Oh well done! That's what I would have done - gone and looked at the Help documentation ... but usually as a last/later resort...
I'm sorry I can't be much help as I don't know much about how AOMEI does its backups, as I have not actually tried that out. I use FreeFileSync for an incremental/differential backup. I don't back up system
files though - that's including the C:\Windows
and C:\Program Files (2 dirs.)
However, I do
- ...\UTIL, which is my preferred alternative program files directory and which holds most of the specialised and non-generic installed programs that I depend on - that is, basically anything that didn't come already installed on the PC (including most games) and which are mostly installed as "portable" wherever possible, so that they are self-contained installations and can be ported elsewhere and run without much setup fuss.
- ...\Archive, which holds the compressed installers and any necessary installation licence keys for all the \UTIL proggies and a few \Program Files proggies (e.g., the MS Office install ISO file) and for any special drivers I have installed in the system (e.g., the multifunction printer).
- All my several working data ("Workdata") folders grouped on the C: drive.
- Nowadays also the C:\User\... directories as they usually have a lot of important stuff - e.g., including OneDrive, Google Drive, and working data files, and stuff that I have learned to my cost one will likely need to configure/support/run/recover some of the the \UTIL proggies and especially some of the "generic" proggies, when migrating to another PC.
Before conducting backups, one needs to have a clear idea about what one needs to back up, and why, and what would be the most appropriate method for one's peculiar needs.
Where you say:
...It took over 7 hrs today to back up my system and then verify the backup, so I'd rather not do a full system backup every time if I don't have to.
- it would seem that you might not have a clear strategy.
In the old days, I never really had a backup strategy either, and used to back up (originally) to floppy disks as a matter of course. It was very tedious and I didn't do it often enough.
Then my backup strategy was learned by accident from a successful and speedy recovery from a fatal failure of a laptop some years ago, when I was working overseas on an urgent project. I learned the advantage of portability of programs and data.
It was the laptop keyboard processor
that had failed, rendering the device unusable. The latest data
that I was working on was intact on the hard drive, but not yet on any backup.
So, within a day I had got a new PC, and, after an IT support guy had helpfully suggested it, the old hard drive became a PHD (Portable Hard Drive) - I bought a PHD enclosure, which was relatively new technology at the time. This was used as my new, key backup/recovery feature.
I now consider a PC as just a temporary resting-place for my nomadic computing requirements and periodically update my backups to a portable hard drive reserved for the purpose, I also rely on some Cloud backup, but have that
backed-up also. I am thus usually able to recover all my data stores from backups, one way or another. (Paranoia rules.)
Things tend to change, and now that Windows 10 offers some more useful backup functionality - especially the apparently really useful backup and restore functionality of File History
- I shall trial it, and maybe, after I have trialled it, it could well end up becoming my new de facto
backup/recovery tool to a PHD...