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Alternative to Database Maintenance Plan for differential backups

My question is about differential backups. I have no problems creating database maintenance plans for full backups and transaction log backups, but there are none for differential backups. I would like to keep the backups in the same format, like when created from the Database Maintenance Plan. It uses the SQLMAINT utility, and the backup is very organized in regards to the placement of backup files, logs and especially the housekeeping when the backup expires. How can I do this, if DMP doesn't support differential backups? What is the alternative?

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My personal view is the Database Maintenance Plan wizard is an easy way of performing common mainstream administration. Full and transaction log backups are mainstream. Differential backups are important, but the requirement for this type of backup is much less common.

Your options are to create the backup command either manually (BACKUP DATABASE ... WITH DIFFERENTIAL) or through the SQL Server Backup Dialog (right click a database, All Tasks -> Backup Database) and schedule backup command using the SQL Agent. However you are right, you will have to do the file management yourself.

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This was first published in May 2003

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