows Backup tracks this ChangeTime as one of the attributes to monitor files and picks up those files as changed and backups them up in the subsequent backup.
     
    This is the expected behavior because for any change in data or metadata of file, backup is expected to monitor it and back it up in the incremental run.  After this indexing operation is complete and the file has been backed up once,  subsequent incremental backup will not back it up again.

    Can other people who are facing the similar issue try this workaround?  Let applications that you use ((e.g.) Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center etc.) to view media files index your media files once. After all the files are indexed,  then you include them in your backup and so they will get backed up once and not as a part of subsequent incremental backups.


    It will be great if you can try this workaround and confirm if this fixes your issue.
    But if you have a different issue, please tell us your exact scenario as requested by Sriram in the previous reply.
    You can contact me at nehaa_at_microsoft_dot_com (Remove the underscores and replace the words with symbols wherever applicable).

    Thanks,
    Nehaa[MSFT]

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 12:38 PM
  • Neeha,

    I'm like the majority of folks in this thread...Windows 7 file (not image) backup takes a very, very long time, and more often than not it insists on backing up what appears to be every file -- not just that have changed from the last backup.

    I see your answer hear about Windows Media Player, etc., but I don't understand it. Yes, I view and listen to multimedia files using a variety of programs, even occasionally Windows Media Player. So yes, I expect these files to be backed up, assuming they reside somewhere on my hard drive. But in terms of your workaround, I for one need more details on how to implement what you are suggesting.

    If it does involve too much work or thinking, I can only assume that few people will do it. But I'm willing to give it a shot.

    Thanks,
    pjpinella
    Paul Pinella
    Saturday, October 24, 2009 3:18 PM
  • I'm having the same issues with the Win7 backup. I used to use OneCare's backup on Vista with no problems - incrementals worked fine. Without changing anything in my home configuration, moving to Win7 (Beta then RC), the backups keep doing full backups when I haven't changed the files.

    Some details:
    - One desktop PC with Win7 and an external USB hard drive attached.
    - Backup saves to the external hard drive.
    - One Xbox 360 we use often as a media center extender.
    - I backup files; biggest chunk are photos and music. I do not backup our Recorded TV (which are saved to a separate internal hard drive).
    - We have two user profiles (mine and my wife`s) plus Guest which is never used.
    - All our photos, music and video (not recorded TV) are stored under the `Public` user.


    It may be related or not, but every time we fire up Media Center on the Xbox 360, and then select `Music`, it shows no artists at first, and then takes a minute or two to `reload`the 466 artists we have. It only does that on the Xbox, when I go into Music in Media Center on the PC it shows all the artists instantly. Wondering if this is related as it seems that WMC extender and Windows Backup are both forgetting things (that it`s seen the files before, or that the files haven`t changed).

    Would greatly appreciate help.
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 6:34 AM
  • I'm also experiencing this issue. I'm just trying the workaround (I have WL Photo gallery, Media Player & Centre open for each of my user accounts, waiting for indexing to complete). I'll report back about whether it resolves the issue.

    Separate, but related, can someone explain how Win7 decides when to make a new complete system image? i.e. is it every time backup runs? Because this, on top of the issue with incremental backups discussed in this thread could combine for very very long daily backups.

    Cheers,
    Nick
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 11:03 AM
  • So far the workaround - works! I waited til all the media player etc indexing was complete, then did a new full backup with system image. As soon as it had finished I ran backup again, for the first time it did an incremental backup! It did however state immediately after this that it was creating another system image, not sure why this was necessary 5 minutes after it had just done one (?) but it seemed to only take a few minutes... can system images somehow be incremental too?

    Nick
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 10:38 PM
  • Hi Guys, aren't you tired guessing for Windows 7 to Backup Inceremental or Differential? doesn't it should be imbedded in the OPS as it was in Windows XP, for you to indicate what you want to backup, schedule when and what type Normal, Daily, Incremental, Differential. Why are you continuing to guess what files are there windows media player?, movies?, games? and so on. what difference should it make. indicating Incremental or differential backups will only backup the changes from the last Normal backup that you did. Stop guessing please, or use a 3rd Party software that will give you the optiones Windows XP had, untill Microsoft will implement it in a Service Pack in Windows 7.
    Monday, October 26, 2009 1:09 AM
  • Hi analystscouch,

    Thanks for confirming that the workaround helps in your case.

    As part of scheduled backup, Windows Backup recommends including system image backup also. So if you choose "Windows Recommended" settings for what to include as part of backup, system image backup gets included by default. This is to make sure that you have a recent restorable version of your system at any point in time. You could however choose to exclude system image backup by choosing "Let me choose" for what to include in backup and uncheck system image backup check-box in the following wizard page.

    Yes, Windows Backup supports incremental system image backup. In order for system image backup to be incremental, the shadow copy created by previous system image backup on the source volume should be available. If so, only the changes in the volume since the last time it was backed up would get backed up.

    Hope that clarifies your concerns.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 12:34 PM
  • Hello Xterrastria/Paul,

    Just to give you some more context on the issue that Neha was explaining before:

    Applications like Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player maintains an index of all the items that are added to the Pictures,  Music, Videos libraries that are part of the application. By default all the folders that are part of the Pictures, Music, Video libraries that you see in Windows7 explorer are part of the applications' libraries.

    When the application starts, it makes sure that all items that are part of one of its libraries are indexed so that it can list them in the applications' UI. When new files are added to one or more of the libraries, the application indexes the new items when it starts up. This is when the object ID for the file gets set in case it is not already set. This causes the file's change time to get updated and picked up by next backup. Note the following:

    a. In case the file already has object ID, then the indexing will not update the object ID. So the file will not be picked up by next incremental backup.
    b. In case the object ID does not exist, the indexing process would update the object ID only once. It does not update the object ID every time the application is opened or every time the file is viewed through the application. So you can rest assure that the file would get backed up at the max *only* one more time as part of an incremental backup in case it was already backed up. If you make sure that the indexing process is complete before the file gets backed up first time, then the file will get backed up *only* once.

    To ensure that the indexing process is complete, you can open the application and wait for the application to list the items. Like I said before, there would be a delay for the application to start up because of the indexing process. But when you see that the application is ready, it indicates that the indexing process is complete.

    Let us know if you are still not clear when the indexing process is complete. Or if you find that the file is getting backed up everytime it is viewed. We would be glad to help you resolve this issue.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 6:30 PM
  • Hi Sriram,

    Thanks for the reply. It's good to know the system image is incremental also.

    As I stated above, post-workaround the first backup after a full one was a very small incremental backup as expected. However subsequent backups, whilst also incremental have taken much longer to complete (an hour or more) and I have seen that it is re-backingup files that I haven't opened or changed since the workaround (I definitely saw some music files flash by). In fact I haven't even opened Media Player/Centre or Photo Gallery. Are there other indexing applications in play that could be causing the problem?

    Also, I I have just migrated from OneCare in Vista, which didn't have this problem (nor did it require the user to manually delete backups if the disk became full). Did it use a different mechanism to decide what to backup?

    Best,
    Nick
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:33 AM
  • Sriram,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I do occasionally add photos and music files to the default folders in Windows 7. Typically I view the photos in Picasa, not Windows Media Center or Player, but I may occasionally open those applications, too. I think you are saying this could be at the root of the backup problem.

    If this is the case, please state again what I should try to prevent the incremental backup from taking half a day to complete. Before an incremental backup, should I first open Windows Media Center or Player and let it index files? I always thought Windows had one indexing program that everything used, and that it ran continually in the background.

    Just trying to make the workaround work and to bake it into my backup routine -- until we get the much needed fix.

    Thanks again,
    Paul
    Paul Pinella
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:49 AM
  • Hi Paul,

    You should open Media Centre, Media Player and Picasa, and perhaps any other programs which hold their own index of your files. Wait til they have finished indexing files. In Picasa I believe this appears in the bottom left as a little pop-up when new files are found. Also you may have to wait while it generates thumbnails, I'm not sure. In Media Player it will state next to the volume control if it is still indexing your files. You will need to do this for all your user accounts once . After this initial run only new files will be indexed by these programs, so they shouldn't affect your backup much. Or put another way, you don't need to open these programs before every backup, just before your initial backup.

    Or that's the theory... My experience so far has been a little different (see my last post). In fact, a backup is running right now, and I'm a little suspicious that it might be doing a full or near full backup. It's backing up AppData folder files for users that haven't even logged on since the last backup, media files I haven't opened since the last backup. As someone above suggested, could this have something to do with Windows own indexing service?


    Cheers,
    Nick
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 12:49 PM
  • Hi Nick,

    I would be glad to get in touch with you and try to figure out what is going on. Once I complete the investigation, I will post it here for others to be benefitted.

    Can you pl. get back to me here so that I can pursue investigation offline?
    sriramb-at-microsoft-dot-com (remove hypens, replace at with @, dot with .)

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:27 AM
  • Hi Paul,

    Yes Nick is correct.

    The indexing that I am referring to is different from the Search Indexing that would happen in the background. From what we have seen, files getting indexed for the first time as part of any of the viewer applications would cause an update in change time. Subsequent indexing as part of same application or a different application should not cause any more updates.

    So, all you have to make sure is to view the files once from any of the applications that is mainitaing indexes once you have added them to one of the built-in libraries.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:31 AM
  • Sriram,

    I just dropped you a line via email with some screen shots of backup sizes and dates. For the dates shown, the only files to change were about 12 megs of Word documents, nothing else new.

    Regards,

    David
    In Northern Italy
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 3:22 PM
  • I have a question about the help blurb copied below...

    "Backups are created in sets known as backup periods . To help maximize your disk space, Windows Backup backs up all selected folders the first time it's run and then it only backs up files that are new or have been modified since the last backup was made. Periodically, Windows creates a new, full backup. Each full backup is known as a backup period..."

    I'm actually having the opposite problem of what's discussed here. I now have *a* backup period, with daily incrementals, that's going on two months old. I'd like to know what defines "periodically" above, and whether I can adjust the "rules" associated with this. What I'd really like is once a month do a full backup, and then daily incrementals from there, and next month start a new full backup, keeping the previous one (I can manually go in and delete old backup periods as required).
    Other than deleting the only backup set I have, I can't find any way to forcibly start a new backup period. If there's no way for me to get this level of control, how do I best go about submitting an enhancement request, since I'd think this is pretty basic functionality.

    Brad.
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 10:14 PM
  • Hi David,

    I did not receive any mail from you. Can you pl. resend the mail to my alias?

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Friday, October 30, 2009 7:44 AM
  • Brad,

    We have introduced automatic full backup feature in Windows7 to help customers who run into a situation where they never create full backups. When their backup target eventually gets filled, they are left with only one backup set to delete. They need to delete the entire backup set to resume backups and so end up in a situation where they do not have any backup.

    The rules that determine when to take automatic full backup are:

    1. If previous full backup was taken 1 year back

    2. Ratio of size of deleted files + older versions of files in current backup set is 50% or more of the size of the current backup if it were full.

    We deliberately did not allow forcibly starting new backup set or configuring these rules through our UI because we did not want to confuse users about full backups, incremental backups, automatic full backups.

    If you find that these settings do not match your requirements, we allow the defaults to be tweaked using registry keys.

    Registry key to control enable/disable automatic switching to full backup:
    Path: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsBackup\AutomaticFullBackup
    Name: Enabled
    Type: DWORD
    Value: 0 indicates automatic full backup is disabled, non-zero indicates it is enabled
    Default if not specified: 1

    Registry key to control the time period when backup should automatically switch to full:
    Path: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsBackup\AutomaticFullBackup
    Name: TimePeriodInDays
    Type: DWORD
    Value: Count of days
    Default if not specified: 365

    Registry key to control the % of deleted/missing + older versions of files that determines whether to switch to full backup:
    Path: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsBackup\AutomaticFullBackup
    Name: OlderFilesSizePercentage
    Type: DWORD
    Value: Percentage value from 0 to 100
    Default if not specified: 50

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 6:57 AM
  • Thanks for the info. On my machine the AutomaticFullBackup key was there, but had no values, which presumably means defaults all around. I plugged in much smaller values (for now) to see what effect that has (after rebooting).

    As an aside, one thing I didn't notice before was a comment way up in the page from an unidentified user that said Incremental backups don't work to network storage locations. I don't believe I saw that in any documentation and wonder if it's true. I know Win7 Home doesn't backup to network locations, but I'm using Enterprise.

    Brad.
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 12:15 PM
  • Brad,

    A lower value for OlderFilesSizePercentage would mean the automatic full backup would trigger earlier than when it would trigger if this key was not set. Hope that is clear.

    To clarify on your question on incremental backups to network storage location:
    Windows Backup supports incremental backup to network storage locations. This is true for file backup as well as system image backup.

    However in case of system image backup, Windows Backup supports only preserving the latest version of the system image backup. This is because system image backup versions currently are maintained as shadow copy versions of the backup target volume containing the backups. Since shadow copy cannot be created on network shares, it is not possible to support multiple versions of system image when taken to network share.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 4:06 PM
  • Gotcha on both counts. I reset the values low enough to make sure I'd see results, rebooted then started a backup, and sure enough it created a new backup set. Actually, it seems it created two (one "Oct 31 to Nov 3" and one "Nov 3 to Nov 3"). The second of those *appears* to be incremental (it's smaller), but I'm going to wait until tonight's scheduled backup to go and see what happens.
    I'll likely leave the OlderFilesSizePercentage as the default (as in, delete it from my registry) once I've confirmed what's going on.

    Thanks for the tips. I don't use Media Player (or anything related), which is probably why I wasn't seeing the same incremental thing some others were.

    Brad.
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 6:02 PM
  • Hi Nick,

    Thanks for all the follow up that you did.

    For the benefit of others on this forum:
    Nick & I found that the issue was because of "Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service" updating the ChangeTime of all media files under c:\Users\Public folder every time machine is rebooted or resumed from sleep.

    Disabling this service helped avoid future incrementals becoming huge.

    For folks reporting this issue in this thread, can you check if this issue is what you are running into and whether applying this workaround helps?

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 7:08 PM
  • The original post was the same problem I was having.  Did  a full last week after installing Windowss7 and it did another full Thursday night.  i did as recommend by turning off the windows media player networking service and will see what happens. 
    Sunday, November 8, 2009 12:12 AM
  • Hello "the-big-blow",

    Any updates on this issue? Did the workaround suggest help?

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Monday, November 16, 2009 3:43 PM
  • Well since I did turn off the media player networking service I haven't had the problem again and this Sunday's was an Incremental so I consider the problem resolved. 
    Monday, November 16, 2009 4:58 PM
  • Hi SriramB.

    Sorry for the delayed reply and thanks for the explanation. I will try letting all the indexes run this weekend before setting up the backup again.
    - For my re-loaded of music artists on the WMC extender (360) every time I go into Music, is this the same issue? Do I have to leave MC open on the extender (and PC?) while I leave WMP and WLPG too?

    That said, your description of how the incremental backups work sound like broken functionality/very poor user experience. Why should a user need to go to these lengths (and depths of understanding the system) to get the backup service to do what it says it does?
    - Is there a fix coming that makes the backup tool only backup the files that have actually changed and not those that just get indexed?
    - When I add new files after the first backup (like lots of photos we take), do I have to open WLPG and WMP and WMC on both my and my wife's user account to make sure these files aren't unnecessarily backed up multiple times? (please tell me 'no')

    I want to like this tool/OS, but this experience isn't making it easy.

    Thanks for you help. I appreciate your responses.

    Paul
    Friday, November 27, 2009 6:02 AM
  • After letting all the apps do all the indexing, my second backup doubled the backup size from 40GB to 80GB.

    Is an update coming soon so the backup feature works for a normal user experience? I really don't like spending so much time on this, and these are all MS products.

    Thanks.

    Paul

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 5:35 AM
  • i had the same issue as well, and disabling "Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service" seems to have done the trick. but now media sharing accross my devices (xbox, media center extender and other PCs) is not working correctly (surprise surprise) ... so are you telling us that these two features (backup/restore and media sharing) are exclusive of each other ... i can only have one or the other? i want half my money back.
    Sunday, January 3, 2010 2:29 AM
  • Sriram,

    I hope you are still reading this thread.  I have a question regarding implementing the registry settings.

    I used Regedit to set the OlderFilesSizePercentage=1, stopped/started the "Windows Backup" service and ran "wbadmin start backup -vssfull -backuptarget:y: -include:c:,d:" but still a new backup 'period' was not created.

    I even rebooted and it made no difference.

    Have I missed something?

    Thanks.

    B0b
    Sunday, January 3, 2010 5:30 AM
  • Is anyone from MSFT still reading this thread? I would love to sort this out with you so that I can use the back-up feature in W7.
    Sunday, January 17, 2010 1:09 AM
  • I don't get mhy Microsoft made the backupfunction like this... it's just so stupid. :/

    I have to backup about 300gb each time I backup and for that I have a server but with Windows 7 I get full backups everytime.

    Why is Windows 7 not able to backup incremental backups on networkfolders? Why should it be a difference between networkfolders and USB-drives when making a bakckuP?
    Friday, January 22, 2010 8:42 AM
  • Hello Xterrastrial,

    We are aware of these issues and are trying to address them in the best possible way.

    Did you do indexing after the first backup? If so the second backup would again backup all the files again.

    Here's how I suggest you deal with this issue:
    1. Add the required media files to the folder which is included in backup.
    2. Index them using the various kinds of media applications you have.
    3. Trigger a backup.

    The first time you take a backup, these files are supposed to get backed up and they would get backed up. But after this, the subsequent backups should not include them.

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Monday, January 25, 2010 4:09 PM
  • Hello.

    The registry keys I specified are only effective for file backup taken as part of Windows Backup. There is no command-line for file backup.

    "wbadmin start backup" would only support taking a block-level backup of the entire volumes included in backup in client SKUs. (That is why if you have noticed, you can only include full volumes as part of "wbadmin start backup"). So this does not end up creating a new backup 'period' for the file backups.

    Hope that clarifies.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Monday, January 25, 2010 4:12 PM
  • Hello kristoffer.nyqvist,

    Which backup are you attempting to the network share? Is it only file backup (or) system image backup (or) both?

    We support taking incremental file backups on network folders. Are you not able to do this? If so, pl. let me know, I can help you out.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]
    Monday, January 25, 2010 4:14 PM
  • Sriram,
    Thanx for revisiting this discussion; it's apparent there are still issues to be worked out, and I doubt that media file indexing is the whole issue. Please be aware of another discussion, which seems to have been abandoned:

    http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7repair/thread/322a7f91-afb8-46e6-a838-dd8f4be5849a/

    I've tried to ping Divya, but mail gets returned.

    Bill Zigrang
    Monday, January 25, 2010 5:13 PM
  • Help!!!!! for close to a week now I have been trying to backup my files but the highest percentage done has been 41. I don't know how to perform the workaround or stop the indexing. Thanks in advance!!
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 3:54 PM
  • Hello sgeeena,

    Yes. Until either of the issues get fixed, both these features cannot work together. We are aware of this limitation and are doing the best we can to resolve it earliest.

    Until we have a fix from our side, the only workaround possible is to not have the media + other files under Public folder. Instead have them in any other folder that can be shared and include them in backup. This is because the ""Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service" issue is constrained to only files under Public.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]



    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 8:33 AM
  • What's the latest on this? I have been teetering on the edge of getting a Windows Home Server for my backups but really want the Windows 7 backup to work.

    So bottom line, if I remove media from PUBLIC, it should do incrementals?
    Friday, March 5, 2010 10:16 PM

  • Well, I'm having the same issue, however my PUBLIC folder just have the sample media files.  So I don't think just that would help.  I will try disabling Sharing to see if this takes effect, but...

    I'd rather have one full a week and daily incrementals.  Will try to make those registry changes, however, I'm already starting again from scratch...

    My C: drive 150 GB in use.  Backup destination is 300GB.  I think this should allow me to keep one full plus any of the incrementals...

    Saturday, March 6, 2010 12:42 AM
  • Well It Makes me laugh need to make registry changes, for doing Incrementel or Differential backup, next we will have to make registry changes to bring Word up or play the Windows Media player, Ah, Ah,Ah.....
    Saturday, March 6, 2010 4:10 AM
  • Can someone from MS please provide an update on when a fix/patch will be released to make incremental backups work? Does W7 SP1 address this?
    Sunday, March 21, 2010 2:38 AM
  • I just wish there were more options for Win7 backup utility. Perhaps Microsoft can add more features as incremental, differential, and full. Also, a location that we can specified the backup as oppose of root directory.

    Perhaps someone in MSFT can put this as a suggestion: To give more power to the user to create their own backups.


    "There's a time and place for that. The time is... Never. You can figure out the place on your own".

    • Proposed as answer by esteban2800 Sunday, March 21, 2010 5:14 AM
    Sunday, March 21, 2010 5:13 AM
  • Hello Xterrastrial,

    Apologies for the delay in getting back to this.

    We will be fixing the issue of Windows Media Player Networking Service causing Windows Backup to include all files under Public folder in incremental backups as part of SP1.

    The other issues noticed with indexing services causing incremental backups to become huge would not get fixed though.

    Thanks,

    Sriram [MSFT]

     

    • Proposed as answer by esteban2800 Tuesday, March 23, 2010 4:22 PM
    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 9:43 AM
  • Hello Estaban2800,

    We take your feedback and would try to address them in our future release.

    Thanks,

    Sriram [MSFT]

    • Proposed as answer by esteban2800 Tuesday, March 23, 2010 4:20 PM
    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 9:45 AM
  • Hello Estaban2800,

    We take your feedback and would try to address them in our future release.

    Thanks,

    Sriram [MSFT]


    Perfect! Thank you,

    Esteban


    "There's a time and place for that. The time is... Never. You can figure out the place on your own".
    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 4:49 PM
  • so, to be honest, backup on windows 7 x64 remains useless even after SP1?

    each backup I do is a nearly full one (about 450 GB takes 11h to complete)

    on my x86 partition on the same machine it works like it should (incremental backup within less than 10 minutes)

    anyone a good recommendation for a third party backup solution?

    greets pumori

    Monday, March 29, 2010 2:38 PM
  • It's a bit manual, but I've been using synchronizeit to compare my backup files to my live files.  It's not fancy, but I'm confident it gets my important files backed up if there are any changes.  My drives are large enough I don't have to worry about space.   And, it only picks up the changed files, so my backups only take a few minutes. 

     

    It would be really nice if MS could fix this issue though, I'd rather have the automatic backups with a system image and shadow copies.  However, what I have is sufficient.

    Monday, March 29, 2010 9:44 PM
  • I think there is room for improvement. I proposed the same idea as to have incremental or differential backups (hint: veritas netbackup). I also wish they can fix their virtual pc to support 64-bit os guests (hint: Oracle VirtualBox). Oh well, it's just a matter of time. I'm pretty sure Microsoft developers are well aware of the limitations.

    Just throwing it out there like the Microsoft commercials state: "I'm a PC and Windows 7 was my idea"

    -Esteban


    "There's a time and place for that. The time is... Never. You can figure out the place on your own".
    • Edited by esteban2800 Tuesday, March 30, 2010 2:22 AM added more comments.
    • Proposed as answer by esteban2800 Tuesday, March 30, 2010 2:23 AM
    Tuesday, March 30, 2010 2:17 AM
  • I found my solution.

    1> Macrium Reflect FREE Edition.  It takes less than two hours to image my 500 GB drive with 250 GBs of data on it, to an external USB drive.  Using the standard compression, the image file is about 200 GB.  The free edition will not do incremental, but the images are small and fast to produce.  

    I keep one original image that contains only the system and all user installed programs, but no data.  I do a weekly automatic backup image that contains all of the data.  You can schedule these backups, so my computer spends 2 hours every Sunday at 1:00 AM creating a new image.  I simply delete the previous image.  The Reflect images can be mounted as virtual hard drives to retrieve individual files and folders using Explorer if necessary.

    2> FREE Synctoy x64 edition, a great file backup utility from Microsoft.  This is scheduled to do incremental data backups to my USB drive every night at 11:00 PM through task scheduler.  It is incremental, and VERY fast and VERY configurable.  It can be set up to sych, echo, or contibute, and will even send overwritten files to the Recycle Bin for your perusal and possible archiving, before deletion, if you want.  You can even backup to the mounted Reflect virtual hard drive image, so that a restore would be complete with all recent data intact!

    The the built-in backup tools in Windows 7 are nothing if not flaky and undependable.  Do you know that you have lost your historical copy (previous versions) of your files if you use Disk Cleanup and activate the "Delete all but last restore point" tool, because this also zaps the shadow copies on your drives?  

    Why would anyone want to deal with "gotcha's" like that, when there are so many third party solutions that are FREE and that you can actually depend upon?

    Life is short, don't waste your time with the big complex joke that is Windows 7 backup--you'll get nothing but heartache in return.

    • Proposed as answer by Paras Doshi Saturday, February 25, 2012 6:18 PM
    Sunday, April 11, 2010 4:49 AM
  • You said FREE from Microsoft? This I got to check out. Is Macrium also for 64bit?

    -EC


    "There's a time and place for that. The time is... Never. You can figure out the place on your own".
    • Proposed as answer by esteban2800 Sunday, April 11, 2010 4:21 PM
    Sunday, April 11, 2010 4:09 PM
  • Downloading both but I'm interested in testing out Macrium Reflect. This is EXACTLY what I also need. Thanks!
    "There's a time and place for that. The time is... Never. You can figure out the place on your own".
    Sunday, April 11, 2010 4:22 PM
  • They are both free, and have small footprints.  I can back up a drive and keep on editing photos or whatever.  Macrium Reflect has a paid version for $40 that does a lot of extras, but the free version works great for my purposes.  Synctoy is the most reliable file/folder backup that I've ever used.  The interface is different, but not hard to learn.
    Sunday, April 11, 2010 7:35 PM
  • So does the incremental only work if you choose Windows Recommended rather than Let me choose?

     

    cheers

     

    Jim

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 1:56 AM
  • Boy, this thread has really grown! Unfortunately for the users who search for information regarding Windows 7 backup functionality (specifically the unchecked growth of the backup size) there doesn't seem to be a clear answer. There have been quite a few responses from people involved with the MS Win 7 backup team, but none of these responses really addresses the problem we're experiencing. I won't rehash the problem, but you can refer to my original posting and subsequent postings in this thread to get the full picture. Since my first posting I've since built another machine with all new hardware and the problem still exists in an x64 installation. Just to set the record straight, this problem hasn't been remedied, either through a patch OR a workaround (although some of this thread's postings are misleading and suggest that there are workarounds). I'm hoping we can get a clearer understanding of how MS is hoping to address this issue, sp please can a MS person that is familiar with this issue (possibly someone who has posted to this thread in the past or from MS with whom I've exchanged private emails on the subject) please respond once again to this thread and update the community regarding the scope of the issue. Specifically...

    • Is this issue related only to Win7 x64 installations or is x32 affected as well
    • Has the growth issue been addressed / corrected, if so what was root cause
    • Will this issue be fixed prior to Win 7 SP1 via a patch or will the fix only be available via SP1

    Any other insight would be helpful if MS would like to share some details.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010 4:24 PM
  • I have given up on this.  I seems as if the MS guys do not have a handle on what the problem is, and refer to workarounds that are not even relevant.  I wasted many hours trying to research this problem, and trying to come up with a fix or workaround myself.  I prefer to keep third party apps at a minimum to optimize performance, and to use the tools already provided by the operation system whenever possible.  In this case, that is not possible.

    To me, the only solution has been to assume that Windows 7 x64 does not have backup tools, and go with free third party solutions that are absolutely reliable, waste none of my time, and cause none of this pain (see my earlier post).

    How can you expect to get a solution to a problem when the MS guys can't understand what the issue is to begin with?  They can't see the forest because a tree is in the way.  

    The MS backup is BROKEN, therefore it does not exist!

    Microsoft has never had a problem with not re-inventing the wheel in other areas--heck, sometimes they even buy a company to acquire its technology.  MS, please look at how Macrium or one of the other popular back-up apps handle things.  These third party solutions simply work, with no headaches!  

    Why complicate matters by incorporating Backup with System Restore?  If I have to get a restore point from a system image (VHD), then I may as well re-image the system anyway to ensure that I have a clean system with no loss of integrity.  I highly suspect that most of the problems with Win7 Backup are rooted into the integration with VSS and System Restore.  While Macrium does leverage VSS to copy locked files, that is as far as it goes.  Therefore, no problems.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010 4:55 PM
  • To be honest CDixonM, I kinda have too, at least in the short term. Like I alluded to in my last post, I invested in new hardware - including a new WD 1TB external drive. This drive has a program on a hidden partition called Smartware that upon connecting to a PC installs itself and remains resident in memory and provides real time backups. I figured I'd try this as a solution, at least until Win7 backup gets straightened out. Unfortunately, this isn't a very good solution for two reasons... 1) I really don't want real time backups, having a weekly incremental would be my preference and 2) the Smartware is provides very limited functionality and backs up files that I don't want it to (namely .wtv recorded TV files and the temporary files that are created during recording / watching of TV shows), resulting in progressively eating up disk space (albeit a much slower pace than the win7 backup issue we're discussing). So, in my opinion, Smartware is a crappy solution as well.

    I've made comments early on that one should expect issues early on in an OS's life, however I believe my patience is wearing thin. I'd like to use the backup functionality that is marketed by MS, but I can't until this is fixed. I too am considering another third party utility from Acronis, but it just rubs me the wrong way to have to purchase this if in fact the functionality should be present and working as part of the OS.

    Just to note, this is being noticed outside of this Technet newsgroup: 5 Windows 7 Issues Microsoft Needs To Address Now - http://www.crn.com/software/220300584

    Although I'm still hopefull that MS come up with a solution for this issue, I'm quickly starting to give up hope.

    Jim

    Sunday, April 18, 2010 6:17 PM
  • I have been following this thread for months as experiencing the same problems as everyone else with incremental backups being huge and auto backups happening almost every 2-3 days. I tried to follow the advice given by MS earlier in the thread to change the registry settings around this ratio that sets off the auto backup.  I thought I would try changing the default for the % deleted files to 75%. After digging in the registry I found this path only under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, but the keys mentioned above don't seem to exist? So my question is could they be hidden in someway? I can't understand how they can't be there so don't want to create them. Could the registry changes mentioned refer to the pre-lease version and therefore I am looking at the wrong thing and the controls on the backup have moved?

     

    I would be grateful if anyone can shed light on if and where these registry changes can be done in Windows 7 professional.

     

     

    From MS staff

     

    The rules that determine when to take automatic full backup are:

    1. If previous full backup was taken 1 year back

    2. Ratio of size of deleted files + older versions of files in current backup set is 50% or more of the size of the current backup if it were full.

    We deliberately did not allow forcibly starting new backup set or configuring these rules through our UI because we did not want to confuse users about full backups, incremental backups, automatic full backups.

    If you find that these settings do not match your requirements, we allow the defaults to be tweaked using registry keys.

    Registry key to control enable/disable automatic switching to full backup:
    Path: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsBackup\AutomaticFullBackup
    Name: Enabled
    Type: DWORD
    Value: 0 indicates automatic full backup is disabled, non-zero indicates it is enabled
    Default if not specified: 1

    Registry key to control the time period when backup should automatically switch to full:
    Path: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsBackup\AutomaticFullBackup
    Name: TimePeriodInDays
    Type: DWORD
    Value: Count of days
    Default if not specified: 365

    Registry key to control the % of deleted/missing + older versions of files that determines whether to switch to full backup:
    Path: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsBackup\AutomaticFullBackup
    Name: OlderFilesSizePercentage
    Type: DWORD
    Value: Percentage value from 0 to 100
    Default if not specified: 50

     

    Mike


    Saturday, May 1, 2010 1:58 PM
  • I haven't used it, but Paragon Backup 9.5 is available for free until May 4th.

     

    http://slickdeals.net/permadeal/33650/paragon-drive-backup-9.5-professional

     

    Sunday, May 2, 2010 12:50 AM
  • Just checking back on the status of this issue.  Same general problem but on x86.  Using a combination of SyncBack and Acronis in the meantime.  Where is our Time Machine? ;)
    Saturday, May 8, 2010 4:11 PM
  • Same problem here.

    Windows Backup keeps making huge backups, following the initial full backup, even though there are only a few files changed on the drive and it's set for incremental backup.

    Seems that the behavior is triggered when I open Zune desktop software. The software seems to mark many of my MP3s as being modified when they're not, thus, Windows Backup backs them all up again.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 7:00 PM
  • I would like to add 1 more to the list.  Mine seemed to run into the problem when I started using my Xbox 360 as a media center extender.  Now it does a "full" backup every time it runs.

    Nick

    Saturday, May 29, 2010 2:32 PM
  • Nick:

    You might be onto something. I also have an Xbox 360 set up as a Media Center Extender.

     

    Sunday, May 30, 2010 8:13 PM
  • I don't think this works. I'm more than 24 hours into my second go and windows is again backing up my old crappy usb drive that exists  as a place to keep  transient things that are not important enough to back up. I know it is unchecked because when I canceled the last backup that was doing it, I looked.

    Including that drive, a full backup is going to run 350-400gigs for me. 18 months of Vista backups weren't much more than that. And no incremental? My 1TB backup volume is not going to last very long.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Thursday, June 3, 2010 4:04 AM
  • Guys, I hope that Microsoft is listening to our cry in this Thread about the unmanaged backup in Windows 7 like we had in Windows XP, to choose between Normal, Differential, Incremental, Copy or Daily. Anyway I suggest not to explode your 1 Tera Hard Drive scedule each day at midnight to make as usuall the Normal Full Backup but delete the day before. That is you will always have a fresh backup and only one. This won't explode your Tera drive, the only thing you pay is the long time each day it takes. but this it does anyway. Good luck,

    Sam

    Thursday, June 3, 2010 4:44 AM
  • I have just read this entire thread, which I found from this thread:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/windowsbackup/thread/e8a27814-7f7b-4ca4-b9e1-82f69c974988

    ...and have not found an answer to my question.  This other thread mentions (correctly) that Windows 7 backup does not clear the archive bit when performing a backup.

    This is causing a problem specific to the way our backup is done at our workplace.  I have not seen this situation addressed here, and have not seen the question about the archive bit addressed, so I'm hoping to get an answer to understand why Windows 7 backup works the way it does:

    We have a peer-to-peer network and shared folder without write access.  Our backup scheme is simple: each PC performs it's own monthly backup (NTbackup on XP) and writes that file to a shared/writable directory on the network "server" (term used loosely!!).  Each day, the "server" (XP) then runs an incremental backup remotely on each PC.  So at any given day, there is a backup from the beginning of the month, and then one file that contains all files that have changed since that backup was done (since the remote backup doesn't clear the archive bit).

    Now we've got 1 machine with Windows 7 on it, and I ran a full backup to set the base file, and the incremental backup just backs everything up again, because Windows 7 backup doesn't clear the archive bit.

    So my question is this: How does Windows 7 track which files have been changed/updated in order to perform a true incremental backup?  It appears that MS has come up with another way of tracking changes, like using some kind of index file, which seems silly since the archive bit pretty much does the same thing and is was simpler.

    Also, is there any way to force Windows 7 backup to write everything to ONE file instead of breaking it into 200MB .zip files?

    Hey, I've got an idea.  I'm going to copy ntbackup.exe on to the Windows 7 PC and use it instead.

    But I would still like an answer.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010 8:10 PM
  • Wow, I thought maybe i just didn't understand the interface, but apparently the entire concept of backup has been borked beyond repair. I don't want a disaster recovery solution - I mean, I do, but more importatnly, I want to have access to multiple backups of my work, so if I changed a document yesterday, last week, and also two weeks ago, I can open my backups and find the version which has the changes I'm looking for. I want an archive, not just a cloned image.

    I want full backups weekly, followed by an incremental every night.  this is the way backup was always done by people who knew what they were doing. I understand dumbing it down for Joe Sixpack, but if we're running Enterprise versions of the OS, how about an enterprise class backup solution?

    Or if you were going to redesign the whole thing, how about you explain to us how we are supposed to use your newfangled system to get the desired results?

    Thursday, June 17, 2010 7:45 PM
  • LongSyntax -   I'm glad you finally asked the question:  Is this issue related only to Win7 x64 installations or is x32 affected as well?

     

    I had Windows 7, 32-bit just around five weeks ago.  I had no problems with long backups using Backup & Restore utility.  Since I now have Windows7-64 bit, my backups with image have been problematic 3 out of the last 4 times. Initial data + image took 7.5 hours.  Fourth backup with data + image took 10.5.  Not only is it not getting shorter, it's getting longer, which doesn't make sense.   Note:  Data backups are longer than twenty minutes, but never longer than 45 or so.  I also use SyncToy, but that's just for data.  Immediate, for the most part.

    I run backups daily and create an image once a week.  Only one of the images took a normal amount of time (1.15 hours) At least here, I think you confirmed what I have been thinking:  If I go back to my retail version of Windows7, 32-bit, I may solve the problem.   Will keep you posted.  I'm not in any rush to troubleshoot, but I am also backing away from creating new images - I can't stand the thought of another marathon where length is totally unpredictable.

    Friday, June 25, 2010 9:33 PM
  • So, as luck would have it I did need a disaster recovery solution. the verdict? FAIL.

     

    Last week my PC popped up a warning that I had a SMART waring was tripped - and I should create a backup and replace it. So I checked, yep have a backup, just ran the other day. Removed my drive, (tested it, definitely failing the vendor diag) Put in the new drive, booted to a Win 7 DVD - Restore from backup - no backups found. WTF? External USB drive connected, check. Browse drive, WindowsImageBackup folder is there, try again., Same thing. Grrr. Poked and prodded at it, no dice.

    thought maybe I could open the VHD and do a robocopy. Figured out how to mount the VHD, start the copy - every hundred files or so, I get an error that a file is corrupt. Well, that's that, no system image for me. Reinstall Windows 7, search for backup, it comes up, files are there, restore everything.

    But wait, not Everything. Some folders are there, but there are no files in them. Also, Apps folder in my profile, won't restore to the same location, even though Ive recreated my account, same name and all. Well, maybe the files are open and can't be replaced. Log off, log in with another admin account, and try restore to that location. Nope, sorry. access denied. I'm an admin, I have full control of the folders, all the rights seem to be there, just won't restore there. Restore to an alternate folder, and copy the apps Local, Low, and Roaming back to my profile

    Reiinstall ITunes. fire it up, the library is there, everything is in order. Wait - bangs all the way down the list. None of the files are there. Check, folders are there, files, not so much. Back to the backup, search, Folders are there, no files. Now, I don't use Itunes all that much lately, I've been listening to Pandora. So maybe the files were locked open, but unlikely. And - ALL of them? I'm only listening to one at a time. I have two backup sets, one had no files whatsoever, the other has mp3s, but no AACs? Huh? How does that work? Anti-Apple sabotage?

    So now I have my bad drive up on a SATA to USB adapter, manually copying files from my old C: drive. - thank god I had a backup. Now I realize how much I wasn't baking up. Crapload of stuff in the root of C, not backed up - not that I could have restored them probably, but hey, it's the thought that counts. Drive making ominous clicking noises randomly, hope I can get everything copied before it dies.

    One or two of the ITunes files choked out of 23 gb, to be expected from a failing drive, but not MOST of them, so why didn't Windows back them up?

    So heckuva job there, guys. If you weren't going to backup my files, shouldn't I have gotten some kind of pop-up telling me things were incomplete? Drive failing, files can't be read, something? SMART worked, why not the backup?

     

    Monday, June 28, 2010 3:58 AM
  • I am currently evaluating whether to employ Windows 7 Backup versus a third-party tool like Acronis. Of course, a backup is only as effective as its ability to restore.

    Very simple, I'd like to ask the techs on this thread to simply choose A or B below.  

    A) As of 7/29/2010, the types of Windows Backup problems such as those mentioned in this thread have been addressed and fixed as part of Windows Update patches. We have no identifiable/repeatable scenarios whereby successful backups (file & system) will fail to restore.

    B) Having a reliable means of backup is critical for all users. Given the open issues users are experiencing with Windows Backup, Microsoft currently recommends users choose a different backup solution while we work to ensure that Backup and Restore is bug-free for all users.

     

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 2:44 PM
  • B) Having a reliable means of backup is critical for all users. Given the open issues users are experiencing with Windows Backup, Microsoft currently recommends users choose a different backup solution while we work to ensure that Backup and Restore is bug-free for all users.

    Win7 backup is complete fail, especially for end users.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:16 PM
  • B) Having a reliable means of backup is critical for all users. Given the open issues users are experiencing with Windows Backup, Microsoft currently recommends users choose a different backup solution while we work to ensure that Backup and Restore is bug-free for all users.

    Win7 backup is complete fail, especially for end users.


    I don't have a local backup anymore...I use Mozy on my laptop and main PC...still looking for a reliable local backup...I will give props to Apple and Time Machine...it is nice and it works!
    Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:22 PM
  • Until either of the issues get fixed, both these features cannot work together. We are aware of this limitation and are doing the best we can to resolve it earliest.

    Until we have a fix from our side, the only workaround possible is to not have the media + other files under Public folder. Instead have them in any other folder that can be shared and include them in backup. This is because the ""Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service" issue is constrained to only files under Public.
    Friday, July 30, 2010 6:54 AM
  • I'm sorry to say that I've not found one reliable backup routine that makes me comfortable.

    I don't trust the compression routines, the way many incremental backups are determined and created, and often the restore options fail. How do you know it's going to happen to you? You have a drive failure and then find out you're hosed, that's usually how it works..

    All I want is a 1:1 file copy routine that will - without compression - make an exact copy of my files and folders. I'm not interested in cloning the drives every day, but I would like something automated (e.g., set it up, go to bed, find a duplicated set of files and folders on the USB or network drive in the morning).

    I'm using Win7 Pro x64 on multiple machines (other machines have XP and Vista). Does anyone know any programs that will do this? Again, I want a 1:1, file & folder identical copy created (without funky compression that can't be read/undone when it goes to ____) that will look for changes and copy the new or modified file to the exact same folder.

    I don't care about system restore as much, because if you're OS is hosed, or the drive failed, it's often a good time to start over and load everything from scratch.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 4:29 PM
  • Download a copy of COMODO BACKUP.  READ THE PDF if you want to create more than 1 backup.  It's pretty simple after creating the first with all you want to back up, and then export that script and rename it on export.  Open the folder where you exported it to, and double click the exported file.  this will add that backup into the Schedule portion of the program and it can be edited to change any settings.  Has been working on my system Win7 x64 Ultimate, 4 G, 1TB HDD, 500G HDD, and numerous thrumb drives, Can also backup onto Samba Server (has to be configured separately).
    Monday, August 9, 2010 4:38 PM
  • Until either of the issues get fixed, both these features cannot work together. We are aware of this limitation and are doing the best we can to resolve it earliest.

    Until we have a fix from our side, the only workaround possible is to not have the media + other files under Public folder. Instead have them in any other folder that can be shared and include them in backup. This is because the ""Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service" issue is constrained to only files under Public.

    I'm really tired of seeing this answer.  Myself, as well as most others posting with the issue around this and other forums that are having the issue of the backup always being effectively "full" (backing up almost, if not all files on every backup) - is completely unrelated to the few people who have issues with the public folder being repeatedly backed up.  I have nothing in my public folder - never have and don't have a need to.  All my files in My Documents, My Music, as well as any library folders on other drives are being repeatedly backed up.  My only proposed reason for this above was the use of the Xbox 360 as a Windows Media Center Extender.  I also have the windows media player network sharing service disabled as was suggested on a forum about a year ago.  I think it's rather insane that there haven't even been any attempts to patch and fix this issue in this long.

    For any user looking for a straight 1-way sync, Microsoft Synctoy will do the trick, but there are no multiple version options.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 5:19 PM
  • I'm sorry to say that I've not found one reliable backup routine that makes me comfortable.

    I don't trust the compression routines, the way many incremental backups are determined and created, and often the restore options fail. How do you know it's going to happen to you? You have a drive failure and then find out you're hosed, that's usually how it works..

    All I want is a 1:1 file copy routine that will - without compression - make an exact copy of my files and folders. I'm not interested in cloning the drives every day, but I would like something automated (e.g., set it up, go to bed, find a duplicated set of files and folders on the USB or network drive in the morning).

    I'm using Win7 Pro x64 on multiple machines (other machines have XP and Vista). Does anyone know any programs that will do this? Again, I want a 1:1, file & folder identical copy created (without funky compression that can't be read/undone when it goes to ____) that will look for changes and copy the new or modified file to the exact same folder.

    I don't care about system restore as much, because if you're OS is hosed, or the drive failed, it's often a good time to start over and load everything from scratch.


    I, xcopy, like you fear that zip files can become corrupt and therfore not expand properly or AT ALL.  I've been using GoodSync. No bs features just a good syncer for windows that can be used for backup (one-way mode). I use it for web site deployment and backing up several computers. So far, no complaints. I cannot recommend it enough. SyncToy is just that, a toy.

     

    Monday, August 23, 2010 7:16 PM
  • It seems all Windows 7 users (including Me) are having the same problem. It also seems that there is no way round this - except to buy Acronis which does amazingly fast incremental backups. There may be some free backup software somehwere.

    Shame on you Microsoft.

    Friday, November 12, 2010 4:32 PM
  • A) As of 7/29/2010, the types of Windows Backup problems such as those mentioned in this thread have been addressed and fixed as part of Windows Update patches. 

    Well here I am in November 2010 and Windows 7 has been continuously updated since purchase in Mar 10 and STILL back up is not incremental. Shame on you Microsoft.
    Friday, November 12, 2010 4:37 PM
  • A) As of 7/29/2010, the types of Windows Backup problems such as those mentioned in this thread have been addressed and fixed as part of Windows Update patches. 

    Well here I am in November 2010 and Windows 7 has been continuously updated since purchase in Mar 10 and STILL back up is not incremental. Shame on you Microsoft.


    You've only been waiting since March. Many of us have been waiting since Oct 09, and I'll bet anyone here dollars to donuts, that this NEVER gets fixed in Win7.

    MS will come out with another OS before they fix the annoying problems in Win 7...

     

    Just like not being able to see your Office 2003 (a far better tool than Office 2007) previews in Windows Explorer, it's MS's way of selling you another product instead of fixing what they've got. Same as it ever was.....

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010 1:36 PM
  • Been a Microsoft user since the 80s, got thick skin and can live with software limitations - never complained on forums before... but this issue is just so stupid... That's the kind of bug a software company solves ASAP since this makes your whole media sharing story fall apart, but here we are over a year later without even a hint that you care about fixing this... MS, this really s*cks... Someone in your company is just not doing his/her job properly at handling this defect.

    Not unrelated to my frustration with this issue, I recently bought another computer in the house and it comes with another company's OS... I may not be the only one doing this you know...

     

    Monday, December 20, 2010 12:42 AM
  • Ok, so happy New Year 2011! And this problem still seems to be unresolved. I have a backup running right now that has been over 15 hours and it is still going. I do weekly backup and the last full backup was TWO WEEKS AGO. So yes, this problem still exists. I opened Windows Media Player over the holidays for the first time in months, as I don't really use it. However, I am getting backup of files and software that has nothing to do with WMP and has not been touched by me in months.

    MS, there is a simple solution. Make Backups work by determine if the Modified date has changed. If some meta data file is updated, back up that by itself but don't backup the original content of the file which has not been changed.

    If anyone else has a workable solution I am all ears. I have had this problem for the past year and given the size of my file system now, Windows 7 Backup is not really a viable solution for me. 

    Monday, January 3, 2011 11:50 PM
  • I just got Win 7 and was considering whether to use the native backup....I think this thread has answered my question---No way!!! These forums seem incredibly unhelpful--I thought MS representatives would be here to actually answer questions....From the 100+ posters and viewers of this thread, I gather that the Windows 7 backup function does not work properly, and that MS is not concerned....I don't know why they have these forums if not to help their users....Lucky there are some good free backup programs out there....:-)....

    Note: You guys are great--trying to help each other. My disappointment is with Microsoft.....

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 8:19 PM
  • Hey! I miss NTBACKUP!!

    Why don´t any make MS aware of this problem that we all with backup problem can use NTBACKUP at Win 7 installations.....

    Please I prefere i FIX or a PATCH that makes XP NTBACKUP to work on W7....

    I Tryed to run NTBACKUP and get this error " missing NTMSAPI.dll " and if put this file on W7 it problably needs more XP .dll files!

    Monday, January 24, 2011 7:16 PM
  • Any update on this? I have no come acroos the problem at my company. We are trying to make incrmental backups but it keeps filling the drive up....

     

    I wonder if SP1 will fix the problems....Well I can dream  :)

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:24 PM
  • Why requires much for such an backup function of Windows in-built backup? Windows backup works well, especially the system backup and restore. I love this.

    BTW, If you still try to find a free way to do file incremental backup, ok, hope my suggestion would give you a hand.

    Easues todo backup home version is free with incremental file backup. 

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011 10:55 AM
  • Also waiting for an update on the Media Player Network Sharing conflict.
    Saturday, May 7, 2011 2:10 AM
  • My problem was (!) with the re-indexing caused by Media Sharing, leading to almost full backups at each incremental run.

     

    After getting SP1, I have now been running daily incremental backups for two months - successfully!

    Backup only saves the daily "real" changes, even though I have >300GB of media files with sharing in active use.

     

    I did not check what patch may have fixed the issue, but I'm pretty sure SP1 contained the fix that finally made Win7 backup usable.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 11:33 AM
  • I am running sp1 with all updates installed.

    My 64 bit backup still increases in size.

    I have disabled the network sharing in media player and we shall see this monday if the size remains the same.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 12:20 PM
  • Are anyone of you backing up to the network? Incremental backups are only supported on local or removable media, not when backing up to a network location.
    Anonymuos

    This is so *not* the case...
    Thursday, July 28, 2011 8:33 PM
  • Sriram,

    I hope you are still reading this thread.  I have a question regarding implementing the registry settings.

    I used Regedit to set the OlderFilesSizePercentage=1, stopped/started the "Windows Backup" service and ran "wbadmin start backup -vssfull -backuptarget:y: -include:c:,d:" but still a new backup 'period' was not created.

    I even rebooted and it made no difference.

    Have I missed something?

    Thanks.

    B0b


    Hello Bob... I think that the Windows Backup documentation mentions that using the "-backuptarget" parameter, not only forces a full backup, but it deletes the previous one.

    And yes, I agree, that sucks.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011 8:36 PM
  • Hello.

    The registry keys I specified are only effective for file backup taken as part of Windows Backup. There is no command-line for file backup.

    "wbadmin start backup" would only support taking a block-level backup of the entire volumes included in backup in client SKUs. (That is why if you have noticed, you can only include full volumes as part of "wbadmin start backup"). So this does not end up creating a new backup 'period' for the file backups.

    Hope that clarifies.

    Thanks,
    Sriram [MSFT]

    Thank you, thank you Siriam for that response... could anybody please elaborate on this? I've searched this in the documentation and found no mention of this behavior, it cannot be that such an important item is only documented in the community forums?
    Thursday, July 28, 2011 8:38 PM
  • We have introduced automatic full backup feature in Windows7 to help customers ...

    The rules that determine when to take automatic full backup ...

     

    We deliberately did not allow forcibly starting new backup set or configuring these rules through our UI because we did not want to confuse users about full backups, incremental backups, automatic full backups.

     

     

    This is the root of the problem. Once you realised that users dont want your meddling with their minds and babysitting them you will have chance to catch up with various Googles, Apples, Android tablets etc....

     

    You did great till you started to play safe responding to pressure of psychotic linux forums few years ago... Now you officially suck.

    • Edited by maxima Thursday, October 6, 2011 10:55 PM
    Thursday, October 6, 2011 10:54 PM
  • I've been seeing this just like everyone else, but signed in to see if I have found cause for it.... Mine runs a full back every time. Period. I just now disabled the Media Sharing Service and will test that out over the next few backups, but that shouldn't matter as I do not keep any media in any public folders.

    I did a random sampling of files from all over my file system and without fail they all still have the archive flag set. Text files, databases, music, dlls, drivers, etc. Everything no matter the age. So, either Windows Backup is not clearing this flag when the files are backed up or there is something else setting this flag.

    Can those of you with this issue do a random sampling of your machine and report if the archive flag is set on everything? Just select the file in Explorer, Right-click>Properties>General Tab>Advanced... button. The archive attribute is the "file is ready for archiving" check box. My understanding is that the backup utility includes all files with this set in a backup. And since every file has it set on my machine: full backup every time.

    I sleep this machine every evening and it often wakes up on a different domain/network. That occasionally triggers group policy scans and virus ware scans. I wonder if these are triggering the archive flag.

    Anyway MS is not going to be of any help. Best bet is for the users to figure it out and move on.
    • Edited by COKEMAN92 Thursday, December 15, 2011 9:49 PM formatting
    Thursday, December 15, 2011 9:47 PM
  • UH, nevermind. I forgot that Win 7 doesn't use the archive bit. I had a lapse and thought I was on to something. I am going to try the registry setting and see if that gets me where I want to be.
    Friday, December 16, 2011 6:10 PM
  • I found my solution.

    1> Macrium Reflect FREE Edition.  It takes less than two hours to image my 500 GB drive with 250 GBs of data on it, to an external USB drive.  Using the standard compression, the image file is about 200 GB.  The free edition will not do incremental, but the images are small and fast to produce.  

    I keep one original image that contains only the system and all user installed programs, but no data.  I do a weekly automatic backup image that contains all of the data.  You can schedule these backups, so my computer spends 2 hours every Sunday at 1:00 AM creating a new image.  I simply delete the previous image.  The Reflect images can be mounted as virtual hard drives to retrieve individual files and folders using Explorer if necessary.

    2> FREE Synctoy x64 edition, a great file backup utility from Microsoft.  This is scheduled to do incremental data backups to my USB drive every night at 11:00 PM through task scheduler.  It is incremental, and VERY fast and VERY configurable.  It can be set up to sych, echo, or contibute, and will even send overwritten files to the Recycle Bin for your perusal and possible archiving, before deletion, if you want.  You can even backup to the mounted Reflect virtual hard drive image, so that a restore would be complete with all recent data intact!

    The the built-in backup tools in Windows 7 are nothing if not flaky and undependable.  Do you know that you have lost your historical copy (previous versions) of your files if you use Disk Cleanup and activate the "Delete all but last restore point" tool, because this also zaps the shadow copies on your drives?  

    Why would anyone want to deal with "gotcha's" like that, when there are so many third party solutions that are FREE and that you can actually depend upon?

    Life is short, don't waste your time with the big complex joke that is Windows 7 backup--you'll get nothing but heartache in return.

    +1 on synctoy - i use it too!

    Paras Doshi (Blog: ParasDoshi.com | Twitter: @Paras_Doshi )

    Saturday, February 25, 2012 6:18 PM
  • I have also skipped W7 backup software and recommend check this tread: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/583d2435-c298-42b2-b7ce-be4def1936e7 And now I'm in use of EaseUS Todo Backup, faster and inkludes incr backup to! /Norparn

    Don't give up....

    Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:16 PM
  • My current install of Windows 7 x64 RTM doesn't seem to want to back up incrementally, meaning that each time I request a backup it does a full backup - essentially doubling the space of the original backup and taking the same ammount of time as the original backup. I would have thought, after the first backup cycle, that subsequent backups would have been very quick and only backed up changed files. I was wondering if anyone has run into this issue. Backups were never an issue in Vista for me, so I was surprised that I have any issues with Windows 7.

    Let me just add that, other than the backup issue, thigs have been quite stable and it seems to be a fine OS (no bashing here).

    Thanks in advance for any input.


    you can see this titurial :  http://help.artaro.eu/index.php/windows-7/backup-and-restore-windows-7/configure-automatic-backup-in-windows-7.html#.T2hcQdW4KuI
    Tuesday, March 20, 2012 10:33 AM
  • Still not working? Mine always does full backup.
    Thursday, May 17, 2012 2:16 PM
  • My Windows 7 system also performs only Full backups. It takes more than 24 hours to run daily backups. I have over a terabyte of images that I really don't need to backup every day. They are NOT in the public folder. I really need an incremental backup. Please fix this!


    Michael J. O'Connell

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:34 AM
  • I've not been experiencing the problem concerning full backups for some time. The only problem I've gotten is that the backup disk became full as the program tried to continue the incremental backups.

    I am now trying the process once more (daily schedule, the first backup is full, subsequent ones incremental) and counting the number of days before the backup disk becomes full. From there, I am thinking of enabling automatic full backup, set the time period in days to a number lower than the number of days it took to fill up the backup disk, and then try once more.

    Do I assume that if the number of days for the time period is reached, the system will do an automatic full backup, and by doing so erase the previous full backup and incremental backups?

    Finally, how does OlderFilesSizePercentage work?

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:26 PM
  • Boy, it's been a long time, and a long thread! My thanks to all who have contributed to the discussion of Windows 7 backup and its shortcomings. Personally, I stopped using the native Windows 7 backup in x64 once it became clear that the root poblem was systemic and would never really be fixed. It was never an option to shut off services that facilitate my use of the PC in conjunction with my 2 XBox's,  so I had to fall back to a (somewhat crappy) Western Digital smartware solution for the last couple of years. It was not the best solution, but it served its purpose.

    Now, if I had to give advice to those who still search for a resolution of this issue it would be to switch to Windows 8 when it comes out (or even the current preview). I've been using its backup feature in my dual-boot with win7 and it works just fine. It's very light weight and simple to use. The backup is based on the volume shadow copy service and it seems MS has thought through the use cases with this one. The backup feature is called "File History" and is disabled by default. In previous versions of windows, Volume Shadow Copy was on by default, but used the same volume as the boot drive for storage. In Windows 8 you specify a non local path for storage. For those interested I suggest Paul Thurrott's articles on the subject, as he usually boils features down to an understandable level. I've included links to his articles below (thanks for the info Paul).

    Windows 8 Feature Focus: File History

    Windows 8 Tip: Enable File History

    Best of luck to everyone and thank you again.

    Regards, Jim

    • Marked as answer by LongSyntax Tuesday, July 31, 2012 1:22 PM
    Tuesday, July 31, 2012 1:22 PM
  • How are people requesting the second backup?  Are they doing it from the backup and restore window?  I think your only choice is a full backup because that's what the button says.  You need to set a schedule for backups so they're automatic.  And why wouldn't you?  There is an option in the backup window to do this.  Then you're not making a manual backup request. Then the Windows Help story makes more sense.

    I had been using an online backup service which was a royal pain in the ass after my hard drive crashed.  CrashPlan but more like Crash and Burn.  Now I've started  Win 7 to back up to my NAS drive with nightly backups.  Should see some results shortly.

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013 4:53 AM
  • POSSIBLE WORK-AROUND FOR THIS PROBLEM:

    I was consistently getting an full backup when it should have been incremental.  Then, out of desperation, I tried something that was easy to do. 

    Before starting the backup, I went to the Windows Backup and Restore page, and in the middle of the page where it says "Change settings," I clicked on that and walked through all the settings without changing them, by just clicking NEXT three times, then SAVE SETTINGS AND EXIT.

    When I ran the backup, it did an incremental rather than a full, for the first time in several tries.

    I waited a week and a half, and tried it again last night.  Same thing, I got an incremental backup.

    Could someone else try this and see if it works for them  (or not) and report back here?  It is an easy work around for the problem if it consistently fixes it. 

    Terry

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015 10:46 AM
  • I'd be curious if anyone is still interested in this. I know I finally gave up and purchased Acronis True Image, which gives you options for Full, differential and incremental, and nice scheduling options.

    Much as I hate paying retail for software, I just couldn't find anything with an enterprise level feature set free or open source.

    Monday, June 1, 2015 5:49 PM
  • POSSIBLE WORK-AROUND FOR THIS PROBLEM:

    I was consistently getting an full backup when it should have been incremental.  Then, out of desperation, I tried something that was easy to do. 

    Before starting the backup, I went to the Windows Backup and Restore page, and in the middle of the page where it says "Change settings," I clicked on that and walked through all the settings without changing them, by just clicking NEXT three times, then SAVE SETTINGS AND EXIT.

    When I ran the backup, it did an incremental rather than a full, for the first time in several tries.

    I waited a week and a half, and tried it again last night.  Same thing, I got an incremental backup.

    Could someone else try this and see if it works for them  (or not) and report back here?  It is an easy work around for the problem if it consistently fixes it. 

    Terry

    After several weeks of this being successful, I ran what should have been an incremental backup last night, and it did a full backup.  The only difference was that I had waited more than a week since the last incremental (was traveling).  So while this technique might reduce the incidence of full backups when an incremental was intended, as a work-around, it doesn't always work.

    Terry

    Monday, July 20, 2015 12:56 PM
  • I'd be curious if anyone is still interested in this. I know I finally gave up and purchased Acronis True Image, which gives you options for Full, differential and incremental, and nice scheduling options.

    Much as I hate paying retail for software, I just couldn't find anything with an enterprise level feature set free or open source.

    I think it is obvious that there are lots of people still interested in this because lots of people have the problem.  I also think it is silly for Microsoft to be proposing that people set keys in the registry to make its backup software work properly.  They should devote less time offering workarounds and more time fixing the product. 

    When the software says it will do an incremental backup instead of a full backup, and it doesn't do that, users should not have to be taking special actions to make that happen. 

    Either fix the product, or at least describe the way the product really works (that is, poorly), and then users can make an informed choice about whether they want to buy a commercial product that really works. 

    Terry

    Monday, July 20, 2015 1:06 PM
  • Yeah the Windows 7 Backup onto external USB disk drive storage is a full backup each and every time.

    It takes bloody ages to do a full backup and fills up my external backup drive very quickly and is totally useless and impractical other than for one-off backups.

    Microsoft provides you with a "manage storage" link where you can delete the massive backup jobs but then it takes around 5 minutes to delete each of the giant backup file sets.

    I have gone back to using the robocopy command line utility to make a simple batch file that is run by Task Scheduler to make a simple file-by-file ongoing incremental backups of new and changed files based on the good old MS-DOS archive bit status.

    robocopy C:\ X:\ /s /b /m

    The /s means include subdirectories

    the /B means run in backup mode, ignoring permissions - you need to set Task Scheduler to run the job using administrator account.

    and of course the /m means copy files that have the archive bit set (new and changed files) and remove the archive bit so it's not flagged for backup on the next job.

    The other advantage to using robocopy is that your backup drive contains a immediately fully usable copy of your files that you can immediately use by plugging into another computer (Windows/Mac/Linux) whereas Windows Backup creates a set of proprietary backup file sets that can only be un-archived on another Windows 7 computer.

    I also enable C: drive Volume Shadow Copies (also known as "Previous Versions") which is disabled by default on the C: drive in Windows 7.


    anthony maw/vancouver/canada


    • Edited by Anthony Maw Wednesday, July 22, 2015 9:43 PM
    Wednesday, July 22, 2015 9:01 PM