What is selective backup? What are the differences between it and incremental backup? How to perform the selective backup on Windows/iPhone? If you are looking for the answers to the above questions, this post from MiniTool is what you need.

Backing up data is important in your daily life, but always making a full backup is time-consuming. Some users want to choose the data to back up by themselves. Thus, it’s recommended to perform the selective backup. Today, our topic is the selective backup.

What Is Selective Backup

What is selective backup? Selective backup mainly helps data owners or system administrators to back up a selected set of files or folders. Typically, selective backups are performed when only important files are backed up or when the capacity of the backup storage device is smaller than what is required to hold a full backup. The user manually selects the desired data in the backup software before initiating the backup process.

Selective Backup vs Incremental Backup

There are other backup types – full backup, incremental backup, selective backup, and differential backup. Here, we focus on selective backup vs incremental backup. If you want to learn more details about other types of backup, you can refer to this post - 3 Types of Backup: Full, Incremental, Differential.

Selective backup: In a selective backup, you select specific files and directories to be backed up. This type of backup gives you more control over what's backed up, but at the cost of leaving parts of the hard drive unprotected area.

Selective backups make sense when some files change faster than others, or when backup space is limited, although incremental backups are better and easier in many cases.

Incremental backups: If you perform frequent backups the way you should, you may find yourself backing up the same files over and over, even those that don't change over time. Instead, you might want to consider a mix of full and incremental backups.

Incremental backups are backups that select only files that have changed since the last backup. It is similar to selective backup, but files are selected based on whether they have changed recently, rather than an arbitrary selection based on directory or filename. This provides the time and space-saving benefits of selective backups, while also ensuring that all changed files are overwritten.

Unlike incremental backups, selective backups provide the following features:

  • Does not cause the server to update the date and time of the last increment.
  • Back up directory and file entries, even if their size, modification timestamp, or permissions have not changed.
  • Does not expire deleted files.
  • If you change the management class, the backup version will not be re-bound to the new management class.

Inclusion and Exclusion

Selective Inclusion

Selective inclusion is the most common method of choosing which files to add to the backup queue. This backup method is closest to what humans think when choosing sets. Manual selections are unlikely to include things that businesses don't need in their backups.

Unfortunately, this method is up to the individual to perform and can be time-consuming. Every new virtual machine or physical device added to the system requires IT staff to manually fill out their backup form. This may also take some time if new files are distributed and need to be added to the backup plan

Selective Exclusion

The best way to think about this is like asking the backup server to back up "everything but" what the list says. The rules used by the selective exclusion system can define paths or extensions that an enterprise considers irrelevant to its needs.

These exclusions may add any folders named "Temp" or other temp files that are noticeable because of their *.tmp extension. Selective exclusion is only useful if you already have a system that handles backing up your entire filesystem, which brings us to the next method.

Also see: How to Delete Msdownld.tmp Folder on Windows 10/11 [Full Guide]

Automatic Inclusion

This approach takes into account every file on every machine (both virtual and physical) that is added to the backup plan. If your backup has unlimited storage space and bandwidth, then automatic inclusion would be an ideal solution. This method might even work for companies with only a small amount of data to back up.

However, in most cases, automatic inclusion is just a starting point. As mentioned above, using selective exclusions allows businesses to choose files and extensions that backup systems can safely ignore. Automatic inclusion is a crude solution that is only useful alone in some edge cases.

Tag-Based Inclusion

Labels are useful utilities in any software environment. The same goes for backups, as labels help the system understand which files are considered essential. The shorthand for tags is to predefine them using the pound (#) symbol. So, for example, businesses can tag their relevant databases as #essential, while their test databases get the hashtag #test.

When the backup system picks the backup tag, it picks up anything tagged #essential, ensuring the business never wastes storage space backing up test data.

Included by Default

Some users have data that they want to make sure they're backed up, even if no other rules apply to that data. Include by default is the solution that works best in this case.

If a file or folder is not already included or excluded according to the rules of the backup plan, it is automatically added to the files and folders to be backed up. While this could cause one or more unrelated folders or files to end up being accidentally backed up, this is a calculated risk. Businesses cannot recover data that is not backed up.

How to Perform the Selective Backup on Windows 11/10

How to perform the selective backup on Windows 11/10? It’s recommended to use MiniTool ShadowMaker. You can select the data to back up based on your needs. Besides, it can easily and effectively back up files, folders, disks, partitions, and Windows operating systems. You can also use it to save multiple backups to an external hard drive, internal hard drive, NAS, USB drive, etc.

When it comes to computer data backup and recovery, many users will think about Backup and Restore of Windows 7 or Windows 10/11 File History. Yet, both of them can’t let you set up advanced incremental or differential backup.

MiniTool ShadowMaker can assist you to complete incremental backup, differential backup, as well as a full backup. Let’s see how to operate.

To make use of this powerful program, you need to firstly download and install it on your machine.

Free Download

Step 1: Launch the software and select Keep Trial on the upper right.

Step 2: On its main interface, switch to the Backup tab.

Step 3: Click on the Source rectangle on the left and choose the file(s) you want to back up in the pop-up window.

choose the source

Step 4: Click on the Destination rectangle on the right and select the address where you plan to save the image file in the pop-up window.

Step 5: Then, on the lower left, click the Scheme button to trigger the Backup Scheme window. It is turned off by default. So, you need to turn it on in the bottom left corner first and then set up your backup type there.

click the Scheme button

You can decide how many backup image versions to keep on your backup destination.

Step 6: When all settings are done, just click Back up Now in the lower right and it will redirect you to the Manage tab. There, you can view the status of your backup. Just wait until it finishes.

If you already created a full backup, you can set further full, incremental, or differential backup based on it from the Manage section.

Way 1. Click the inverted triangle beside Back up Now and choose the backup type you prefer.

choose the backup type you prefer

Way 2. Click on the three slashes on the right end of the backup task graphic bar and select Edit Scheme. Then, follow the above Step 5 to finish the settings.

click Edit Scheme

Besides different backup types based on how the backup performs, MiniTool ShadowMaker also supports most backup types classified by data types or data carriages listed at the start of this article. Moreover, MiniTool ShadowMaker enables you to set a schedule to automatically backup your important data daily, weekly, monthly, or even on the event (when you log on or log off the computer).

How to Perform the Selective Backup on iPhone

By default, iCloud backs up all the photos, videos, app data, contacts, reminders, etc. from your iPhone. However, it allows you to selectively disable back up for an app by going into the Settings app of your iPhone. How to perform the selective backup on iPhone?

Follow the steps to learn how to selectively back up data in iCloud.

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on the profile name.

Step 2: Tap iCloud, and here you will see all the apps and data that are currently backing up to iCloud. You can disable the backup process for the irrelevant apps here.

Step 3: To disable Photos backup, go to the Settings app on your iPhone > Profile > iCloud > Photos menu and turn off the iCloud Photos option.

To see the total backup size, open the Settings app on the device. Navigate to Profile > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups > and choose your current device. Here, you will see a detailed breakdown of the iCloud Backup size, last backup, and next backup size. You can also glance over the individual backup size of each app and turn it off.

How to Find Your iPhone Backup Location? | How to Recover It?
How to Find Your iPhone Backup Location? | How to Recover It?

Do you know where iPhone backups stored are? This post shows you the iPhone backup location and some related information.

Read More

Final Words

This post provides information about selective backup. Besides, you can know how to perform the selective backup on Windows 11/10/iPhone. If you have any questions when using MiniTool ShadowMaker to create a backup, don't forget to tell us by leaving a comment or sending an email to [email protected]. Besides, any suggestions are appreciated.

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