Sync Files Across Drives Or Computers

Published Date
01 - Aug - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2006
Sync Files Across Drives Or Computers
Most of us have more data than we can mentally keep track of. Some of this is important enough to warrant a regular backup. That apart, you may also need to work on some files at both home and office, for example-and therefore need to keep them in sync, which you can do using backup and syncing software. Your backup media can be a pen drive or an external hard drive so you can carry data around. Let's take a look at backing up and synchronising using a free, feature-rich software called SyncBack.
What you need
Your backup media could be anything-let's use an external hard drive-and the Syncback software, which you can download from www.2brightsparks .com/assets/software/ Extract the file and run SyncBack_ Setup.exe to install Syncback.

Sync Vs. Backup
A "backup" just creates a copy of the source directory in a destination directory, irrespective of the time the files were created. A sync (synchronisation) process, on the other hand, can compare the source and destination files and update either one of them with the latest copy. Say you take a backup, then go home and work on some files on the backup drive. When you return to work and sync your data, your work files will be updated with the changes you made at home. The sync process is obviously the more intelligent of the two: it's the smart way of doing things. Using synchronisation, you can ensure that your data is always up to date in every place-with all changes being saved on your home computer, office computer, and also your backup drive.

Getting Started
When you open SyncBack for the first time, you will be prompted to create a profile for either synchronising or backing up. You can select between the backup and synchronise settings according to your preference-clicking on any one option will give you a description at the bottom of the window. Choose either of the two-depending on whether you just need to back up or also need to sync-and continue.

Choose your backup option

You can set a profile with "rules" such that the copy happens only if the files are modified or happen irrespective of modified date or just update missing files in either or both folder.

Next, you select the source folders (the folders you want to back up or synchronise) and the destination folder (where the backup will be stored).

Using The Sync Feature
For the task at hand, which is to update the source and destination directories such that work done on two different computers is "in sync," you'll need to choose the option "Synchronise source directories files and sub directories with the destination directory".

Every backup action is clearly explained

Thus, if you have file1 and file2 in the source directory, and your destination directory is empty, the files will be copied to your external hard disk. Now, let's say you carry this external drive to another machine and add file3 and file4, and modify file2. When you sync again, the contents of the source and destination are different, so file3 and file4 will be copied to the source. As regards file2, you can choose whether or not it is copied to the source by setting the options under "Advanced". There are many options here, but they are all self-explanatory.

If you want only certain file types-or files with a particular name-to be copied, you can set this in the options under the Filters tab. For example, if you only want to copy .doc and .jpg files , you can specify these in "Files to copy", and if you do not want some file types copied, then set them under "Files NOT to copy".

Doing A Test Run
If you are unsure of the results that your settings will produce, you can simulate a run wherein the files will not be actually moved, but where you get a report of what would have happened had the task been executed. You can view the results and, if you're satisfied, "Run" the operation.

The Expert Mode
At the bottom of the SyncBack window is a button called "Expert". When you click on this, an array of tabs appear, which give you more features to fine-tune your backup process. For example, you can cram your backup into a Zip file to save space, or have SyncBack e-mail you a report after an operation, or even have your backup done on an FTP site. For most people, the "Easy" mode is sufficient.

Restoring Data
In a situation where you've backed up something and lose the original, no fear: just click on the Restore button in the SyncBack window to move data from the destination to the source. If files with the same name exist in the two folders, the copying of those files will be in accordance with the setting you chose while backing up.

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