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Bad, bad, bad software design. DANGEROUS - WILL DELETE THE WRONG FILES - get Syncback - does a far better job RRS feed

  • Question

  • Well Microsoft, another crappy software release. Why do you guys with zillions of collars and more developers than the population of small countries insist on releasing these half-witted applications? If you're gouing to do it, do it properly. If small developers can do it for free (begging for donations), then David has beaten Goliath again.

    Yes it installed correctly. Yes it functioned without actual crashing. But compared to Syncback (free from Brighsparks) , it his highly limited in configurability, and most importantly - reliabilty.

    Eg I had already manully copied a large backup folder from one hard disk to another. So I set Synctoy (as recommended in the help instructions) to do an "Echo operation", but the end result was files left in the destination backup that should have been deleted.

    So then I thought I would delete the destination backup and allow Synctoy to create a new one. Again using the Echo setting, it only backed up 3 folders and 100 or so files out of 114Gb and 10000 files!. The Preview and logs gave no indication of why this was.

    So perhaps I am using the wrong setting? I then tried using the Synchronisation setting, and (as the backup was now empty) it started deleting all the original critical files!!!

    Scheduling is not built in , you must navigate the complexities of the Windows Task Scheduler.

    You cannot back up the Synctoy settings, if you need to use a new hard drive or re-install Windows (which NEVER happens), you need to start from the beginning.

    I use Syncback -  the interface is not as pretty as Synctoy, but boy does it work properly, with built-in scheduling, multiple profiles for different backups/computers/networks, and can even email you a results report!

    My advice - DON'T USE SYNCTOY. Sorry Microsoft - I tell it as I see it, and when you release a decent piece of software withut the ludicrous copout "we make this software but won't support it" I will use it, and if it is good enoug 0- yes I may even be willing to pay for it.

    http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/index.html

    Greg
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 2:44 AM

Answers

  • Hi Greg -

    I am sorry that you are having issues using SyncToy as is - let me take a stab at answering  some of your pain points

    Eg I had already manully copied a large backup folder from one hard disk to another. So I set Synctoy (as recommended in the help instructions) to do an "Echo operation", but the end result was files left in the destination backup that should have been deleted.
    -> Since you have copies on the destination side that the source has never seen - it has no way of knowing that those files should be deleted. This is very much expected behaviour - we will only delete files that have explicitly been deleted, or we could end up losing data for our users.

    So then I thought I would delete the destination backup and allow Synctoy to create a new one. Again using the Echo setting, it only backed up 3 folders and 100 or so files out of 114Gb and 10000 files!. The Preview and logs gave no indication of why this was.
    -> This is the one that puzzles me the most - we have had users complain about SyncToy failing too easily ( we put it a fix for that ) but never has someone reported that we do not sync the files with no warning. What kind of files or what kind of settings did you have on the folder pair.

    So perhaps I am using the wrong setting? I then tried using the Synchronisation setting, and (as the backup was now empty) it started deleting all the original critical files!!!
    -> I am guessing you just changed the option. Interestingly this seems to indicate that on your previous sync, we did think that we sync'ed all the files over. Like I mentioned above - I have never seen a case where so many files were not sync'ed but we magically sync'ed metadata for that.

    Scheduling is not built in , you must navigate the complexities of the Windows Task Scheduler.
    -> This is a big ask that we have not had time to do - perhaps in the future.

    You cannot back up the Synctoy settings, if you need to use a new hard drive or re-install Windows (which NEVER happens), you need to start from the beginning.
    -> You could actually backup the %localappdata%\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0\SyncToyDirPairs.bin file which would back up your folder pair setting.

    Clearly - your needs are better served with SyncBack. SyncToy is an "as-is" software because we just provide it as a simple tool that we think a lot of users find useful and we assume others will use other tools.

    Deepa
    Deepa ( Microsoft Sync Framework)
    Hi Deepa

    Thank you for your response. Overall it seems to me that unlike the methodology used by other programs such as Syncback, Synctoy relies on building those hidden data files in the 2 folders after the fact to correlate its backup strategy. So when I try to do something that to me the layman, seems logical, and which works under Syncback et al, it does not work using Synctoy

    Kudos to Microsoft for at least gaving a go I guess, and apologies for the bitterness in my post, but I just think Synctoy needs a major overhaul to be a truly useful and safe program for the average user. For the enthusiast who is knowledgeable and has the time to work around it's shortcomings then it is probably fine.

    But in 2009 I don't think that software developers should be producing any application that has such an expectation - it's just not good enough.

    Kind Regards

    Greg

    Thursday, October 22, 2009 12:03 AM

All replies

  • Hi Greg -

    I am sorry that you are having issues using SyncToy as is - let me take a stab at answering  some of your pain points

    Eg I had already manully copied a large backup folder from one hard disk to another. So I set Synctoy (as recommended in the help instructions) to do an "Echo operation", but the end result was files left in the destination backup that should have been deleted.
    -> Since you have copies on the destination side that the source has never seen - it has no way of knowing that those files should be deleted. This is very much expected behaviour - we will only delete files that have explicitly been deleted, or we could end up losing data for our users.

    So then I thought I would delete the destination backup and allow Synctoy to create a new one. Again using the Echo setting, it only backed up 3 folders and 100 or so files out of 114Gb and 10000 files!. The Preview and logs gave no indication of why this was.
    -> This is the one that puzzles me the most - we have had users complain about SyncToy failing too easily ( we put it a fix for that ) but never has someone reported that we do not sync the files with no warning. What kind of files or what kind of settings did you have on the folder pair.

    So perhaps I am using the wrong setting? I then tried using the Synchronisation setting, and (as the backup was now empty) it started deleting all the original critical files!!!
    -> I am guessing you just changed the option. Interestingly this seems to indicate that on your previous sync, we did think that we sync'ed all the files over. Like I mentioned above - I have never seen a case where so many files were not sync'ed but we magically sync'ed metadata for that.

    Scheduling is not built in , you must navigate the complexities of the Windows Task Scheduler.
    -> This is a big ask that we have not had time to do - perhaps in the future.

    You cannot back up the Synctoy settings, if you need to use a new hard drive or re-install Windows (which NEVER happens), you need to start from the beginning.
    -> You could actually backup the %localappdata%\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0\SyncToyDirPairs.bin file which would back up your folder pair setting.

    Clearly - your needs are better served with SyncBack. SyncToy is an "as-is" software because we just provide it as a simple tool that we think a lot of users find useful and we assume others will use other tools.

    Deepa
    Deepa ( Microsoft Sync Framework)
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 6:32 PM
    Moderator
  • I am a happy user of SyncBack from 2brightsparks, having started with the free version, and graduated to the paid versions, I can vouch for this product.

    What puzzles me is why people want to create "Me Too" products, when perfectly good ones exist. Why not instead develop something different and useful?

    Anyway, this post is meant to be +ve, just to say SyncBack is great, and encourage the Microsoft guys to bring out other useful tools for us all.

    Cheers, paul
    - paul W7 on: Asus P6T SE i920 | Intel Bad Axe Core 2 Duo | Lenovo X200T
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 9:47 PM
  • Hi Greg -

    I am sorry that you are having issues using SyncToy as is - let me take a stab at answering  some of your pain points

    Eg I had already manully copied a large backup folder from one hard disk to another. So I set Synctoy (as recommended in the help instructions) to do an "Echo operation", but the end result was files left in the destination backup that should have been deleted.
    -> Since you have copies on the destination side that the source has never seen - it has no way of knowing that those files should be deleted. This is very much expected behaviour - we will only delete files that have explicitly been deleted, or we could end up losing data for our users.

    So then I thought I would delete the destination backup and allow Synctoy to create a new one. Again using the Echo setting, it only backed up 3 folders and 100 or so files out of 114Gb and 10000 files!. The Preview and logs gave no indication of why this was.
    -> This is the one that puzzles me the most - we have had users complain about SyncToy failing too easily ( we put it a fix for that ) but never has someone reported that we do not sync the files with no warning. What kind of files or what kind of settings did you have on the folder pair.

    So perhaps I am using the wrong setting? I then tried using the Synchronisation setting, and (as the backup was now empty) it started deleting all the original critical files!!!
    -> I am guessing you just changed the option. Interestingly this seems to indicate that on your previous sync, we did think that we sync'ed all the files over. Like I mentioned above - I have never seen a case where so many files were not sync'ed but we magically sync'ed metadata for that.

    Scheduling is not built in , you must navigate the complexities of the Windows Task Scheduler.
    -> This is a big ask that we have not had time to do - perhaps in the future.

    You cannot back up the Synctoy settings, if you need to use a new hard drive or re-install Windows (which NEVER happens), you need to start from the beginning.
    -> You could actually backup the %localappdata%\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0\SyncToyDirPairs.bin file which would back up your folder pair setting.

    Clearly - your needs are better served with SyncBack. SyncToy is an "as-is" software because we just provide it as a simple tool that we think a lot of users find useful and we assume others will use other tools.

    Deepa
    Deepa ( Microsoft Sync Framework)
    Hi Deepa

    Thank you for your response. Overall it seems to me that unlike the methodology used by other programs such as Syncback, Synctoy relies on building those hidden data files in the 2 folders after the fact to correlate its backup strategy. So when I try to do something that to me the layman, seems logical, and which works under Syncback et al, it does not work using Synctoy

    Kudos to Microsoft for at least gaving a go I guess, and apologies for the bitterness in my post, but I just think Synctoy needs a major overhaul to be a truly useful and safe program for the average user. For the enthusiast who is knowledgeable and has the time to work around it's shortcomings then it is probably fine.

    But in 2009 I don't think that software developers should be producing any application that has such an expectation - it's just not good enough.

    Kind Regards

    Greg

    Thursday, October 22, 2009 12:03 AM
  • Just thought I'd mention that I've had similar problems with Synchback - the free version - with it not backing up all files etc. Doesn't seem like any of these are perfect yet.  I've gone back to Norton Ghost but even that has it's own problems etc.

    John S
    Thursday, October 22, 2009 2:20 PM