SyncToy for Windows XP

SyncToy for Windows XP

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If you're like me, you probably have thousands of digital photos and documents that you want to backup or copy to external media. In my case, I copy everything to an external 160GB XIMETA NetDisk for safe keeping. I have used the free version of Allway Sync in the past, and I've had very good results. However, we recently released a handy tool for Windows XP called SyncToy, and based on my few days of experience, it appears to do everything I need. Here are a few of its features:

  • Provides easy and flexible copying, moving, and synchronization of files in different directories
  • Manages multiple sets of directories at the same time
  • Can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another
  • Keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder

Configuring SyncToy is as easy as setting up one or more folder pairs and corresponding actions for each pair. For example, I might setup one pair to synchronize changes between two folders (which works both ways) and setup another pair to simply echo changes from one folder to another (echo is the action I use for backup purposes). If you want to get more specific, there are additional options that can be configured.

If you'd like to know what operations SyncToy would perform on your folder pairs, you can run the convenient preview feature. The preview feature analyzes the folders, then tells you what it would do if it ran, but—most importantly—it doesn't actually make any of the changes. This is a great way to get comfortable with the tool before letting it loose on your precious files. And if you want to automatically process your folder pairs, there's even a topic in the help file (lookup Schedule in the index) that explains how to schedule SyncToy to run on a periodic basis.

Download SyncToy v1 Beta for Windows XP or to learn more, grab the whitepaper titled: Synchronizing Images and Files in Windows XP Using Microsoft SyncToy.

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  • its nice but it should support the ability to specify hidden network shares because the browse for folder doesnt show them
  • I ran into the same issue, xml. To work around it, I created a new "Network Place" to "My Network Places." This allowed me to access the hidden folder from within SyncToy. Not ideal, but it works.
  • I saw syncToy but continued with Allway Sync, main due to the autoSyncing.

    Checkout my review of Allway sync at:
    http://mollyzine-podcasting.blogspot.com/2005/08/allway-sync-perfect-sync-tool-for.html

    TIA
    Molly
  • If you have wanted to synchronise two folders between machines before but, didn't want to buy a solution...
  • I can't even get the damn thing to work in Windows XP! I tried installing it twice and when I run the app it never shows its UI. However it is definitely running and eating up over 20000K I might add.
  • This is a GREAT tool. I'm so glad this was released. I've been looking for something exactly like this as I have both my tablet and my regular laptop and really wanted my documents sync'd!
  • I agree it´s a GREAT tool. I have used it many times over the past week and at a lot of different sites. But it also has it´s glitches, for example the program won´t run in the schedule mode if it´s runned as a different user than the one who is actualy logged on, but hey it´s free...
  • Yes, It's very handy, but it would be great if it could run in the background when I'm not logged in e.g. scheduled jobs.
  • A good tool, not great. I would like to see the features of Robocopy integrated into this GUI based tool. A CLI would also be nice for automating tasks with scripting.
  • Since installation on both of my machines, they open the C:\Program Files\Microsoft folder that contains SyncToy folder after every restart - anyone else seen that?

    Spooks
  • Hey Nate,
    On the Scheduled Jobs, You definitely need to check out Allway Sync (my review here:
    http://mollyzine-podcasting.blogspot.com/2005/08/allway-sync-perfect-sync-tool-for.html)
    Has multiple options.
    Molly
  • How does one use Sync up short cuts? For example, I want to create a Sync folder on my C: drive called Sync Home. To this folder, I copy shortcuts of the actual folders I want to sync up with (that way I can easily remove these shortcuts when I am no longer working on particular projects). However, on my USB drive, I want SyncToy to figure out that a shortcut availabe on my PC may not be available at the destination, so I want it to actually go into that shortcut and copy all files, perhaps allowing me to configure the "depth" of shortcuts it should follow.
  • I thought this was a pretty cool util until I found that it doesn't delete empty subfolders. For example: I have \Pics1, \Pics2 & \Pics3. I decide I want to move them under a folder called \PICS so I end up with \PICS\Pics1, \PICS\Pics2 & \PICS\Pics3. After a sync, the destination drive will have the \PICS\PicsX folders with all my files but the original \PicsX folders will remain, albeit empty. Maybe I'm missing something but that's a big booboo.
  • Oh by the way, Nate, I've successfully scheduled SyncToy to run via XP's Scheduled Tasks while I'm not logged on. That seems to work fine. My *only* gripe is the actualy folder structure synchronization. Good luck.
  • Why dont you just use the latest version of Robocopy?? I've found it to be the lightest and quickest of all the sync and file tools available.
    If you create a simple bat file with all the switches you can easily use it in a schedule.
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