File deletion RRS feed

  • Question

  • I performed a test to see if SyncToy would replace a file that was (accidentally) deleted from the destination location. It did not. Is that the way it should work?


    John B. Mclellan
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 7:26 PM

All replies

  • synctoy will faithfully replicate deletions (assuming you have the type of sync set to that).  So, if you delete a file on the destination, it will delete the file on on the source for you.
    Peter Kellner http://peterkellner.net Microsoft MVP • ASPInsider
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 7:39 PM
  • Thanks for your quick reply. I now realize I should have provided some additional context.

    I'm running SyncToy 2.1; build 10/19/2009

    I used the "Echo" feature. (New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.) This is the most detail I could find for how this works and it does not say anything about what happens if something changes on the "right" or what I called the destination.

    This operation did not replace the deleted file on the right, nor did it delete the file on the left.

    Is this the way it is supposed to work?

    Many thanks

    John B. Mclellan
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 7:56 PM
  • My understanding is echo just does what it advertises (nothing else).  That is, new and updated files are copied left to right.  anything that happens on the right causes no change to happen.  

    the definition for synchronize is:

    Synchronize: New and updated files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other.

    The good news is if you had chosen synchronize, the delete on the right would have deleted your file on the left which would have been worse.

    If you really want to get the right side in sync again, I believe you will have to drop and recreate your sync pair and run it again.  sync framework file provider is smart enough to not recopy all the files that are the same, but it will have to open them and figure out that they are the same.

    Feel free to post again if you need more info and I'll let the real sync guys respond to this.  The file sync provider source is not open so only the Microsoft guys can give you the real answers.  I've worked a lot with the file provider so I'm pretty confident I know how they work, but not 100% confident.

    Peter Kellner http://peterkellner.net Microsoft MVP • ASPInsider
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 8:04 PM
  • You've done a great job of responding.

    I'm only trying to understand how it works before I make the commitment to rely on SyncToy as my backup tool. If I had a serious problem I might ask for help from the Microsoft guys.


    John B. Mclellan
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 8:22 PM
  • In that case, let me throw out some personal observations.

    If you want to backup to a place that will faithfully maintain what you put there (in otherwords, files will not get removed from the right) it will work well.  The caveat is that I would only recommend doing this if you have a fairly stable directory structure.  That is, if you are trying to backup your mydocs directory and you change directory structures, renames, etc, I would not recommend it.  I've been involved in very complex sync projects and though Microsoft has done a great job with the file sync provider, it is far from perfect.  It's not transactional which can cause unexpected results.  I've done quite a bit of research on the backup providers out there (both cost and performance) and I would recommend crashplan if you want free (though harder to setup) or for paid, I use carbonite which is pretty cheap compared to the others.

    Peter Kellner http://peterkellner.net Microsoft MVP • ASPInsider
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 8:29 PM
  • I'm glad you mentioned the directory structure issue because it was something I was planning to test. You are correct, I was planning to backup My Documents and I do tend to move files and folders around quite often.

    I have looked into several backup applications and services and they all seemed to have some issue that bothered me. I used NT Backup for years on my XP machines and loved it, but when I ran it on my Windows 7 machine it would not run "shadow copy", which meant I had to shut everything down to run it. I may go back and revisit NT Backup because it was dead simple to use and gave me the flexibility to select just what I wanted.

    I've not looked at Crashplan. I did try Carbonite and if my memory is correct, it had a problem with certain file types, like the one NT Backup created and maybe even pst file that Outlook uses. Or it didn't have a "shadow copy" like function, which meant I had to shut down Outlook in order to have it backed up.

    My plan is to backup my data to another PC I have at another location using a VPN. I've tested SyncToy and it works fine over the VPN. But your caution about the directory issue has caused me to re-think using SyncToy. I'll check out Crashplan.

    Thanks again for all your help. You probably saved me from having a "backup disaster"!


    John B. Mclellan
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 9:35 PM
  • Just a word of warning... I'll be posting more information soon (doing more testing) but I would NOT rely on synctoy for anything you care about.

    It's free, and that's what it's worth. It will NOT create a safe, reliable, or complete backup of your data.

    When setting up a folder pair, it would seem that echo is the safest option that most people choose, but it can't truely echo files correctly. The set up information doesn't tell you that it won't check file contents to see if the file has changed, even if it's doubled in size.

    I've been using it for months with constant problems. I started digging into them again today because it won't update some files (Adobe .xmp files) even when they're clearly dissimilar. if you change the Echo options and tell it to verify contents, it will screw up even worse. Today, it duplicated over 1600 files (i.e., created a "file_a.1, file_b.1, etc. scenario). I used a REAL program to compare the files via MD5 hash, and the files were identical. I knew they were identical anyway, because 99% had never been changed (most were image files, or Canon RAW (.CR2) files). The problem is that Synctoy doesn't know when a file has changed and when it hasn't. You absolutely can NOT trust it.

    This is just one situation, but if it can't take Adobe files, then it's worthless to me, and millions of others. So we could ask if Adobe is doing something so Synctoy can't read the files? Maybe, considering Adobe writes buggy software, but it highlights that Synctoy is NOT a real program for 2011/2012; it's a free utility that works like a program from a first year college student.

    If it only gets 80%-90% of the file sync right, then it's 100% NOT recommended for anything more than a toy, as the name signifies...

    • Edited by xcopy99 Monday, November 14, 2011 2:10 AM
    Monday, November 14, 2011 2:08 AM
  • Thanks for the heads up on SyncToy. Sounds like good advice. I need to use a real backup application. I'm looking into Crashplan now.


    John B. Mclellan
    Monday, November 14, 2011 2:48 AM