• Question

  • I am new to the SyncToy world and have a few questions regarding how SyncToy would work as back up mechanism for folders/files on my computer.  In this case I would be using an external drive to hold my backed up folders.

    1.  I have read the description of how to set up folder pairs. Once I have set up these pairs, I understand that the folder in my computer will be copied to the folder I have specified in my external drive.  And from that point on, the two folders will be synchronized (ie kept identical) somehow.  I am assuming that the source folder in the computer is considered the Master and the copied folder in the external drive is kept identical to the folder in the computer - and not the other way around, correct? (ie, if the folder in the external drive should become corrupted some way, it's contents would not be copied (synchronized) back to the computer folder?) 

    How often does synchronization between the folder pairs occur?  What happens if the external drive is disconnected from the computer?  Would the SyncToy process complain in some way or stop working?  In my case, I do not always keep my external drive connected to my computer.  Is it possible to use Synctoy in this situation?

    I intend to use SyncToy to back up a number of folders in my computer.  Do I have to set up each of these folder pairs separately or is there a way to set up all (a number of)  folder pairs at the same time?

    The principle reason for using SyncToy as a folder/file backup mechanism is to protect myself from data loss in case of a computer or computer hard drive failure.  So, what happens if I should have a hard drive failure?  How do I restore my data files back to repaired system.  Are the folders/file that are copied to and synchronized on the backup external drive accessible directly and individually? (Ie, could I go to the external drive and simply copy (drag and drop) each backed up folder back to it's proper place my repaired computer.)   In other words, are these backed up folders identical to the folders that they were copied from and directly useable in the Windows environment just as their origin folders were?  Further, would the individual files within the folders be directly accessible?  Or is everything handled on a folder basis only?

    Or, would I have to have the use of the SyncToy software to restore the backed up files to the computer?

    Would it be possible to backup my data folders to multiple destinations using SyncToy?  For instance, could I do backup operations to an external drive, a USB drive and a Cloud storage service simultaneously (belt and suspenders)?  Would all these destinations need to be synchronized together (to each other)?  And, if this were possible, would all these folder pairs have to be set up individually?  And further, what if one or more of those destinations weren't accessible for some reason (disconnected, etc.)?  Would it still work?

    These are probably just the start of my questions as I get into the use of this software but the answers to these questions would certainly get me rolling - at least allow me to make the decision as to whether this would be the best option for my backup needs.

    I would very much appreciate it if someone could help me out with this - either by answering directly or pointing me to some documentation that would answer all these questions.  Thank you very much in advance,  Al

    Monday, August 29, 2016 8:59 PM

All replies

  • Hi Al.  These are the steps I take to setting up 1 or more folder pairs to be managed by SyncToy.

    • I use a tool called Beyond Compare (by Scooter Software) to prepare the two directories by seeing what is currently not mirrored between the two directories, and utilize  the tools  in Beyond Compare to massage the data until both directories are exact copies of one another. ( I don't work for Scooter Software, or receive commissions; I'm just a happy customer)
    • Rinse and repeat the above process for each pair of directories I want managed by SyncToy.
    • Create a batch file that will sync each folder pair. [ SyncToycmd.exe ]
    • (Have a copy of the batch file on your Desktop so you can manually run the sync at any time, and/or add the batch file to the Windows Task Scheduler to have it run automatically.
    • Set up some test folder pairs, and a batch file so you can observe how this works.  'SyncToycmd.exe' is the command used in the batch file, and you can either refer to it using the entire path [ "C:\Windows\Program Files\SyncToy\SyncToycmd.exe" - or similar ] or drop a copy of SyncToycmd.exe into C:\Windows\System32 so the batch file can find it.

    If I had three paired directories that I set up using the SyncToy GUI called Pair1, Pair2, and Pair3, the batch file would look like this... [ provided I placed a copy of SyncToycmd.exe in the Windows System32 folder]  

    @echo off

    SyncToycmd.exe -R "Pair1"

    SynToycmd.exe -R "Pair2"

    SyncToycmd.exe -R "Pair3"


    Again - by pre-syncing the directories with Beyond Compare, I'm confident I won't lose any data on the first run of SyncToy.  It has always worked for me. 

    Sunday, September 4, 2016 5:10 PM