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SyncToy does not detect differences in fiels RRS feed

  • Question

  •  

    My setup is version 2, with my Left Folder on a RAID 1 volume with a folder of JPG files.  My Right Folder is on the Desktop, which is an IDE drive.

     

    I have already run "Echo" and set up the two folder contents.

    Then I edited the JPG file to include keywords (for easy lookup in Picasa).

    I ran SyncToy again, and the changes were not picked up.

    I ran with the "Check File Contents" checked, and unchecked, to see if it made a difference.  No! 

    I finally ran the old DOS utility, COMP.EXE against the 2 files, and it reported "Files are different sizes."

    I also reviewed the files in Photoshop and can see the IPTC keywords there, as additional proof that the files were changed.

    Finally, I checked the IPTC keywords for each file in Opanda iexif 2.3 (Free download) and again, this confirms they're different.

    But SyncToy, even with the hash checking, misses this.

     

    I view the images in Google's Picasa, which allows me to add keywords IPTC keywords.  It'simportant that all my work tagging thousands of files gets detected and backed up.  I would hate to have to repeat this exercise.

     

    Any suggestions??

     

    Thanks,

     

    Nik

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:48 PM

Answers

  • The testing I've done since re-installing is looking optimistic!  I can't tell for sure, but...

     

    I think that Picasa is giving me cached info about the Right folder, so when I run SyncToy to update the file, Picasa shows the old information (until the cache is refreshed through some background process). [Later EditI downloaded the Picasa Beta 3 to use instead of Picasa's 2.7 version and get different responses now.  The tagging I do in Picasa seems pretty instantaneous and correct.  I can select 100 files, tag with a keyword, and the tags seems to happen without instantly.  I tried using another program, iTag for one folder, and when I opened Picasa, it didn't detect the iTag tagging immediately.  I wasn't able to determine how to force Picasa to pick up the new keywords, but after an hour or so, there they were.)

     

    The Opanda program seems to give me the information correctly - so when SyncToy updates the Right folder, I can verifiy the keywords have updated.

     

    SyncToy is detecting my keyword change in Picasa even without Check File Contents selected - yay!  This will bring the length of time for the operation down to something I can use.

     

    Finally, I have not been able to justify my earlier comment that Windows Explorer doesn't recognize the IPTC keywords, thus causing the same lack of recognition for SyncToy.  I will edit that message so I don't create a false impression.

     

    So right now, I think the re-install of SyncToys, and my understanding that Picasa does not have an up-to-date display of keywords, solves my problem.

     

    Thanks!

     

    Nik

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 8:28 PM

All replies

  • Hi Nik -

     

    Are you running SyncToy 2.0? Also, are you sure that you edited the files located in your folder on the LEFT side and not on the right?

     

    Thanks

    Deepa

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 8:49 PM
  • Deepa,

     

    Thanks for taking the time to answer.

     

    Good points - but alas yes:

    SyncToy 2.0.100.0

    Correctly edited in Left Folder. (Which would make a difference in "Echo" if I had it backwards - thanks.)

     

    I opened Photoshop, checked the "Recent" files with a Save As... Correct Left Folder.  Also, Picaso, where I'm tagging, has an option to Scan or Not Scan certain drives.  I've marked my Right Folder as "Remove From Picasa" which means it will not display files in my "Right Folder."

     

    I still haven't figured it out.  Sad

     

    Nik

     

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 12:35 AM
  • Nik, if you pick one file that you changed on the left with new Keywords and check the file sizes for that file on the left and right - I assume you see a difference in Windows explorer? Can you also check if the Last Write time on those files look different between the left and right.

     

    Can I also suggest you do a sync, then delete the folder pair, recreate it with the Check File Contents enabled, now do a Preview and check if the files show up in the list of changes.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:20 PM
    Answerer
  • Good thoughts - thanks!

     

    I did everything you suggested, and was getting the WRONG results, so I finally uninstalled and reinstalled SyncToy 2.0, and also checked Windows Update for any .NET updates (none) just in case.

     

    "if you pick one file that you changed on the left with new Keywords and check the file sizes for that file on the left and right - I assume you see a difference in Windows explorer?"

    No differences.

     

    [Later: after re-installing SyncToy 2.0, the following observation appears incorrect:]

    What I think is that SyncToy is using the capabilities of Windows Explorer to determine if there are difference.  The category "Keywords" in Windows Explorer does not show the what Picasa and this other program, Opanda, call IPTC keywords.  When they're different, Picasa and Opanda see them quite easily, but Windows Explorer doesn't seem to.

     

    I will go a bit further with your suggestions and experiments and report back!

     

    Thanks again for your interest.

     

    Nik

     

     

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 7:33 PM
  • The testing I've done since re-installing is looking optimistic!  I can't tell for sure, but...

     

    I think that Picasa is giving me cached info about the Right folder, so when I run SyncToy to update the file, Picasa shows the old information (until the cache is refreshed through some background process). [Later EditI downloaded the Picasa Beta 3 to use instead of Picasa's 2.7 version and get different responses now.  The tagging I do in Picasa seems pretty instantaneous and correct.  I can select 100 files, tag with a keyword, and the tags seems to happen without instantly.  I tried using another program, iTag for one folder, and when I opened Picasa, it didn't detect the iTag tagging immediately.  I wasn't able to determine how to force Picasa to pick up the new keywords, but after an hour or so, there they were.)

     

    The Opanda program seems to give me the information correctly - so when SyncToy updates the Right folder, I can verifiy the keywords have updated.

     

    SyncToy is detecting my keyword change in Picasa even without Check File Contents selected - yay!  This will bring the length of time for the operation down to something I can use.

     

    Finally, I have not been able to justify my earlier comment that Windows Explorer doesn't recognize the IPTC keywords, thus causing the same lack of recognition for SyncToy.  I will edit that message so I don't create a false impression.

     

    So right now, I think the re-install of SyncToys, and my understanding that Picasa does not have an up-to-date display of keywords, solves my problem.

     

    Thanks!

     

    Nik

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 8:28 PM
  • Nik, your report got me intrigued as I am a novice Picasa and SyncToy user so I ran some little tests. Picasa Support says that Picasa captions are stored as IPTC metadata. So I observed what Windows Explorer file properties had to say when I added, modified, erased or deleted captions in Picasa. The most distressing finding is that the file's Last Modified Time stays constant, even though the file size changes (most of the time). The same is true if you use Explorer's File Properties to add, modify, delete its Summary metadata (Title, Subject, Author, Keywords, Comments). Neither app changes the Last Modified time (they may change the Last Accessed time). It is possible, therfore, to change a caption's contents, keeping it the same length, and end up with a file size and Last Modified time that is the same as before. Unless SyncToy actually compares IPTC data or does a full byte for byte file compare (or other foolproof analysis), it cannot know that the file has changed. I should think this could be a problem for most incremental backup or synchronization systems. Maybe there is a reason that these two apps do not change the Last Modified time but I can't think of one - the actual timestamp from the camera remains in the IPTC data. The file content has been modified - that should be reason enough to change the timestamp!

     

    BTW, if Windows Explorer writes IPTC data (it reads it in the Advanced view), then Picasa and Explorer are writing to fields that are mutually exclusive.

     

    Tom

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 9:23 PM
  • Tom, nice to hear from someone using the same setup I'm using!

     

    I agree with your observations that dates / times don't change.  As a consequence, your comments have diminished the joy of my recent success.  Now I'm left thinking that *sometimes* the changes are caught without the "Check File Contents" enabled, sometimes they're not.  When "Check File Contents" is enabled, the comparison slows down un-usably, but it catches the changes.

     

    LEFT FOLDER: I had a .JPG file with a Picasa Keyword Bob. 

    I created a fresh folder pair in SyncToy, and created an empty Right Folder Echo, and Ran SyncToy to create an Echoed folder.

     

    I then used Picasa to change the LEFT FOLDER Keyword to Dog.

    SyncToy did not pick up the change unless I had Check File Contents enabled.

     

    I added a new keyword in Picasa: Flowers

    SyncToy picked up the change without needing Check File Contents enabled.

     

    --------

     

    Just to confuse things, I used Windows Explorer to update the File Properties, and in Summary > Advanced > Keywords, added "SyncToy", and saved the file.

     

    Neither Picasa nor Opanda sees this keyword.  Of course, using the Search option in Explorer will find "SyncToy" when I specify "A word or phrase in the file".   This confirms your "Picasa and Explorer are writing to fields that are mutually exclusive" statement.

     

    In my copy of Windows XP SP3, I cannot see the IPTC data under the Advanced view, whereas you state, "it reads it in the Advanced view."  Hmmm!  The version of c:\windows\explorer.exe I have is 6.0.2900.3311.  My drives are NTFS formatted.

     

    Nik

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 10:12 PM
  • Ok.. interesting discussion on how different photo apps deal with tags in pictures :-). But w.r.t SyncToy, you're both right - if the file size does not change when you add/modify a tag and the app is not changing the file modification time, you're SOL with SyncToy detecting the change. Your only option at this point is to use the Check File Contents option (or figure out a way to force the app to update the timestamp). BTW, a reason I heard that these apps do not touch the last modified time is so it doesn't change the user's sort order for pictures.

     

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 1:21 AM
    Answerer
  • Nik, I should clarify that Explorer's Advanced view displays the same IPTC data that Picasa displays other than the Picasa caption, i.e., it displays the image info, exposure, etc... I'm assuming that the Title, Author... metadata that Explorer can add is IPTC format but maybe it is not.

     

    I have also looked over at the Picasa Forum and see there have been several related threads. I think the general conclusion is that:

     

    1. As Ashish says: changing the file's Last Modified datestamp for metadata changes may affect image organisation (I think Picasa throws things into a timeline but I don't know what timestamp it uses - folders can be sorted by Creation Date or by Recent Changes). This may be undesirable when the essence (the image) is unchanged, only the descriptors.

     

    2. Incremental backups or folder synchronization based on Last Modified Date and/or file size are error prone due to editing of IPTC metadata not affecting the file's Last Modified timestamp and possibly not changing the filesize. SyncToy is in good company in failing to detect changes in IPTC metadata.

     

    3. Picasa has its own Backup and Restore tool that appears to depend on its own database that also contains the IPTC metadata that it has written to the JPEG. It does incremental backup and may detect caption changes - on this point, I am uncertain as I now have one image that does not get flagged for backup when I make caption changes and another that is always flagged for backup whether I change the caption or not after having done a backup. There appear to be many threads about Picasa's Backup and Restore so it, too, may not be foolproof. It seems that a file might be restored but have its caption overwritten by the database, thus editing the metadata outside Picasa could also be dangerous. The database may get corrupted and can be rebuit by re-scanning the folders in which case the caption data will come from the JPEGs. I'm not sure about any of this.

     

    Conclusion: only a full backup (not incremental) by typical backup utilities will be sure to carry changes to IPTC metadata since the last backup and will likely be faster than one that has to compare files thoroughly.

     

    Comment: that's not good news for large and active photo collections. If Picasa's own incremental backup is reliable, then maybe it should be the primary for all Picasa folders and use a conventional incremental backup utility for everything else..The backup software that came with my LaCie USB drive does only full backups, each time to a newly named folder.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 3:30 AM
  • Very well thought out.

     

    I just wish....  well, I just wish I didn't have to do a complete copy to get the results I want.  I was hoping for a quick ID of the updated files, and then Echo those.  But, the Check File Contents makes SyncToy too slow (how about a Check File Contents for Tag changes only?) for all the images I have and the amount I modify.

     

    Thanks for everyone's expert help in clarifying my understanding.

     

    Nik

     

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 12:17 AM