SyncToy 2.x/3.x Wishlist RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi there Liam et al,

    Thanks for this package, I can see real benefits in using this to solve my backup/sync problems..

    I have a couple of wishes for the list, for the continuing development of SyncToy and the MS Sync Framework..

    I'm often creating backups which have the inherent user privileges of the host machine.. I've come to grief before when a system goes down, and so to certificates associated with encrypted data.. When I reinstall a new version of the OS (or a new OS) over the previous installation, my user/login account is different, and I'm unable to access these files without hitting things with a hammer, so:
    - Could SyncToy/Sync Framework provide an option to strip/replace privileges on backed-up files (to world readable/writeable), which would solve these problems?

    Another query is that of ensuring that archives are not corrupted, for example photo files (*.dng/*.cr2 etc) and their processed counterparts (*.psdf/*.jpg/*.tif etc) as they're migrated away to a backed-up archive (and offline storage media). It would be great if, as part of the sync/backup, the file integrity could also be checked, from both the host, and target backup device, with this reporting any errors to a log (or automated email to an address specified etc), so:
    - Could SyncToy/Sync Framework provide an option to check file integrity whilst being backed-up on both the host and target folder/archive?

    I'm also really keen to ensure that the sync/backup target is an identical copy of the host, so
    - Could SyncToy/Sync Framework provide an option to permission/datestamp/identically copy of a file from host to target?

    I'm fairly new to this MS Sync Framework and SyncToy (in fact I just stumbled across the package yesterday), so am really keen to watch this framework (and SyncToy) develop.. What are the plans for this development.. Ideally if this functionality was built into Vista (for e.g) it would be a great way to enable users to do whatever they want with their data.. I've been stumped trying to get the same functionality out of Vista's Sync Center (as my external USB hdd was not acknowledged as a removable device), and the built-in backup tools (which don't easily allow backing up for a specific host folder to a specific target folder, instead these tools are automated to copy *music* or *photos* etc

    Thanks again,

    Monday, February 11, 2008 11:53 PM


All replies

  • Hi Paul,


    Thank-you for taking the time to outline some of your ideas.  Most of the ones you have listed are very unique features that I have not heard requested so far.  I will certainly add these to our planning document which we are just in the process of discussing.


    As to your final comment about SyncToy and the Sync Framework, I think the main thing I can talk to you about with respect to plans is our goal to start building more of a community around our provider framework.  Hopefully as you have seen from the Sync Framework, you can fairly simply implement new providers to talk to new data stores and then have that plug into the Sync Framework core to build somewhat of a sync ecosystem of disparate data sources.  We would really like to start submitting samples on how exactly this can be done and where to get started.  From there, we will decide on a place (CodePlex perhaps???) for people to get together and share ideas and provider samples.  As to specific product integrations, I agree with you that this type of integration would be great to have in many of our products but I have no details or plans at this time which I can provide.


    In any case, please keep those comments coming.



    Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:05 AM
  • Hi Liam & Paul,


    I can see this being a really useful tool too. I would like to add that the ability to have a remote fileserver with a webservice/wcf connection would also be great. We host a hugh array of images on a fast server in the USA and our base in in Australia. Since we hire space on this server and it is Net3.5 it would be good to be able to install a receiver version of synctoy as as wcf. The other option would be to a remote ftp server. These options would allow offices to share there files between wan networks while still being behind a corporate firewall. Any likelyhood of this sort of out out the lan flexability in the next release?




    Brett Styles


    Thursday, February 14, 2008 11:54 AM
  • Hi Brett,


    Now that we have replace the core synchronization logic with the Microsoft Sync Framework, it is much easier for us to implement these types of things.  For the most part it is just a matter of creating a provider that would talk to some webservice. 


    Like you, a number of people of expressed an interest in more of an internet based file sync capability whether that be the ability to sync to a central file server as you had expressed or the ability to connect through some sort of secure internet connection between machines.  Personally I can see the greatest potential in what you are suggesting. 


    Although we can not give any timelines, I can tell you that this feature will be one that we will be certainly discussing for a future release.




    Thursday, February 14, 2008 5:01 PM
  • Thanks for the feedback Liam,

    Just a quick point which follows on from my integration queries/suggestions above..

    I have now installed SyncToy 2.0beta on a couple of machines, and I've noted how I need to hunt around and "patchup" some machines with a version of (now deprecated) dotnet 2.0, and (deprecated, 3.5 is available right?) SQL CE3.1..

    I haven't tried installation on a Vista box just yet, but I'd suggest that a stand-alone installer might be a better suggestion here, than the dependency on these other packages.. It just makes the whole installation process much more tedious, and difficult for more novice users..

    I'm sure if the SyncToy functionality is integrated into a future release of Windows then installation specifics are a mute point.. But thought I'd make the suggestion nonetheless.. Why also does it require dotnet 2.0 when 3.0 SP1 is being dragged down on many XP machines with Windows update..

    Please don't take these comments as a criticism, it truly is a great product - keep up the great work!
    Saturday, February 16, 2008 12:28 PM

    Liam, I was hoping to have one way of backing-up all my files (data, photo's, music, video etc.) at regular intervals and SyncToy is very promising especially using Task Scheduler, batch files and WScript, makes it painless and non-intrusive.

    I would like to back-up the Outlook .pst files but find there is a problem whereby SyncToy will destroy* the backed-up open .pst file and am wondering (wishing) SyncToy could be improved and have the ability of using VSS and allow copying of open files such as Outlook data files and database files?

    *SyncToy will null an opend files copy.  E.g. the backed up file will be zero size – empty!

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 10:42 PM
  • Hi Jim,


    An Outlook provider is without a doubt one of the most requested features we get with respect to the Microsoft Sync Framework (not just with SyncToy).  People REALLY want the ability to sync content in Outlook with something else, whether that be their contacts, todo, email, etc... 


    As such, our first step would be to create an actual Outlook provider for the Sync Framework because I really don't think people will want to re-copy the .pst file every time something changes in it (given how bit it can be).  I expect they only want what has changed to be sent (or at least some sort of bit level differencing).  Additionally people may want to filter what data is synchronized which could not be accomplished simply by copying the file.


    In any case, there are a number of things we still need to sort out, but once there is an Outlook provider, it will be much easier to implement this type functionality in SyncToy. 


    I am sorry to say I can not give you any dates or plans, other then to say Outlook is something that is on the top of our minds.



    Monday, February 18, 2008 5:05 PM
  • Liam,


    Thanks for your quick replies. I've had most of my issues explained and am really liking the application. If I may, I would like to make a few feature requests.


    First of all, in the preview window list box, it would be nice to be able to select multiple rows (shift and/or control click or shift cursor) so you could toggle more than one row at a time.


    Second, I'd like to add a few options to the right-click context menu in the preview pane:


    The first would be the option to change the direction of the copy (I use SyncToy to keep copies of code and websites I run and occasionally I need to roll back to a previous version.) Again, the ability to do this for multiple rows is desired.


    The second would be a quick dialog box listing why the file needs to be updated on the target: dates not equal, file attributes not equal, filesize different, contents don't match, etc.


    The third would be the ability to show the differences between files by running a configurable external command (like ExamDiff) passing the parameters of the two files to compare.


    That's about it. I've used many folder syncing programs (FileSync by FileWare and FolderMatch by Salty Brine) over the years and I think yours has the potential to exceed those.


    Thanks &




    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:38 PM
  • Hi Liam,

    This is a very useful tool.  It has all the features that I look for in a sync software except one.  It would be nice to have the option to encrypt the files in the destination folder.  The source files on my desktop are not encrypted.  But when I create a folder pair to echo the files to a folder on a USB drive, I'd like to have the option to have the files in the destination folder encrypted.  When the encrypted files are sync'ed back to the desktop, they need to be decrypted.  A single encryption key can be used for all the files on a USB drive.

    Monday, April 21, 2008 2:58 PM
  • Hi Liam,


    I see a lot of potential in SyncToy, I only have one little problem with it:

    We are looking for an application to syncronize an network folder on our laptops for offline usage. But it has to be in a way that it happens manual on a time that suites us. And only in one way, the online folder is the master and nothing has to change it when synchronizing. SyncToy is a good solution for this but it is leaving the file list files every where, and this is something we don't like. So my question is of there is a possibility to tell SyncToy to store the files on a specified location on the local drive?

    Monday, April 21, 2008 7:45 PM
  • sorry, does that mean that currently there is no way of using synctoy to backup my outlook emails, calendar, contacts & tasks?  I have been looking for Program files/Outlook to find where my .pst files are to back up everyday but can't find it.  i want to use synctoy to back this all up but can't see anything in the help/getting started files about anything relating to backing up emails.



    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 1:06 PM
  • sorry, does that mean that currently there is no way of using synctoy to backup my outlook emails, calendar, contacts & tasks?  I have been looking for Program files/Outlook to find where my .pst files are to back up everyday but can't find it.  i want to use synctoy to back this all up but can't see anything in the help/getting started files about anything relating to backing up emails.



    DON'T DO IT !!!

    SyncToy doesn't let you back up .PST files yet.  It will zero out your PST.  Read other messages in this forum

    Thursday, July 16, 2009 7:26 PM
  • This thread is nearly 1 1/2 years old, and I am wondering if any progress has been made regarding sync of Outlook PSTs?  These files, as you mention, can be HUGE, and doing a full sync of multiple GB for a 2 byte change of the PST is maddening!

    Also, if you have anybody's ear on the Office team, could you pass along two of my peeves, please?  First is that Outlook changes the timestamp on a PST every time Outlook opens, even if NOTHING is changed in the PST.  The second is that Outlook cannot open a PST from a DVD because it insists on opening in R/W mode.  Can't there be an option to open in Read-Only mode for the purpose of retrieving old messages?  It's crazy to have to copy a PST over to my hard drive to open up and retrieve 1 message.

    Friday, July 31, 2009 1:20 PM
  • Hi -

    You are talking about RDC support which I am afraid is something we are not planning on supporting for the SyncToy 2.1 release :( As for your peeves on the Office team - I am afraid you are going to have to post it on the forums there - I have no "in" on how to complain to someone there :)

    Deepa ( Microsoft Sync Framework)
    Thursday, August 6, 2009 12:35 AM
  • When you say "RDC support", isn't that Remote Desktop Connection?  Otherwise, I am not familiar with the acronym.  I was unfortunately unclear in what I was hoping for in my original post.  What I am looking for is a "smart" sync such that only the changed bits need to be copied, rather than copying the entire file again.  So, with a 5 GB PST file, adding a single message would sync just the changed bits, rather than the entire 5 GB.  I'm sorry if I'm not explaining this well.

    Is this impractical?
    Thursday, August 6, 2009 7:44 PM
  • Hi -

    IT stands for Remote Differential Compression. What you are asking for is technology that exists - just not something we have resources to put into SyncToy for now.


    Deepa ( Microsoft Sync Framework)
    Thursday, August 6, 2009 11:39 PM
  • IT stands for Remote Differential Compression. What you are asking for is technology that exists - just not something we have resources to put into SyncToy for now.

    I am evaluating SyncToy and I was wondering if it did make use of RDC. Now I found the answer, thank you!

    I realize that adding RDC capabilities may not be high in your priorities, but let me just explain why it is a deal breaker for me. I need to backup large files from my server to a remote location through the WAN (using a VPN). I need to ensure that the bandwitdh usage is optimal (for example, when the metadata of a media file is modified, I don't want the whole file to be re-synched when only the first few kilobytes need to be). As of now, a lack of "RDC" is the only thing that prevents me from switching my servers from Linux/RSync to Windows Home Server/SyncToy. Other than not making use of RDC (or any similar technology), SyncToy appears to be exactly the utility that I was looking for.

    Maybe someday?

    Saturday, August 29, 2009 1:21 PM
  • Any updates on plans for SyncToy regarding RDC?  I'd *love* to have it included!
    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 3:28 PM
  • As Deepa said in her previous post, currently the RDC is not there in the currently release syncToy bits. We will keep this in consideration for the future releases.

    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 6:17 PM
  • Besides adding my support to the idea of eventually employing RDC (Remore Differential Compression) in SyncToy, I would like to ask the team whether, in the mean time, they are aware of any existing Microsoft or third-party file synchronization tool that does employ RDC.  It does not matter whether it has a GUI or is strictly command line, whether it processes single files or entire folders, whether it's commercial, shareware or freeware, etc.  Is anybody out there using RDC (besides internal Windows processes such as DFS replication and whatnot)??  I am using the current 64-bit version of SyncToy on Windows Server 2008 to perform occasional synchronizations of 30GB Hyper-V disk images over a WAN, often after very minor updates that may only have changed 2 or 3% of a disk image's blocks -- RDC would perform splendidly in this scenario, which unfortunately can't yet be said of SyncToy.


    Saturday, January 2, 2010 6:02 PM
  • Sure you can back-up .pst files everday. I do it.

    When I install Outlook, I always move the .pst files so they end up in a "data" folder under "My Documents" (instead of hidden deep under my user profile in XP). Do a search and you will find the file/s - and you cna also move it/them to a better location (like I have). I have NEVER understood why MSFT decided to hide the files that are maybe the most important ones (e-mail files = correspondance files) and make them so hard to backup.

    Just remember for SyncToy to successfully backup your .pst files, Outlook needs to be SHUT DOWN so there are no reservation for those files. SyncToy is the ONLY program that accesses these files for the backup to be successful.

    I also use a small Outlook plug-in that (I think) is called "Backup PST". It can be found under the MSFT Outlook pages and installs quickly. I have mine set so every time I shut down Outlook, it asks me if I'd like to backup my files (currently 4 .pst files) and total data amount is somewhere around 4 GB. Coying from SATA to SATA so it goes pretty fast.
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 1:50 AM
  • Nice tool, maybe a gadget with a scheduler built in?
    Monday, January 11, 2010 11:31 PM
  • I would also like to see a better scheduler... and/or the abilty to have synchronizations kick off as soon as a file is saved.
    Wednesday, January 20, 2010 3:15 AM
  • I would like to see an option to right click on a row in the preview and send the two files to a compare tool like winmerge

    You would set the tool in the options along with the command line

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012 7:06 PM