How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups  

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    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups

    Published by Category: Backup & Restore
    01 Mar 2020
    Designer Media Ltd


    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups


    SyncToy is a FREE application for synchronising file and folders between different data locations/devices. It has a simple graphical interface and logic that makes it very easy to implement a robust backup routine for everyday data files (e.g. documents, music, photo's etc.).

    This tutorial will show you how to:
    • Create simple backups from your computer to an external USB device
    • Execute the backup manually

    SyncToy is probably the easiest way to ensure your important data files are backed up. It caters for the simple needs of novices or less experienced computer users, but also has some powerful features that more experienced users will appreciate.


     Download SyncToy:

    1 You will firstly need to download and install SyncToy. The current version is SyncToy 2.1.

    For 32-bit versions of Windows 10:
    For 64-bit versions of Windows 10:

    2 If you prefer, you can navigate to the Microsoft Download Centre and can choose the download from there:

    Choose:
    • SyncToySetupPackage_v21_x86.exe download for 32-bit versions of Windows 10
    • SyncToySetupPackage_v21_x64.exe download for 64-bit versions of Windows 10

    If you currently use an earlier version of SyncToy, it is strongly recommended that you complete any existing folder synchronisation prior to installing SyncToy 2.1.

    In order to run, SyncToy requires Microsoft Sync Framework 2.0 components. These are included in the SyncToy installation executable download.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-0.png


     Installing SyncToy:

    3 Install SyncToy by double-clicking the downloaded executable file.

    Take note of the important message on the first panel if you are currently using an earlier version of SyncToy. If this is your first installation of SyncToy, you can ignore the message.


    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-1.png

    4 Now finalize the installation by completing the remaining panels as shown below. Once installed, SyncToy only occupies about 1.46 MB of disk space.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-2.png
    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-3.png
    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-4.png


     Understanding the SyncToy Concepts:

    5 When you first open SyncToy, you will be presented with the main panel, as shown below.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-5.png

    6 SyncToy employs simple logic to make effective backups. To use SyncToy you need to understand 3 key concepts:

    • the LEFT folder - the location of the folder you want to backup (e.g. My Music)
    • the RIGHT folder - the location to which the backup is to be made (e.g. external USB drive)
    • the Folder PAIR - the rule describing the backup between the LEFT and RIGHT folder

    Although SyncToy also allows for synchronisation from the RIGHT to LEFT folder if required, the easiest way to understand SyncToy is to remember the basic rule : LEFT folder to RIGHT folder using a FOLDER PAIR.


     Using SyncToy:

    Backing-up or synchronising data using SyncToy involves creating, and then running, one or more folder pairs.

    7 Creating a FOLDER PAIR:

    A From the SyncToy main panel, select the button Create New Folder Pair. Select the LEFT and RIGHT folders using the browsing feature.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-7.png

    B After clicking Next, you will be prompted to select the sychronisation method on the next panel. There are three choices:

    • Echo
      - New and updated (renamed and deleted) files are copied LEFT to RIGHT only
      - Use this option if you want to backup data files one-way, from your computer to an external drive.
    • Synchronize
      - New and updated (renamed and deleted) files are copied BOTH ways
      - Use this option if you want to synchronise data files between two computers, or your computer and an external drive.
    • Contribute
      - New and updated (renamed) files are copied LEFT to RIGHT only. Deleted files are not mirrored.
      - Use this option if you want to backup data files one-way, with the exception of deleted files.

    The Echo option is the easiest method to achieve complete backups, especially for novices. It always follows the basic LEFT to RIGHT SyncToy copy rule.


    How does ECHO work?

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-echo_1.png
    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-echo_2.png
    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-echo_3.png

    How does SYNCHRONIZE work?

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-sync_1.png

    How does CONTRIBUTE work?

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-contri_1.png


    C Select the Echo option.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-8.png

    D Now provide a name for the FOLDER PAIR.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-9.png

    E Click Finish to save the folder pair name. The FOLDER PAIR and its details will be shown on the main SyncToy panel.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-10.png

    F You can place additional conditions, such as wildcards to determine which files should be included or excluded from the folder pair once it is run. By default, all files are included for processing by SyncToy when the folder pair is run.

    Folder pair information is saved to C:\{User}\AppData\Local\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0 as shown below:
    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-14.png

    In order to maintain the folder pair link, a file withe name convention SyncToy_{number}.dat is saved in the root of each folder in the pair.If you delete this file, you will be unable to run the folder pair.


    8 Running a FOLDER PAIR:

    A From the SyncToy main panel, select the folder pair you wish to run. The example below shows two folder pairs. The can select as many pairs as are available, or select individual pairs as required.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-11.png

    B You can use the Preview All option to preview the actions of the selected folder pair.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-12.png

    C You Run All option will execute the folder pair to create the backup.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-13.png

    SyncToy actions are saved to SyncToyLog.txt in C:\{User}\AppData\Local\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0



    That's all there is to SyncToy - if you don't already have a data file backup strategy, then I hope you find this useful.

    Regards,
    Golden

  1. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,434
    Windows 10 Pro
       #1

    Nice, Colin!
      My Computer

  2. f14tomcat's Avatar
    Posts : 53,211
    Multi-boot Windows 10 - RTM, RP, Beta, and Insider
       #2

    Very nice Tut, Colin. A suggestion, if I may............

    I use it to backup my User Folder. In order to avoid permission errors on system files, I also have these options selected. I exclude Hidden and System files, and de-select the AppData Folder.

    How to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-2020-03-01_10h32_16.pngHow to Use SyncToy for Data Backups-2020-03-01_10h31_04.png
      My Computers

  3. Golden's Avatar
    Posts : 1,635
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Cheers @f14tomcat - I’ll add that it
      My Computers

  4. f14tomcat's Avatar
    Posts : 53,211
    Multi-boot Windows 10 - RTM, RP, Beta, and Insider
       #4

    Golden said:
    Cheers @f14tomcat - I’ll add that it
      My Computers

  5. SoFine409's Avatar
    Posts : 1,287
    Win10 Pro
       #5

    @Golden well done. Thank you.
      My Computers

  6. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Posts : 5,117
    Windows 10 Home 20H2
       #6

    Can it be run via Task Scheduler?
      My Computer

  7. Golden's Avatar
    Posts : 1,635
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Matthew Wai said:
    Can it be run via Task Scheduler?
    I believe so. I know it was possible in Windows 7, but I don't know enough about Task Manager in Windows 10 so say so confidently, hence I left it out of the tutorial.

    See:
    SyncToy - Backup User Data - Windows 7 Help Forums
      My Computers

  8. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Posts : 5,117
    Windows 10 Home 20H2
       #8

    Golden said:
    I don't know enough about Task Manager in Windows 10
    I mean Task Scheduler, not Task Manager. They are two different things.
      My Computer

  9. Golden's Avatar
    Posts : 1,635
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Matthew Wai said:
    I mean Task Scheduler, not Task Manager. They are two different things.
    Ahhh...my mistake. I meant Task Scheduler too.
      My Computers


 
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