How to keep Synctoy settings when hard disk is replaced RRS feed

  • Question

  • The hard disk in my main desktop machine has failed. There are 3 laptops in the family that are synced to it. Each laptop has a different subset of the main files. I can restore the new disk but I don't have the synctoy setting files. Does this mean that I have to start from scratch and copy all the files from the main machine to each laptop again. The main disk has 500TB of data and each laptop has at least 300TB. Then there is all the time to configure the file trees.

    Please tell me there is an easy way to do it.

    Thursday, October 11, 2012 11:53 AM

All replies

  • It may be possible for you to track this down.

    First, here's the problem. I get the impression that the sync is always run from the desktop PC. If that's so, then the settings files definitely went down the drain with the hard drive; the binary pair files and logs are stored on the machine running SyncToy in a folder under the running user's profile - %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0\ on Vista or newer, and "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0\" on XP.

    However, SyncToy creates a super-hidden system file in the root of each synchronized folder, and you can look for those files on each laptop to confirm what folders are being backed up. The names are SyncToy_ followed by a long identifier and have a .DAT extension; here's an example of one:


    What you can do is open a command prompt on each laptop and run the following command:

    dir /s /b /a SyncToy_*.dat

    This should return complete paths to each and every root folder being synchronized. (You may have duplicates if multiple versions of SyncToy were used or if you've lost and restored sync pairs in the past).

    By the way, although it isn't necessarily foolproof, you may be able to work around this problem in the future by doing this. Configure SyncToy to also sync the SyncToy settings folder to another location - a plugin USB drive should be plenty. The file SyncToyDirPairs.bin from that folder should make it possible to recover folder sync pairs if you have another drive crash.

    Post back how this works, or if you have any followup questions!

    Saturday, October 13, 2012 8:31 PM
  • Thanks for this info.

    I got impatient and resorted to hacking! One laptop had an almost complete file tree. I checked for any missing files on the other laptops and copied these over. I then uploaded the complete tree onto the new drive. I then did a SyncToy preview on the "master" laptop which reported everything was up to date. I ran previews on the other 2 laptops which reported a few missing files from the desktop so I ran the update and everything was fine - I hope!

    Then I got your reply!

    All machines are XP except one laptop which is 7 (not the "master"). The drive that died was D:. I cannot find any SyncToy entries at "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0\" on the C: drive of the desktop machine. I searched the whole machine and all I can find are a set of "SyncToy-...dat" files in the root of each tree.

    On the laptops are "SyncToy_...dat" files in the tree roots and a pair of .dat files for each folder pair and SyncToyDirPairs.bin in "~\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0\"

    Monday, October 15, 2012 1:04 AM
  • If you ran SyncToy _from_ the laptops, the bin files are the actual folder pair listings. If not, then all you can do is rebuild the backup list by adding pairs for each folder that had a SyncToy DAT file in its root.

    Monday, October 22, 2012 2:27 AM
  • Thanks Alex, I must have stumbled on this as per my last post. Everything is now up and running.
    Tuesday, October 23, 2012 4:07 PM