[Windows] Best free file and folder sync software

Here on dotTech we have already covered best free cloud storage services, services that can be used not only to backup and remotely access or share files but also for the purposes of syncing files and folders across multiple computers and devices. However, sometimes there is a need to sync files and folders locally on the same computer: from drive to drive, partition to partition, folder to folder, or even from network share to network share. And for that reason is why file and folder sync software exist, to provide users with the ability to sync files and folders locally as opposed to across computers and devices. This article looks at the best free (local) file and folder sync software for Windows. Read on to learn more.

This review is part of our Best Free Windows Software section. Check out more articles on the best free Windows programs by clicking here.

BEFORE WE BEGIN

As already mentioned, this article focuses on the ability to sync files locally, from drive to drive, partition or partition, or folder to folder (including network shares). If you want the ability to sync files across multiple computers or devices, check out dotTech’s review of best free cloud storage services. With local syncing, files are copied from folder to folder or from drive to drive in order to keep the content of a pair(s) of folders consistent.

For the purposes of this review, tests were carried out to give an idea of the competency of the software but please note that the testing carried out was not carried out under strict scientific conditions and should not be taken as an absolute indication of a piece of software’s worth. In other words, we didn’t exactly follow the scientific method.

That said, testing was carried out on an Acer Aspire 5315 with an Intel T7500 2.2GHz processor (4MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB), 2GB DDR2 RAM, and a 500GB Hitachi Travelstar Hard drive. The testing was actually quite simple – I synchronized a folder containing 2.5GB worth of files between my internal laptop hard drive (source) and an external 160GB Hitachi hard drive (destination or target). I looked to ensure files were properly synced/copied and noted the time each local sync program took to synchronize the files. I then placed another 200MB worth of files into the source folder and noted the time it took for the software being tested to complete the syncing of the added files. Finally the time taken for the program to complete a sync after deleting all of the files located in the source folder was also noted. The faster the sync times the better. Of course, this was not the only factor that was taken into consideration while selecting our number one pick but time taken to sync was an important one.

Now, after all of that bookkeeping, let’s get on with it. Here are dotTech’s picks for the best free (local) file and folder sync software available for Windows.

Table of Contents [FreeFileSync vs Synchredible vs SyncFolders vs Synkron]

Best Free Local File and Folder Sync Software

FreeFileSync ScreenProgram Name: FreeFileSync

Developer: ZenJu

Download Size: 5.94MB

Version Reviewed: 5.18

Supported OS: Windows 7, Windows 2003, Windows 2000, Windows Vista,Windows XP

Portable Version Available: Yes

Approximate Memory Usage When Idle: 5.30MB

Time to complete initial sync (copying): 1 min, 50 secs

Time taken to complete secondary sync (addition): 12 secs

Time to complete tertiary sync (deletion): 1 sec

Pros

  • Can do one way and two way syncs
  • You can setup as many syncs as you like
  • Works with internal hard drives, external and USB hard drives, and network shares — you can sync files between any folders on internal/external and USB/network folders
  • Multiple folder pair support
  • Ability to automate syncs
  • Can include/exclude files via filters
  • Allows you to create custom syncs using your own rules, if you don’t like the rules built into the program
  • Allows for saving of sync configurations, meaning you can easily reuse at a later time and date
  • Users can compare folder pairs before syncing
  • Will copy locked files using Windows Shadow Copy
  • Uses Windows Task Scheduler for scheduling tasks, which is a very good thing because that means FreeFileSync does not need to be “always on” to run scheduled tasks — it can run itself only when it needs to be run
  • Supports Unicode
  • Is portable and open-source

Cons

  • Is portable but must be “installed” (select portable version during installation); once “installed”, the resulting EXE is portable which you can copy + paste anywhere you want
  • 2013-07-26_133949Comes bundled with bloatware during installation; you will be asked to accept or not accept third-party software to which you should select ‘I do not accept’ to avoid installing crapware (see screenshot to right). Be sure to keep an eye not to avoid downloading and installing unnecessary programs.

Discussion

FreeFileSync is very straightforward to use and gets users on their way to syncing up desired folders rather quickly. Some persons have complained that the program’s user interface is a bit over complicated but I personally am not of this view – it certainly is less complicated than Synchredible in terms of setting up a sync.

On the left of the main program window is the compare button. Compare well, ‘compares’ a folder pair showing you any similarities or differences between the particular pair. To the right of the compare button is a settings button which allows users to customize how exactly files are compared – based on file names or otherwise.

FreeFileSync also offers the facility for users to open saved sync configurations, to save a sync configuration as well as to create a batch job in order to automate the sync process. The most important aspect(s) of the program are of course the synchronization options. The options for folder syncing are as follows:

  • Two way: Identifies and propagates changes on both sides. Deletions, moves and conflicts are detected automatically through the use of a database
  • Mirror: The ‘right’ or target folder is modified exactly to match the contents of the ‘left’ or source folder
  • Update: Copies new or updated files to the right folder
  • Custom: Allows you to configure your own synchronization rules

In terms of error handling, the choice is yours; either choose to display a popup or ignore any errors altogether. Additionally, items which are deleted during a sync can either be permanently deleted, moved to the recycle bin or stored in a user defined location. A file list of the files which are synced can be exported for reference purposes. Also there is a fail-safe copy option where files are written to a temporary location thus guaranteeing a consistent state even in the case of a fatal error.

Some other advanced options include choosing whether to copy locked files as well as the option to select whether you want to transfer file and folder permissions when carrying out syncs. Users can also filter certain files from being synced.

My only issue with FreeFileSync is that it comes with bloatware bundled during installation. However, you can easily avoid the bloatware and the program is portable once installed meaning you never have to re-install it again — just copy + paste the program files on whatever computer you want to use them on. Plus, with its ease of use and fast sync times, you will be hard pressed not to recognize this program for the excellent piece of sync software it is.

Runner Up

Synchredible screenProgram Name: Synchredible

Developer: Ascomp Software

Download Size: 5.2 MB

Version Reviewed: 4.005

Supported OS: Windows XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7/8

Portable Version Available: No

Approximate Memory Usage When Idle: 2.49 MB

Time to complete initial sync (copying): 4 mins, 43 secs (with verification integrity); 3 mins, 37 secs (without integrity verification)

Time taken to complete secondary sync (addition): 23 secs (with verification) ; 20.75 secs (without integrity verification)

Time to complete tertiary sync (deletion): 7 secs

Discussion

Synchredible is a thorough and yet easy to use file sync program. It offers users several options in order to set up a synchronization solution which best suits their needs.

Synchredible operates via a straightforward wizard interface – simply select the options you wish to enable and click next. After selecting the pair of folders that are desired to be synchronized, users are then asked to select whether they wish to implement one way syncing, either in the direction of folder 1 to folder 2 – or vice versa – or two way syncing. I personally selected two way syncing as that best suited my needs – I wanted both folders to be identical with absolutely no differences. Users can choose to sync all files and can specify if they want to skip files with identical file stamps. The option is also provided for syncing only newer files, neglecting files with older timestamps.

In terms of the deletions aspect of the sync process users can also customize this aspect of the process. You have the choice of deleting files present in the target directory but not located in the source directory as well as sending deleted files to the recycle bin or moving them to another location. Synchredible also offers several options for neglecting certain files from synchronization such as hidden files or files that you simply hand-picked to leave out of the process.

In addition users can schedule for syncing to occur automatically or at specific scheduled times throughout the week and even after certain system events such as windows starting and on detection of a USB device being plugged in. Another great future is the ability for the user to specify certain actions such as the execution of a file or the opening of a program to be carried out before or after a sync event.

All syncs occurring between a pair of folders are called ‘jobs’ in Synchredibe and these ‘jobs’ can be placed into ‘groups’ of synchronization events which can all be run at once with a single command. Some other special features include being able to export all program options and sync options to a single file. Additionally you can toggle the ability to verify the integrity of files. Error messages can also be supressed during syncs, buffer size can be specified and a time lag for the update of files can be specified.

Synchredible as a well-rounded program and provides several options for easily syncing up any pair of folders which you wish to. My only two faults with the program are that setting up the wizard does take a little while to set up when initially setting up the program. It is not difficult but it took time to examine all of the options being offered. In addition, the sync times for Synchredible were a bit longer than the other offerings reviewed here today. However, given the great functionality offered, the wait is well worth it.

Honorable Mention 1

SyncFolders screenshotProgram Name: SyncFolders

Developer: Gert-Jan Weerheim

Download Size: 1.05MB

Version Reviewed: 3.2.154

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8

Portable Version Available: No

Approximate Memory Usage When Idle: 9.28MB

Time to complete initial sync (copying): 3 mins, 8 secs

Time taken to complete secondary sync (addition): 19 secs

Time to complete tertiary sync (deletion): N/A — is not supported by program, I had to do it manually

Discussion

SyncFolders is a breeze to use and easy to set up. Its main window consists of two tabs which are Rules and Processing.

The Rules tab allows users to set up all of the parameters which specify how exactly they want syncs to be carried out including the selection of the folder pairs to be synced while the Processing tab displays information about the current sync being carried out such as the number of files to be synchronized as well as the time elapsed over a particular sync. Under this tab, users can also display details about a sync, see any errors which occurred, scan for similarities or differences between a folder pair and this tab is also where you initiate syncs from.

Now back to the Rules tab. SyncFolders carries out syncs based on a ‘rules’ system. For each folder pair you want to synchronize you specify a new set of ‘rules’. The options for creating/editing rules files are as follows:

  • Create new rule
  • Edit rule
  • Copy rule
  • Delete rule
  • Rearrange rules
  • Renumber rules
  • Select all rules in the list
  • Clear all rules

The rule creation process is quite simple. Firstly, you specify the source and target folders and choose whether or not to include subfolders or not. Then you specify how exactly you want syncs to be carried out. The copy option allows for new and changed files in the source folder to be copied to the target folder. The Back up option creates a backup of the source folder. With this option, new and changed files in the source folder are copied to the target folder. Orphaned files and folder in the target folder are deleted and a database is created after the first sync of this type in order to keep track of any changes made overtime. The Synchronize option allows for new and changed files to be copied from the source folder to the target folder ad vice versa. A database is also created with this option after the first sync in order to track additions, changes and deletions made in both folders.

Users can choose to exclude certain files from being synced by specifying filters, choose what to do when sync confilicts pop up, specify what to do with deleted/overwritten files and are also provided with some advanced options. Users can choose to synchronize files which only exists in both folders of a pair, choose whether to attempt to synchronize locked files as well as specify whether they wish to verify sync results through hashing. Commands can also be input to be run before or after syncs.

Although not as customizable as FreeFileSync or Synchredible, SyncFolders has all of the options the average user will need to sync their folders – yes that sounds about right. Using no frills programs like this one is always a pleasure.

Honorable Mention 2

Syncron ScreenProgram Name: Synkron

Developer: Matus Tomlein

Download Size: 5.32MB

Version Reviewed: 1.6.2

Supported OS: Windows XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7/8

Portable Version Available: Yes

Approximate Memory Usage When Idle: 8.41MB

Time to complete initial sync (copying): 4 mins

Time taken to complete secondary sync (addition): 18 secs

Time to complete tertiary sync (deletion): 3 mins

Discussion

Synkron’s tabbed interface allows users to quickly find the options they need to set up successful sync.

The first task users need to carry out when starting Synkron for the first time is to create a new sync tab — which can be considered a secondary tab under the first functional tab which is the Synchronize tab. The two tabs before this one are tabs which add the secondary tabs to Synchronize. Multiple sync tabs can be created, allowing for multiple folder pairs to be synced. A sync tab can be closed at any time. After specifying source and target folders, users can analyse the two folders to check for similarities or differences and then go on to carry out a sync. There are also some advanced features which can be enabled such as ‘propagation of deletions’ which simply ensures that files deleted from the source folder are also deleted from the target folder.

The next tab is the Multisync tab which allows for the syncing of multiple source folders to one destination folder – quite the unique feature. It can of course be replicated by setting up multiple folder pairs each with the same destination but this way is less roundabout.

After Multisync is the Syncview tab. This simply shows users an overview of Synchronize and Multisync.

Scheduler allows for the automation of the synchronization process and Restore shows any files which were overwritten during a synchronization which are available for restoring and allows for them to be restored.

Blacklist allows certain files to be exempted from being synced and the Filters tab allows users to choose what type of file they wish to synchronize. Simply select the extensions of the types of files you want synchronized and only those types will be.

Overall Synkron is very well laid out and should be of great assistance to anyone wishing to sync folders.

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53 comments

  1. cassius

    Ashraf says that, “FreeFileSync also offers the facility for users to open saved sync configurations, to save a sync configuration …”

    I have not found how to establish and save multiple sync configurations. I certainly can add paths in the “from” and “to” (left and right) TINY boxes, but the pairs do not remain synchronized.

    In fact, somehow I managed to back up the same folder on my C: drive into two different folders on my backup drive.

    I will very much appreciate any help someone can give me in establishing synchronized “from-to” folder pairs.

    Thank you!

  2. Sys-Eng

    It is best to run FreeFileSync as Administrator. Some features such as file versioning will not work (generate a ton of errors) if the program is not launched with Administrator rights.

  3. Sys-Eng

    I found this test/review to be less than what I have grown to expect here at dotTech. For example the tester, WIlliam, says, “I looked to ensure files were properly synced/copied and noted the time each local sync program took to synchronize the files.” So what did he look at to ensure file integrity? Were file hashes compared? Were both files opened then compared? Who knows?

    I am MUCH more concerned that the file contents are compared and the latest or largest file (sometimes the date/time is wrong) is copied then the target file hash is compared with the source. I truly could not care less that one program takes a few minutes longer to run than another. The data integrity is so much more important that the sync time.

    I also like to know how the best free program compares to the best or popular paid program. Even for an article on free programs, it is good to know how they compare to a licensed program. Sometimes the difference is mainly support but other times the paid program has some very valuable features that the free programs do not offer.

  4. GeroldM

    There is a small synchronize tool called PathSync. And with small I mean 200Kbytes.

    It looks very basic but synchronizes in one or both directions, creates log files and generates an overview from the selected files/folders it is set to synchronize.

    In that overview you are still able to alter the predefined action for each file/folder if you so desire. You can make as many sets as you desire.

    After installing it once, you can take the executable and run it everywhere, so you could consider it portable.

    It only synchronizes after user clicks on the appropriate buttons (‘Analyze’ and ‘Synchronize’), so that is the main disadvantage. That and no real development.

    Why do I keep using it? Because in the filter you can exclude folders as well as files and analyzing for differences in the folders is really fast.

    My use-case is as follows: I synchronize folders on my system against a folder on a Linux file server. A set of folders with a size over 2GByte with over 20.000 files spread over several folder layer depths takes about 10 seconds (100MBit LAN, i5 processor).

  5. MegaManToo

    I disliked FreeFileSync and uninstalled it because it left small hidden db files all over the place wherever it went, quickly making a mess of itself.

    For me, the best free sync program on the planet, hands down, has been and continues to be SyncBackFree by 2BrightSparks:

    http://www.2brightsparks.com/download-syncbackfree.html

    SyncBackFree allows you to Mirror as well as Sync, which puts it in a class above all the rest. Awesome. I can also sync through the HomeGroup DSL LAN shared files on one computer onto another computer thus backing up my pictures, video, and music from one computer to the other.

    Of all the free programs that I have ever acquired, SyncBackFree is clearly my favorite.

  6. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@Giovanni] Did you actually test and use Synchronicity? No offense meant for you man but I’ve noticed you tend to recommend program without actually trying them… so I just want to be clear as to what the situation is here.

    I’m not saying Syncrhonicity is a bad program but I am saying William performed detailed tests of the software recommended to him by dotTechies and based his recommendations on that. No one mentioned Synchronicity, so we will add it to our list for the next update to this article to see how it fairs against our picks so far.

  7. Sputnik

    [@David Roper]

    Hi David !

    You seem to be a little bit depressed with what happened on the comments section of another Ashraf’s article.

    I took a look at it and I think that you do not have any reason to feel that way.

    It’s not because some people doesn’t think the same as you that they are not your friends…

    I am sure that on other occasions some people who disagreed with you in this article will agree with you in another article : we all are neighbors here, on dotTech…

    Regards

  8. David Roper

    [@Sputnik] I didn’t expect a Thank you. My Grandchildren don’t even tell me that.

    And the way I went off on FAX use in 2013, I need to have at least ONE friend on this forum. I lost a lot of my buddies, I think.

    …so as Mr. Rogers used to sing on TV, “Please, won’t you be my neighbor?”

  9. Sputnik

    [@Janet]

    Hi Janet !

    Don’t be afraid to look after the best freewares : they are, in my own experience, often (but not always) better than paid ones.

    I know SwiftCompare which you talk about : I have also downloaded it from GOTD. If you are looking for a free software which compares to it, look after WinMerge, which is very good and does about the same work than SwiftCompare.

    Address of WinMerge : http://winmerge.org/

    Concerning the rest of your question, I would say that you should use the imaging, backup and synchronization programs the way it is mainly conceived for.

    So, if you want to “backup” a whole hard drive or partition (data or operating system), use an imaging software.

    If you want to “backup” files or the content of specific folders, use a backup software.

    If you want to “synchronize data”, use a synchronizing software.

    I know perfectly that you may use a backup software to do synchronisation or a synchronization software to do backup, but you will generally achieve of an easier manner backup or synchronization if you use a software specifically designed for the job.

    Personally, I work this way and I have, installed on my computer, an imaging software, a backup software and a syncchronization software.

    But you will always find someone, somewhere, who will say that he doesn’t work that way.

  10. Janet

    I got SwiftCompare years ago from GAOTD–v.1.3. The latest v. is 1.5.0, so I guess it hasn’t changed much. Would an older for-pay app be likely to still be better than new free apps, or vice-versa? What I’m asking is, does it pay to spend time checking out the free apps here, or is it unlikely that they would be better than paid SwiftCompare…. I used to use it instead of a Backup app, but now I use SwiftCompare just to check if files/folders are identical.

    Also, opinions would be appreciated regarding the relative merits of backing up with backup apps vs. synch apps, particularly for data files (as opposed to system backup, which is probably (?) best done with image backups).

  11. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@David Roper] What smaragdus said. Don’t hold the fact that a program comes with OpenCandy and/or bloatware against it, as long as it isn’t malicious bloatware, because you can simply decline to install the bloatware and never see it again — especially if you use the portable version of FreeFileSync.

    While it would be ideal that no programs have bloatware, in today’s day and age it is highly improbably to want freeware but only freeware with no bloatware. So don’t be scared by it; just always be careful during installation.

  12. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@Mongoplus] I can’t speak for why William didn’t include it but my guess is he didn’t include it because AllWaySync is a) free for non-commercial use only, as opposed to other sync software which can be used for home and business use and b) the free version limits you to 40,000 files per 30/days, which can be a issue for heavy users.

  13. smaragdus

    [@David Roper]
    FreeFileSync contains OpenCandy no matter whether it is downloaded from SourceForge, Softpedia, MajorGeeks, SnapFiles, BetaNews, etc. Yet the installation of unwanted components can be easily avoided- just choose ‘I do not accept’,FreeFileSync isntaller is not tricky in contrast with some other installers.

  14. David Roper

    [@Ashraf] so when Smaragdus says it tries to install Open Candy, is that simply of a matter of where and whom you download it from…and they have added crap to it?

    I’m fine with that – but others may get tricked. I guess we will all get used to that extra install package. CRC on files would help in a review, maybe??

    Whatcha think, my hero?

  15. David Roper

    [@smaragdus] hey, jump in the pot here. Whacha using that’s better?
    I need to be able to copy selected Folders from laptop HD to FlashDrive or external USB HD by sticking it in and clicking something.

    I hate Nagware as much as anybody. I donot mind liteware. Adware is bad too.

    GNU, Sourceware, real homegrown freeware and OpenSource are my faves of course.

    So whatcha use?

  16. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@smaragdus] Oh, you mean it comes with bloatware. Unfortunately, if we were to disregard every freeware that came with bloatware, we would have a very limited pool of soft to select from.

    That said, however, I agree William should have mentioned it his review; I’ve updated the review to reflect that, thank you for pointing it out.

  17. smaragdus

    [@Ashraf]

    No, my comment is not negative. I have FreeFileSync installed by the way. I just wanted to point out that it offers to install components unrelated to application’s functionality- please see the screen-shot I have just made- http://i44.tinypic.com/2j4so01.png

    To quote Softpedia-
    Users are advised to pay attention while installing this ad-supported application:

    · Offers to download or install software or components (OpenCandy) that the program does not require to fully function.

    On the contrary- I am pleased with the article, it mentions some good programs (FreeFileSync included). I just wanted to mention that FreeFileSync installer contains OpenCandy!

  18. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@smaragdus] How is it adware?

    In any case, to everyone their own; so far we have 2 positive comments for FreeFileSync and 1 negative after posting the review. Can’t please everyone, and everyone is welcome to their own opinions.

  19. smaragdus

    I think that the author of this article should mention that FreeFileSync is AD-Ware and that Synchredible is not FreeWare but Nag-Ware. It is a mystery to me how could FreeFileSync be called fast since it is one of the slowest sync programs I have ever tried (I have tested many).

  20. Sputnik

    I agree with the conclusions.

    I would just like to add that you may also use FreeFileSync just to compare the contents of two different folders to know if they are different or not.

    That is a very useful functionality in certains occasions.

  21. Seamus McSeamus

    [@TeXaCo]

    Try Synkron. I have used it previously to keep folders synced between Windows and Fedora/OpenSuse, but it will work just fine in a Linux-to-Linux application. The main reason I’m not still using it is that the GUI is a little too busy for my taste, but that’s a small complaint, really, and it works nicely with plenty of options.

  22. TeXaCo

    When I was running Windows, I found the best sync program to be Syncback.

    Now that I switched to Linux, I have had trouble finding a suitable replacement but Luckybackup seems to be the best one I have tried so far.

  23. Patara

    I’ve been using Bamboo Pro from a GOTD and really like it. They have a free version with limitations. On my new system I’m considering trying FreeFileSync so this review will come in handy to help me make my decision.

  24. David Roper

    [@storageman] Thanks, friend, for doing my planning and thinking for me. Excellent advice and how to. I love portables – first started looking at them for eveything when “Rob from down under” started writing about it. I am hooked now, it’s like old DOS days when everything lived in ONE subdirectory and a BATCH file pointed to it.

  25. storageman

    [@David Roper]
    I have grown my dropbox to 6GB (Free). That provides
    1. “cloud backup” almost instantly
    2. sync of critical files across my 3 computers.
    If you are “small” then the init 2-5GB should be all you need.
    If you need more consider seperating by class (pictures) to google drive or even msft sky drive.
    I have a folder called software in dropbox where I put all my “portable” files so I never have to install on any of the 3 computers and they are instantly available on all 3.
    I do create shortcuts on each computer each pointing to dropbox\software\…exe
    hope this helps

  26. Sputnik

    [@CJCotter]

    The same icon problem exists with free file and folder backup software. The only good and free such backup software I have found which is able to keep the changed icon of folders is Cobian Backup.

    Concerning the syncing programs I have not done any test about the same icon problem.

    If someone did the test and knows a free syncing program which is able to keep a changed icon of folder you are welcome to let it know to us all.

  27. CJCotter

    The problem I have with free Sync programs, is that they do not back up folders I’ve changed with a folder-icon-changer. Some sync programs do not copy the hidden ICO and INI files, while others do, but still return the folder to it’s default manila. If I want my folders copied and preserved exactly as I have them, only the pay-for programs seem to work.

  28. Mhamad Rachini

    I tried all these and more:
    BitTorrent Sync,
    Dropbox,
    BitCasa,
    Cubby,
    Google Drive,
    Skydrive,
    Megacloud,
    Copy,

    But my favorites are:
    1.BitCasa: Backup my ever growing library of Movies, Series, Game ISOs, Application ISOs, very old Personal videos and photos….
    2.Dropbox: Backup my phones camera, critical files, sync between my servers.
    3.BTSync: to transfer files between my Computers fast and send files to my servers
    4.Google Drive: just because i can easily edit word, power point….

  29. Sputnik

    I think that, for this particular kind of software, there is maybe not a “best” of the category.

    All depending on what you intend to do, there will be maybe a “best one” and there will be another one if you intend to do something else.

    On this basis, I think that “FreeFileSync” and “Synchredible” would definitly be amongst the “best”.

    That being said, I am sure that some other syncing softwares would also count amongst the “best” for other uses.

  30. Seamus McSeamus

    I recently began using SyncFolders and find that it works very well. It’s simple to use; set up to work in the middle of the night, and keeps my laptop data synced with my desktop. No fuss. And bonus, the installer is clean – no boxes to untick if you don’t want the toolbar du jour.

    It also offers the option to simply back up folders to another drive, but I have never used it for that purpose.

  31. David Roper

    [@storageman] I am not in your league of TB files but I will devour your advice now. I have food recipes and IT hints and a section of Portable files (25) and my icons each “crafted” with using IrfanView and save as (150). I do not want to use the $5 a month cloud backup services due to the $60 a year expense.

  32. storageman

    http://www.secondcopy.com/ (no association)
    Have been using 2nd copy for years.
    I have tried (and am always looking for something better) just about every “sync” out there.

    My only “complaint” is the logging of the files copies /deleted. I wish there were 2 logs: 1 with just the numbers and the other the actual name.
    When I “clone”, sync, or simple copy, there may be thousands of file names.
    98% of the time I turn off the detail log and turn on summary only.

    One feature (that has saved me multiple times) is that if a file is deleted or written over, the “old” file is copied and I specify the location as well as the number of copies to keep.

    My disk management/backup is simple.
    1. Dropbox for continuous “sync” of critical files
    2. 2nd copy for daily back of most of my files
    3. Zipcloud for cloud backup.

    2nd copy also has an option to “sync” upon detection of file change.
    I do not use this feature since I am a very heavy disk user with TB’s of data with LOTS of changes. The overhead of continuous sync is to high for me. But for most users, 2nd copy would be as good dropbox. 2nd copy would actually be better because there is no size limits.

    I also use Powerdeck sync on occasion because of the GUI, but I wish Powerdesk would ONLY show what folders/files will be copied/moved.

  33. Grantwhy

    FastCopy has an option to sync and it can also be run via a Batch file.

    I use it to sync from a USB drive to a folder on my hard drive (backup in case I lose the USB drive)

    I did try a couple of other (free) sync programs but FastCopy (while basic) lived up to it’s name of being fast.

  34. niko-las

    Three Words – “Free File Sync”. Just install the portable version to avoid the crapware. The portable option is available when you run the main exe. This app is more simple than what initially meets the eye. Its lightweight, simple, fast, accurate and solid. A good article can be found on the makeuseof[dot]com web-site, called “is-freefilesync-better-sync-software-than-microsoft-synctoy-windows”

    I really haven’t tested any others, but I was tempted to try PureSync and SyncBack Free, especially the latter. However, since trying FFS, it exceeded my expectations, therefore I haven’t bothered testing any others.

    Happy testing. I look forward to the article.

  35. Petr

    Hello, I use the Microsoft SyncToy. It offers several modes, works reliably and quickly, and satisfies all my needs. Perhaps I should add that I only use it for syncing my PC to an external disk; I don’t use any smart-phones or tablets cause I just don’t need them.

  36. jjmcmu

    I love AllWaySync.com. The program is free for ‘Moderate’ personal use, but you are required to purchase the pro version if you use it heavily, are a business, government, etc.

    It always has worked well for me and keeps files on a drive and/or multiple drives sync’d as desired.