How Does a Backup Differ From a Synchronization?

Personal Backup offers multiple means in which to backup your Mac.

Personal Backup optimizes backups by limiting their scope to copying only those files that were created and/or modified in the source since the last backup. This means that backups will not repeatedly copy files that have not changed and already exist in the destination. This will decrease time required to create updated backups, and decrease the amount of storage space required to accommodate for these backup updates.

If you do not already have a backup of your Mac, please visit the article below to learn how to create a backup using Personal Backup:

Creating Your First Backup

Once you have successfully created your first backup, this backup script can be used repeatedly to create updated versions of your original backup. To update an existing backup, simply run a backup using the preexisting script again.

There are 3 types of backups that can be created with Personal Backup:

This article will discuss the differences between an incremental backup and a synchronization, how to update an incremental backup and what a synchronization is.


What is an Incremental Backup?

An Incremental Backup copies specific files and folders, or the contents of entire volumes or hard drives, from one location to another. The location that contains files at the beginning of the process is called the source; the one receiving the copied files is the destination. To keep the backup files safe, the destination files should be stored and never modified, and should be on a different storage device from the source. For example, you might back up files from your MacBook onto an external hard disk that you keep at home: then, if the MacBook gets lost or stolen, you still have copies of your files on the hard disk.


What is a Synchronization?

Synchronization twins a source's contents so both the source and destination are identical. The first time you run a synchronization, Personal Backup may copy many files to ensure that both the source and destination contain the same elements. But after that, only those files that are changed on one side are copied to the other side, and, by default, items removed from one side are deleted from the other. Since you may update some files on, say, your desktop Mac and others on your laptop, a synchronization can keep both of these Macs up to date with the latest versions of each file. Changing file A on your desktop Mac and file B on your laptop means that, when synchronizing the two Macs, file A will be copied to the laptop and file B to the desktop Mac. The result is that the source and destination are always maintained as exact duplicates of each other.


What are the Differences Between a Backup and a Synchronization?

An incremental backup is a one way copying of files from a source to a destination. For example, this process is used to back up files and folders from your Mac to an external storage device. But you are only moving these items in one direction, from source to destination.


The Risk of Synchronization


You should always regularly backup all data prior to running the synchronization, especially before the first synchronization. You should do this with both the source AND the destination, since synchronizations CANNOT be undone, and this two-way process combines the files of the two locations to make them identical.

A synchronization that is not set up properly can result in data loss on both the destination and source devices.

Some examples of things that can pose a risk of data loss would be:
- If the clock of your Macs have incorrect dates and/or times.
- If at least one of the volumes is Windows formatted and/or is a networked volume.
- If one of both disks are faulty and generate disk errors.

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