SyncToy 2.0 - Frequently Asked Questions RRS feed

  • General discussion


    Q. I want to view information about my previous syncs.


    A. Go to SyncToy 2.0 main menu and view "File->View Log". The log will contain summary information about the number of files that were synchronized and the different actions taken.  It will also contain information about any errors that have happened during the sync. By default SyncToy logs information at a level of “Info”. In order to get more detailed information for troubleshooting certain scenarios this logging level can be changed to “Verbose”. To change this – look at the SyncToy.config file in the SyncToy install folder and change the trace level from “Info” to “Verbose”.


    Q. On the first sync after upgrade from SyncToy 1.4 or 2.0 Beta, where one endpoint is on a FAT16/FAT32 drive (e.g. memory stick or USB key), SyncToy 2.0 wants to re-synchronize all files because the file times look different. What can I do about it?


    A.  The issue arises from the fact that SyncToy 2.0 has to re-create the folder pair metadata after the upgrade and FAT reports file times in local time and NTFS reports UTC times. There are a couple of *one-time* workarounds to fix this issue:


    1) Go ahead and let the folder pair re-synchronize all files (i.e. hit Run on the Preview window and let it complete). This should be ok since you should have done a successful sync before upgrade. This “long” sync will only be required once after the upgrade, since SyncToy will ensure during this sync that the timestamp metadata is reconciled on both sides. After this you’ll start seeing normal SyncToy behavior for these folder pairs.

    2) Temporarily change options on your folder pair to “Check file contents” and Run the folder pair. This will only copy the files where the content is actually different – but it will take more time to analyze the files since it will have to compare the file contents. Once this sync is done, you can uncheck the option and continue normal operation.


    Q. SyncToy 2.0 seems to run really slow sometimes when deleting files. Can I make it go faster?


    A. We have noticed that when a folder pair is marked with the option of Save Overwritten files in Recycle Bin, and the user’s Recycle Bin contains a large number of items (thousands), SyncToy may experience slower performance when trying to move deleted or overwritten files to the Recycle Bin. The workaround is for the user to empty their Recycle Bin and re-try the sync operation.


    Q. I did an upgrade from SyncToy 1.4 or SyncToy 2.0 Beta to SyncToy 2.0 RTM and SyncToy appears to be running slower after the upgrade. Will it improve?


    A.  Yes, the first sync after upgrade is special and supposed to be somewhat slower. After an upgrade, SyncToy needs to completely rebuild its metadata databases on both sides. The slowness may be more apparent for folder pairs which are synchronizing a large number of files. If you let the folder pair run multiple times after upgrade, performance will improve and get better as the metadata databases get a chance to finish rebuilding their indexes.


    Q. I did an upgrade from SyncToy 1.4 or SyncToy 2.0 Beta to SyncToy 2.0 RTM and I’m seeing changes in Preview that I didn’t expect to see. What can I do to prevent any inadvertent loss of data?


    A.  It is possible that the new SyncToy is picking up changes that the previous version missed due to bugs that have been fixed in the latest version. However, it is also possible that the user did not run all folder pairs to completion before doing the upgrade. SyncToy provides an explicit warning during setup for the user to ensure that all folder pairs have been fully synchronized before attempting the upgrade from the 1.4 or 2.0 Beta version. Not doing this can result in some invalid operations being attempted during the first sync after upgrade. The only workaround is to manually copy the offending files and match them up on the left and the right sides such that SyncToy cannot detect the invalid operations for those files any longer.


    Q. SyncToy 2.0 appears not to sync deleted files when I have the sync option set to 'Echo'


    A. This can happen if the files are updated on the right. This includes if the file was touched by an anti-virus program, music player, etc. To confirm that this is indeed the case - change the sync option to "Synchronize" and do a "Preview" sync. Do NOT hit run because this will sync changes from the right to the left. If on a preview you see updates from the right to the left folder, this means it was changed on the right. The only workaround in this case would be to manually delete the file on the right. And do not forget to change your sync option back to "Echo".


    Q. My folder pair on Vista has stopped working suddenly with an error that says "Exception during run: SyncToy cannot access its internal metadata file in one of the folders being synchronized."


    A. We have found that changing your UAC (User Account Control) option after a folder pair has been created causes problems. UAC is a new security feature in Windows Vista which allows users to control which tasks can be performed as normal users and administrators. In order to resolve this issue, either revert back to original UAC setting or delete and recreate folder pair under the new UAC setting.


    Q. After SyncToy 2.0 runs, I see rogue .1, .2, etc files appear in my folders. What should I do?


     A. These files appear when SyncToy detects that there are files on either side that look the same but in fact are not the same. Sometimes SyncToy is unable to detect which one to choose, so we rename the files as .1, .2, etc. You need to open the files and determine which file is the correct one you expect to see and rename/delete appropriately. So far, we have found these situations in which this happens:


    - You renamed file A.txt to B.txt on the left and also created a new file named B.txt on the right.

    - You moved the same file on both sides to the same relative location on both sides. E.g, move Foo\A.txt to Foo\Bar\A.txt on the left and do the same on the right.


    In all of the above cases, SyncToy is unable to identify user intent for sure and hence takes the safer option of keeping both files.


    Q. I had setup folder pairs to synchronize files with my Windows Home Server (WHS) machine. After the first few syncs I start getting an error that says "Exception during run: SyncToy cannot access its internal metadata file in one of the folders being synchronized."


    A. There was a file corruption bug in the original release of Windows Home Server (see, which caused this issue. The bug has since been fixed with the Windows Home Server Power Pack 1 release.  Please install Power Pack1 and delete and re-create your folder pairs going to the Home Server machine, for resolving this issue.


    Q. I installed the 64-bit version of SyncToy 2.0, but it did not overwrite or uninstall my previously install 32-bit SyncToy 2.0 Beta software. Is my installation in a good state?


    A. The 64-bit installation should be in a good state. Even though, the 64-bit installation does not upgrade or uninstall a previous 32-bit 2.0 Beta installation, it will automatically upgrade and take ownership of previously defined folder pairs the first time you run the 64-bit SyncToy. From this point on, you will not be able to run these folder pairs using the 2.0 Beta binaries. Please manually uninstall the previous 32-bit Beta version using Add/Remove Programs Control Panel on Windows XP or Programs and Features Control Panel on Windows Vista.  Also note that running side-by-side installations of 32-bit and 64-bit SyncToy 2.0 RTM versions is not recommended or supported.


    Q. Sometimes when I run a folder pair, I get an error message saying "Analyzing the files has failed due to an intermittent failure. Please retry the sync." Why does it do that?


    A.  This error usually means that another application or service on the machine was moving / renaming / deleting sub-folders under the synchronized root folder(s) while SyncToy was in the midst of analyzing the folders for changes. In this case, SyncToy falls back to the safer option of cancelling the synchronization and having the user try the sync again, rather than potentially detecting invalid changes.


    Q. I have selected the option to move files to the Recycle Bin on delete and overwrite for my folder pair but I see cases where that is not happening. Is this expected?


    A. Moving files to the Recycle Bin when synchronizing a delete or update change is only supported for local volumes (local hard disks) which support the Recycle Bin. If the destination folder is on a network share or a volume for which Windows does not provide Recycle Bin support, SyncToy will not be able to move files to the Recycle Bin from that destination folder. The best way to understand whether files will be moved to the Recycle Bin for a particular synchronized folder is to try deleting a test file from that folder using Windows Explorer and see if that file ends up in the Recycle Bin. If it does, SyncToy should be able to perform the move Recycle Bin as well for that folder.


    Q. I have noticed that sometimes SyncToy does not pick up changes to my photos which I had edited using "some popular" photo editing and management software?


    A. Several popular photo-editing suites do NOT modify the file time or file size when making certain changes to pictures such as when the user adds or edits tags, description, title, etc on the picture. This is especially true of file formats such as JPEG which use the EXIF header structure. Because of this SyncToy has no way of knowing that the file was modified by the user - if either the last updated timestamp on the file changes or the file size changes, SyncToy will pick up that change and synchronize it over to the other side - otherwise it looks like the same file as before to SyncToy. We're considering improving this behavior in later versions of the Microsoft Sync Framework which is the synchronization technology underneath SyncToy.  For now, the only options users have when synchronizing pictures that may exhibit this behavior is to turn on the Check File Contents option on their folder pair - however, it will make the sync operation quite slow because for this SyncToy has to do a complete scan of every file on each side to compute a signature for the file contents.


    Q. It appears that SyncToy does not synchronize certain system files. Is this expected?


    A. The only system files that SyncToy 2.0 does not synchronize are the Thumbs.db and Desktop.ini files and then only if these files are marked with the System AND Hidden attributes. This was a specific feature request we received from many users of SyncToy 1.4 and it seems to provide a better user experience because these two system files are local settings/cache files that do not make sense to replicate to the destination folder.

    Q. I am unable to uninstall previous versions of SyncToy when trying to move to SyncToy 2.0. I get an error message that says "The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable. Click OK to try again, or entre an alternative path to a folder containing the installation package 'Setup[1].msi' in the box below."

    A.SyncToy fails to uninstall because it cannot find the old setup.msi that was used to install it. This can happen either because of data corruption or because over time the folder that contains the Setup.msi has been cleaned out. To manually uninstall SyncToy please use the following steps. This will involve recreating all your folder pairs after you move to SyncToy 2.0.

    1. Use your old SyncToy version to bring all your folder pairs up to date.

    2. Delete all your old folder pairs - do this so that you delete all old metadata.

    3. Download the "Windows Installer Cleanup Utility" from this location - be careful to only point the tool to the SyncToy version that you wish to uninstall.

    4. Check to see if the utility has removed SyncToy from the folder where it was installed. The default location is Program Files\Microsoft\SyncToy or else look for SyncToy.exe on your system. Remove the SyncToy folder and all files contained in the folder.

    5. Install SyncToy 2.0 and recreate all your folder pairs.

    Saturday, August 16, 2008 12:48 AM