Full backup is a method of backup where all the files and folders selected for the backup will be backed up. It is commonly used as an initial or first backup followed with subsequent incremental or differential backups. After several incremental or differential backups, it is common to start over with a fresh full backup again.
Some also like to do full backups for all backup runs typically for smaller folders or projects that do not occupy too much storage space.
Example of a Full Backup
You setup a full backup job or task to be done every night from Monday to Friday. Assume you do your initial backup on Monday, this first backup will contain your entire list of files and folders in your backup job. On Tuesday, at the next backup run, the entire list of files and folders will be copied again. On Wednesday, the entire list of files and folders will be copied again and the cycle continues like this. At each backup run, all files designated in the backup job will be backed up again. This includes files and folders that have not changed.
- Restores are fast and easy to manage as the entire list of files and folders are in one backup set.
- Easy to maintain and restore different versions.
- Backups can take very long as each file is backed up again every time the full backup is run.
- Consumes the most storage space compared to incremental and differential backups. The exact same files are be stored repeatedly resulting in inefficient use of storage.