Synthetic backup is the process of generating a file from a complete copy of a file created at some past time and one or more incremental copies created at later times. The expression "synthetic" in this context refers to the fact that the assembled file is not a direct copy of any single current or previously created file. Instead, a synthetic file is merged or "synthesized" by a specialized application program from the original file and one or more modifications to it.
Data backup is the activity of copying files for preservation in case of hard drive failure or some other adverse event resulting in data loss. Backup is a routine aspect of the operation of businesses with mainframes and servers. In personal computing, backup is also necessary but often neglected. The retrieval of backed-up files after an adverse event is known as a restore operation. The ideal backup application creates a complete copy of a file at regular intervals, along with more frequent incremental copies. In case of catastrophic data loss, the restore application can generate a new file that duplicates a recent complete version of the needed file. Synthetic backup applications are not confined to use with individual files; they can also be used to preserve all the data stored in specified folders or on entire drives.