VSS Full Backup VS VSS copy backup. RRS feed

  • Question




    My question really is where can I find a clearer explanation regarding the difference between Full Backup and Copy Backup. Since I'm not that familiar with backup, the explanation that one retains the application log files and the other clears the application log files makes me to miss the whole meaning of this.


    I understand Copy Backup is to be used if you have another backup product. Since it retains the log files, that means that the other backup utility basically doesn't even know another backup took place? or am I understanding this all wrong.


    thank you.

    Wednesday, March 5, 2008 3:21 PM


All replies

  • Hello,


    When you use some backup product to back up your data (for example, a folder), the archive attribute will be cleared (meaning that this file has been backed up). If you make some changes to the data after you back up this data, the archive attribute will be selected automatically to indicate that the data has been changed since the last save. So, next time the backup utility runs, it will check all the files' archive attributes to see which data has been changed since the last backup.


    You can see this attribute by clicking "Advanced" button on the General tab of the folder' property. It is the "Folder is ready for archiving".


    So, if you have more than one backup product to regularly backup your files and after the initial backup some files have been changed. These changed files' archive attribute will be selected. One backup utility runs and finds that the files have been changed, it will back up these files and then clears the archive attribute. After that, anther backup utility runs, however, it will find that the archive attribute is not selected, so it will see this file as unchanged since the last backup. Conclusively, after a long time, you will find the backup files are not the same within the different backup products.


    The total difference between these two options is, copy backup copies all the files that you select, but does not mark each file as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared).


    So, as the prompt says, choose the VSS copy backup if you are using another backup product to back up applications that are on Volumes included in the current backup.


    Best regards,

    Chang Yin

    Microsoft Online Community Support

    • Unmarked as answer by Tim QuanModerator Wednesday, February 2, 2011 6:04 AM
    • Proposed as answer by wkadmin Tuesday, January 10, 2012 4:41 PM
    Thursday, March 6, 2008 12:58 PM

    Thank you. I already knew the part about the archived bit on a file, just that from reading the description in Windows Server Backup, I couldn't really make sense of it.
    Thursday, March 6, 2008 2:18 PM
  • I agree, it would be much more clear if the text was changed from "application log files" to "archive bits".
    Sunday, March 1, 2009 6:01 AM
  • I agree, it is ambiguously worded ...
    Friday, May 21, 2010 10:29 PM

    It should not be related to archive attributes. It is related to application logs.

    Please refer to the following article:

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011 6:05 AM
  • Thank you for the link, Tim. The key line for me in the blog post was this:

    Therefore, a copy backup cannot be used as a starting point for incremental/differential backups/restores.

    I ended up here because I was trying to get Windows Backup to perform incremental backups. Switching from VSS Copy to VSS Full solved my problem. Since I have no other backup programs running, there is no downside to doing it this way.


    • Edited by Zacharydl Friday, March 29, 2013 6:24 PM
    Friday, March 29, 2013 6:23 PM
  • I still didn't get it.

    for the last 20 years every OS and every Product offered following backup options:

    FULL BACKUP: backups everything and clears the archive bits



    DIFFERENTIAL BACKUP: backups all changes since the last full backup and leaves the archive bits as it was


    INCREMENTAL BACKUP: backups all changes since the last incremental backup and clears the archive bits


    Can i achive the differential backup strategy with VSS COPY Backup and the

    incremental backup strategy with VSS FULL Backup ?

    Monday, February 17, 2014 9:53 AM