Any backup strategy starts with a concept of a data repository. The backup data needs to be stored somehow and probably should be organized to a degree. It can be as simple as a sheet of paper with a list of all backup tapes and the dates they were written or a more sophisticated setup with a computerized index, catalog, or relational database. Different repository models have different advantages. This is closely related to choosing a backup rotation scheme.
An unstructured repository may simply be a stack of floppy disks or CD-R/DVD-R media with minimal information about what was backed up and when. This is the easiest to implement, but probably the least likely to achieve a high level of recoverability.
A Full + Incremental repository aims to make storing several copies of the source data more feasible. At first, a full backup (of all files) is taken. After that, any number of incremental backups can be taken. There are many different types of incremental backups, but they all attempt to only backup a small amount of data relative to the full backup. Restoring a whole system to a certain point in time would require locating the full backup taken previous to that time and the incremental backups that cover the period of time between the full backup and the particular point in time to which the system is supposed to be restored. The scope of an incremental backup is typically defined as a range of time relative to other full or incremental backups. Different implementations of backup systems frequently use specialized or conflicting definitions of these terms.
A differential backup copies files that have been created or changed since the last normal or incremental backup. It does not mark files as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared). If you are performing a combination of normal and differential backups, restoring files and folders requires that you have the last normal as well as the last differential backup.
Continuous data protection