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File Vs. Image Level Backups: What’s the Difference and Are You Using the Right One?

Nov 17, 2017

Backup, backup, backup.

Not only is it important enough to repeat but it is important to understand.

Are you backing your files up the right way and on the right level?

There are two backup levels: file and image. It may sound like one backs up documents while the other backs up pictures, but the difference is far more important than that.

What are File Level and Image Level Backup?

File Level Backup: Simply, a file level backs up each individual file on your computer, but it doesn’t backup the programs that you created the files in. This level of backup will let you restore an individual file but will leave you high and dry if you need to do a full operating system restore. By installing a guest operating system, you could, in theory, use file level backup for a full restore but it would be far more time consuming and tedious.  

Image Level Backup: Here’s your Cadillac of backup options (between these two anyways).  An image level backs up everything from individual files to whole operating system configurations along with executable programs. You’ll be able to restore an entire disk, directory or an individual file from this type of backup with relative ease.

Which Backup Should You Be Using? Hint: It’s NOT File Level

While there are specific reasons to use each type of backup, for our purposes, we need our clients to use image level backup. If something goes wrong, an image level gives you a lot more options for fixing and restoring than a file level does. Image level will save and restore the configurations, critical data and more that you need to do business on a daily basis and help you get up and running again quickly.

Proper backup is so important, we encourage all our clients to contact us with any questions they may have about their backup and restore options.

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