SyncToy for simple file-based backups or synchronization

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by tuttle, Jul 9, 2008.

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  1. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Where system and data protection are concerned, I'm a belt-and-suspenders guy. I like to have multiple levels of redundancy. My primary backup method is full disk images with ATI 11, but I also wanted a file-based backup method to save user files in their original format. I just installed Microsoft SyncToy v2.0 Beta into Vista, and I'm really impressed with it.

    SyncToy v2.0 can be set to do simple backups from HD to external drive or to networked devices, which is called "echo", or it can synchronize both data sets, or always just add to the external set. It has many configurable options. With command line parameters, it can be set to run silently and can therefore be run as a scheduled task or, in my case, via a shortcut. It can also be used to synchronize data on multiple PCs across a network.

    I have it set that when I launch a shortcut, SyncToy checks for changes to the original data set and then makes those same changes to the external backup. Changes include additions, deletions, relocations, renames, etc. Because it writes only the changes, its operation is fast. It's compatible with Vista and XP.

    While v2.0 is, according to its developers, quite stable and its beta status has more to do with the unreleased status of a framework, if you prefer to use only stable releases you can get SyncToy 1.4. 1.4 has less functionality though.
    SyncToy v2.0 is an excellent tool, and its interface is clean and organized. It's amazing that MS would just give it away for free. I recommend it if you're seeking a nice free file-based backup or synch tool as an adjuct to your ATI images.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    tuttle:

    Agreed!

    I have been using SyncToy for a couple of years now, and 2.0 since its release to do an N-way sync between my laptop, desktop, home PC and a network shared folder in order to keep work folders synchronized across machines. The share is at work on the network and the work PC has a Vista scheduled task that wakes the machine after-hours and updates everything automatically. I can change a file in one place and the change automatically propagates to all places. The process has been 100% reliable and I've never lost any data despite having everything on "autopilot" and never thinking about it.
     
  3. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Thanks for the input Mark. Great minds think alike. ;)
     
  4. Earthling

    Earthling Registered Member

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    I'm a fan too. Always used SyncBack in the past, but SyncToy is a superior tool.
     
  5. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    That's good to hear ... I'll grab it before MS starts to charge for it. :D
     
  6. laserfan

    laserfan Registered Member

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    I really like BounceBack Express (v6.1) that one gets with Seagate drives (I have numerous drives thus numerous versions and 6.1 I like best) but one issue I have with it is that it uses the files' Archive bits to decide whether to back-up. Thus I can only backup incrementally to one location (e.g. my network, or a backup drive, but not both).

    1. Does SyncToy use the Archive bit, or does it use its own data i.e. the database it creates?

    2. SyncToy is a mere 1Mb download--does that include the SQLo_O

     
  7. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    It uses the parameters that you enter: e.g. specific folders, file exclusions, exclude or include system files, etc.

    It includes everything it needs. Re. SQL, here's what a SyncToy developer said:
     
  8. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    laserfan:

    SyncToy uses its own database; not the archive bit. I believe it examines the file properties - size, modification date and time, etc. I know that on v1.4 it got confused once during the change from Standard Time to DST but I haven't seen that happen with v2.0

    To give you an idea of its speed, I just checked the SyncToy log and it averages 1000 files per second when checking the two folders that are being synchronized and determining a list of actions. For what I use it for, a check can be completed in about a second.

    After expansion, the SyncToy folder on my machine is 1.68 MB and the SQL Server Compact folder is 1.74 MB. I don't recall if the installer initiated a separate download of SQL Server Compact Edition, but the whole install process completed pretty quickly.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  9. laserfan

    laserfan Registered Member

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    Thanks Mark, I'll give it a try!
     
  10. CAOgdin

    CAOgdin Registered Member

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    GoodSync (http://www.goodsync.com/) is where I ended up after looking for a good and flexible solution. While its not free, it's not expensive, and it's a lot more powerful than SyncToy.
     
  11. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Most people here are already using Acronis True Image, so that serves as their primary backup/disaster tool. A file-based backup or sync tool thus doesn't need to do everything, as for most of us it will be a secondary tool. I recommended SyncToy in that context.

    Having said that, I had a quick look at GoodSync's feature set. Based on that, it doesn't appear to be "lot more powerful than SyncToy". SyncToy provides much of GoodSync's features, although naturally some functions may be handled in a different manner as it is a different application.
     
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