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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  • A problem I have just discivered is that SyncToy backs up new sub folders of directories you have chosen not to copy.

    E.g. I had set up Synch Toy to copy stuff from My Documents to a second hard disk as a scheduled task.  The second disk is an older one I have just installed and is only 14 Gb but useful for document backup.  I set SynchToy to NOT copy the My Music sub folder since the files in here would have filled the second disk.  This worked fine until I ripped a new CD there by creating a new sub folder under My Music.  This new sub folder was copied over to the second disk even though the parent My Music was flagged as not to be copied.

    I don't really want to tweak the settings of SynchToy every time I add some music.  ANy body know a way round this?
  • UGH, how did the guy above manage to get it to run as a scheduled task without being logged in?  ANYONE?????
  • My scheduled task of Sync Toy only runs when I am logged in.  I have not tried to create a task that runs when I am not logged in.

    Sorry for the confusion. :-$
  • I have the same problem as Spooks earlier post - the Synctoy folder opens after every reboot.  Has anyone got a solution for this?
  • I'm happy with SyncToy but, as usual, there's something missing. The fact that it doesn't delete folders on the RHS is a serions shortcoming. How can it be called a SYNC? if it doesn't smart delete. I have never been able to understand why microsoft's "ActiveSync" (For PDA's) isn't expanded to allow for PC-PC as well as PC-PDA sync'ing.  Now that would be REALLY handy.
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  • Would be nice if it was recompiled under the dotnet 2.0 environment. it only works with 1.1
  • Is possible change the SyncToyDirPairs to diferent path. I would like to keep this configuration in my network drive. I think the directory C:\MyDocuments my users may clear this file ???
    Thanks a lot.
  • before installing synctoy and nswering "yes"to installing framework, a version of framework is installed after which Synctoy again requires the installation of framework.
    Fortunately there is Google to find the above answer to this problem here. MS knowledgebase did not help me. Anyway reading about more problems with synctoy I think it is not wise to use it.
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  • Each time I run Syntoy, I get a dialog that says "Syctoy is unable to determine if other instances of SyncToy are running, possibly because perfmon counters are turned off for some components. Is this the only instance of SyncToy currently running?" Yes  No.

    Very annoying.
  • I like it, its nice and pretty and seems easy to use.

    I'd like to offer 2 items of feedback that I thought the tool lacked. I personally think these are quite major points, otherwise its great.

    1. I cannot exclude files. eg, if i want to sync a pictures directory, I do not want it to copy thumbs.db for example.

    2. I would greatly prefer it to exclude subdirectories of subdirectories I uncheck in the options dialog. The poster who complained about it syncing subdirs of My Music when new directories are added is right -it should be made to remember the root directory and exclude it and all its subdirs, unless a subdir is explicitly included. The GUI tree needs to be able to do this - uncheck a directory and all its subdirs get unchecked automatically.
  • I love it too...
    The only issue I had using it was while Syncing my PC to a flashdrive. One of the files was bigger than the free space available on flashdrive and it would not replace the old file. The total space available (old file + free space) was more than the new file replacing it.
    Please let me know if there is someway of fixing this issue.
  • Nice tool, but not so keen on the way it's been implemented. Firstly, it creates a useless (to the user) folder called SyncToyData in "My Documents". Bad style. It should have been a subdirectory of %APPDATA%\Microsoft.

    Secondly, it creates a hidden (unless, like me, you've set up Explorer to show hidden files) file called SyncToyDirectoryId.txt in each folder of a folder pair. Why on earth does it have to do that? That is intrusive, offensive behaviour and a total show-stopper for me! It was hoping to use it to synchronize my Favorites folder on my desktop at work with my laptop, then take the laptop home and syncronize my laptop's Favorites folder with my home desktop. I cannot do that, because the desktop and the laptop both have SyncToy installed and they both want to write different numbers in their copies of SyncToyDirectoryId.txt of my laptop's Favorites folder. What a pity, it could have been a very useful tool if only it had kept its own private data-keeping private.
  • I have the same problem as Spooks and DavidB earlier post - the Synctoy folder opens after every reboot.  Has anyone got a solution for this?
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