Syncing and backing up files are often used as interchangeable solutions for protecting data, but there are some differences between them. If you want to get details, you can continue to read this post from MiniTool.

What Is Backup

Backup means manually or automatically copying files from one location to another, usually from one physical drive to another, but can also be copied to an online location. Backup is useful to prevent accidental or malicious deletion, damage, hardware failure, ransomware attacks, and other types of data loss.

What Is Sync

Sync refers to synchronize. Sync is the process of copying files and folders from one device to two or more destinations. Sync lets you copy or delete files as needed to ensure that two locations have the same exact file or version of the files. It can keep your data up-to-date.

Backup vs Sync

After getting basic information about backup and sync. Now, we will introduce information about backup vs sync.

Backup vs Sync: Advantages & Disadvantages

The first aspect of backup vs sync is the advantage and disadvantage.

A backup can keep a copy of the data at the destination in case it is deleted or corrupted at the source. However, if you perform a synchronization, files deleted in the source are also deleted in the destination.

Backups are useful for users who want to store a lot of videos. Syncing is typically available for public cloud-based services with storage limitations. To save space, most people choose to store their videos locally and then back them up for safety.

The benefit of using sync instead of backup is that fewer files need to be copied each time you run a sync process. No need to unnecessarily copy unchanged files. This can greatly reduce the total time needed to sync instead of backup.

Backup is a one-way process, while sync is a two-way copying process. That is to say, you can view the sync files on any device directly, however, if you want to view the backed-up files you need to restore them. Since the sync data can then be accessed remotely by anyone from a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, some users care about its security and privacy. 


The second aspect of backup vs sync is the type.


There are 3 types of backup – full backup, incremental backup, and differential backup.

1. Full Backup

The full backup is a basic and complete backup operation that copies all your data to another set of media, such as disk, tape, or CD. Therefore, a complete copy of all data can be used in a single media set. It takes longer to execute and requires a lot of storage space, so it is usually used in combination with differential or incremental backups.

2. Incremental Backup

Incremental backup only copies the data that has changed since the last backup operation. The backup application will record and track the time and date of all backup operations. This operation is faster and requires less storage media.

3. Differential Backup

Similar to the incremental type, the differential backup will copy all the changed data in the previous set, but each time it runs, it will continue to copy all the data changed since the last full backup.


1. Fast Sync (Two-way Sync)

Two-way sync, also known as fast sync, is a normal synchronization mode in which the client and server exchange changes to their stored data. The initial slow sync is used to populate the data on the client.

2. Slow Sync

Slow sync is similar to fast sync. The difference is that all items in the client database are compared with all items in the server database on a field-by-field basis. If the client and server data do not match or the client or server loses its information, you can request slow sync.

3. One-way Sync from Client

This is half of the two-way synchronization. In this mode, the client sends changes to its data storage to the server. The server will update its data store appropriately, but will not send changes to its data store to the client.

4. One-way Sync from Server

This is the other half of the two-way sync. In this mode, the server sends changes to its data storage to the client. The client will update its data store appropriately, but will not send changes to its data store to the server.

5. Refresh Sync from Client

In this mode, the client exports all its data to the server. The server is expected to replace all its data with the data sent by the client.

6. Refresh Sync from Server

In this mode, the server exports all its data from the database to the client. The client should replace all its data with the data sent by the server.

Restore Data

When it comes to restoring data, there are differences between sync and share services and backup restores.

For syncing and sharing, in most cases, you can only recover data over the Internet. This means that if you need to access gigabytes of data, the process is not only time-consuming but also not a reliable recovery method, as errors can occur if the internet connection is interrupted or the file transfer fails. However, for backup, it’s easy to restore the deleted data.

Backup VS Recovery: What’s Difference? How to Backup & Recover?
Backup VS Recovery: What’s Difference? How to Backup & Recover?

This post gives a detailed guide on backup vs recovery and how to back up your PC and recover data from multiple situations with MiniTool software.

Read More

Cloud Backup vs Cloud Sync vs Cloud Storage

What is cloud storage? Cloud storage is a virtual drive in a remote location that is not connected to some physical computer or system. The usual way to access this type of storage is to use a special application or a web browser.

Storage services can provide access to files and folders, such as local network shares or physically connected devices. There are even apps that allow attaching a cloud storage account to a computer and accessing it as a local drive.

What is cloud backup? If an application automatically sends a copy of data to cloud storage using a set of rules and policies, it is called cloud backup. Applications and data stores can represent separate parts or a single complete solution.

What is cloud sync? Cloud sync keeps the same set of files and folders on client devices and cloud storage. One-way synchronization uploads files to the cloud after modification and users can download them manually. With two-way synchronization, the cloud is intermediate storage. After uploading changed files, all clients will automatically download them.

The main difference between synchronization, backup, and storage is purpose.

Cloud backup keeps a copy of data on remote storage to protect it from unexpected events, while cloud storage is designed to access data from anywhere. Cloud Sync allows multiple users to work on data remotely using any number of devices and synchronize changes across all relevant users.

Meanwhile, cloud sync tools like Google Drive and Dropbox combine storage and sync capabilities, providing data storage, unlimited access, and collaboration in a single service.

Also see: Google Drive VS Dropbox: Which Is Your Best File Storage Choice

It is recommended that you combine backup or sync to the cloud and local to fully protect your data. Then, we will introduce how to back up data on local and back up data to the cloud.

How to Back up Data on Local

To back up data on local, you can try MiniTool ShadowMaker. It is an excellent computer backup software, which is compatible with Windows 11, 10, 10, 8, 8.1, and 7. With it, you can back up files, folders, disks, partitions, and systems to an image file within a few clicks. 

Now, download MiniTool ShadowMaker Trial Edition and install it on your computer to start a backup for data.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1: Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker and click Keep Trial.

Step 2: Navigate to the Backup page. You may find this backup software backs up the Windows operating system by default. To avoid data from being lost or deleted, we recommend backing up your important files. Click Source and choose Folders and Files. Then, check all the items that you want to back up and click OK.

choose Folders and Files

Step 3: There are four destination paths for you – Administrator, Libraries, Computer, and Shared. Here, you can choose one destination like the SD card, USB, NAS to store your files and click OK.

choose the destination

Step 4: When going back to the main interface, click the Back up Now button to execute a full backup.

click Backup Now

Besides, you had better make a scheduled plan for the backup. Thankfully, MiniTool ShadowMaker allows you to back up your computer daily, weekly, monthly, or on event. Just click the Schedule button before clicking Back up Now. Then, set the schedule and MiniTool ShadowMaker will start automatically backing up your data at a specific time.

the backup schedule

Minitool ShadoaMaker also allows you to create various backups, including full backups, incremental backups, and differential backups. If you want to do that, refer to this post – full backup, incremental backup, and differential backup. You can go to Scheme to set.

the backup scheme

How to Sync Data on Local

As for file sync data on local, MiniTool ShadowMaker can also satisfy your demands.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1: After launching MiniTool ShadowMaker, go to the Sync page.

Step 2: Click the Source and Destination module to choose the files that you want to sync and the storage path.

Step 3: Click the Sync Now button to immediately perform the sync process. You need to notice that the sync feature of MiniTool ShadowMkaer is the one-way process

click Sync Bow

Also see: 5 Useful Solutions to Sync Files Among Multiple Computers

How to Back up/Sync Data to Cloud

How to back up or sync data to cloud? There are many cloud services and you can choose one based on your needs. Here we take Backup and Sync as an example.

Google Backup and Sync is an application for Mac and PC that can safely back up files and photos in Google Drive and Google Photos. You can use it to upload and store files from any folder on the computer, camera, and SD card in the cloud.

Here is how to sync files to Google Drive with Backup and Sync.

Step 1: Download and install Backup and Sync on your PC. After launching it, click GET STARTED.

Step 2: Enter your Google account and click Next. In the next interface, enter the password and click Next.

Step 3: This program selects DesktopDocumentsPictures by default. You can click CHOOSE FOLDERS to choose files that you want to sync to Google Drive. Then, click NEXT.

click Next

Step 4: You can choose Sync everything in My Drive or Sync these folders only. Then, click START to start the sync process.

Tip: Google Drive only provides 15GB of storage for you. If you want more storage, you can consider upgrading to the advanced package.

Bottom Line

That’s the end. From this post, you know much information about backup vs sync. Besides, you can know how to back up and sync data on local and cloud. If you have any suggestions or run into any problems when using MiniTool software, contact [email protected] or leave a comment in the following area. We will reply to you as soon as possible.

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