SyncToy

Ever since my little hard drive incident last month, I’ve become more concerned with… you know… backing up my stuff. While the photos are my main concern, I also am sick of re-downloading or re-ripping my entire music collection whenever I screw up. So I purchased an external drive that could be configured as RAID 1 array to act as my real backup solution. Once a week I would copy everything new up to it and then shut it down to prevent any shenanigans. The only problem was how to limit the backups to just the new and updated files – no matter where in the directory structure they are located.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a Microsoft power tool called SyncToy that does exactly what I want. Not being content to hand my backup scheme over to a stable piece of software, I skipped directly to their beta for version 2. I can’t really compare it to the old version, but I will say that this new one kicks ass.

I’ve already set up 3 pairs of folders to accomplish certain tasks. One syncs the music folders on my external drive that I take with me to work with my home computer. Now I can make changes at home and at work and know that everything will transfer properly. But with the other two folders, I just want a one way sync. I used the “echo” function, which will replicate any changes to the photo and video directories on my external drive to the backup device. And today, when I knocked the external drive over, I only had a mild heart attack as I knew all of the important data was already synced.

6 comments

  1. Nicole says:

    I’m in love with Time Machine, the new Mac offering in Leopard. I bought a 250 GB external drive, reformatted off all the windows crap, and plugged it in. took about a day to back up my whole computer (about 56GB – my hard drive is 80 GB), and now it backs up changes only. It keeps data for every hour for the current day, then keeps a daily backup for the current week, and a weekly backup for as long as there’s room on the drive. And all in the background. It’s pretty sweet :)

    Prior to this, i’d had my computer for going on 5 years without a backup! yeesh. Now i need to get my data off my laptop from Stevens before it decides never to start again. It’s a 1998 Compaq that I already killed a hard drive on once :-P

    Enjoy your new software!

  2. Thom says:

    So, Leopard is working well for you? I only ask because this is the first Mac release that I’ve heard nothing but negatives about.

    I think Vista has a backup program more like Time Machine built-in, but since I disconnect the drives used a lot I needed something more manual. My hope is that once version 2 is stabilized, they’ll integrate it with the built-in Sync Center for Vista.

  3. Thom says:

    No problem, I was actually going to e-mail you tonight to ask if you justed wanted to meet in front of the club or what. I’m definitely still up for it.

  4. Nicole says:

    So far I’ve had zero complaints about Leopard. I’m not exactly a “power user” but to me the data management is fantastic. I found that a lot of negative reviews i read were simply Mac critics fishing for anything bad they could get their hands on, while “normal” users like me love it. Had no issues with the upgrade, and it certainly delivers on the “ooh shiny” that made me a Mac user in the first place :)

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