Creating Backups With SyncToy

This article is part of Windows Vista Backup Strategies For Home Users

   SyncToy is a free backup program from Microsoft. The newest version, v2.0 Beta is the best free backup program I've used. It's fast, easy to configure, and can be scheduled.

   I use SyncToy to backup my mp3's, pictures, and movies. The locations vary from another hard drive on the same computer, to an external hard drive, to the different computers around the network.

   The first step is to download: SyncToy v2.0 Beta, and the SyncToy v2.0 White Paper which will give you a nice overview of the program as well as a few helpful tidbits of info.

   To begin open SyncToy. The first thing I would like you to notice is the Help menu. SyncToy Help has a lot of answers, Learn How to Schedule SyncToy will show you what you need to do to add your backup as a Scheduled Task in Vista. Back in the main screen, to create a backup click the Create New Folder Pair button.




Browse to the folder(s) or file(s) you want to back up. This can be an internal or external drive, or network location. In this example I choose a folder on another computer. Click Next


Type of Backup - Here are the short explanations. If you need to know more, click on More information.

 - Synchronize: New and updated files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other.

 - Echo: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.

 - Contribute: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames on the left are repeated on the right. No deletions.  

   In this example I choose Echo because I want the destination folder to contain the same files as the one I am backing up. Click Next.



Name it and click Next


   After the backup is created it will take you to the screen below. You can change a few things by clicking on Change options... towards the bottom of the screen. Because what I'm backing up isn't a system folder I chose to exclude certain types of files (I would recommend most people NOT choose Exclude read-only files). I also made sure that deleted files went into the Recycle Bin, just to be on the safe side. Click Ok when you are finished.


   Before your first run I recommend you do a trial run. To do this open the folder pair and choose Preview. It'll check everything out and show you exactly what will happen if you Run the backup. In this case it is adding 2 files. If everything looks good go ahead and click Run.





Scheduling SyncToy

This comes straight from the Help menu:

To schedule a task using the operating system:

From the Start menu, select All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Task Scheduler.
Select Create Basic Task in the Actions pane on the right.
Add a Name and Description and select Next.
Choose when you want the task to start and select Next.
Choose date/times (if applicable) to run task and select Next.
Choose Start a Program option and select Next.
Select Browse and locate the SyncToyCmd.exe.
Type "-R" in the Add Arguments textbox. –R all by itself will run all folder pairs that are active for run all. If you want to run just a single folder pair, add –R“My Pair” to the end of the command line.

Note: there is a space before the hyphen but not one after the R. If the folder pair name contains a space, surround it with quotation marks, as the example above shows. For another example, assume that SyncToy is in the folder named C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.0\ and that you want to run a folder pair named "My folder pair." Enter the command line as follows, including the quotation marks: "C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.0\SyncToyCmd.exe" -R"My folder pair." Note that there are two sets of quotation marks in this case: one is around the path to the SyncToy program file and the other surrounds the folder pair name. 

*Authors note - You should actually run the task once before you schedule it.

That's it! 

Windows Vista Backup Strategies For Home Users
Article Index

I. Main Page
   A. Introduction
   B. The Basics
   C. Links

II. Partitioning And Organizing Your Files
   A. Move Your Documents Folder
   B. Partitioning using Vista’s Built-In Tool
   C. Partitioning using Acronis Disk Director

III. Creating Disk Images
   A. Vista's Windows Complete PC Backup And Restore
   B. Acronis True Image

IV. Backing Up And Restoring Parts Of The System
   A. Windows Vista System Restore
   B. Driver Rollback
   C. Passwords and Software Keys

V. Backing Up Data - Vista's Built-In Tools
   A. Windows Vista Backup And Restore Center
   B. Shadow Copies

VI. Backing Up Data - 3rd Party Tools
   A. SyncToy v2.0 Beta
   B. Second Copy 7

VI. Program Specific Backups
   A. Outlook
   B. Thunderbird
   C. Internet Explorer & Firefox favorites



Software I Use


I use True Image 2011 for all my OS backups and Disk Director 11.0 for all my partitioning requirements.

TweakHound readers often get a discount off Acronis Products. Check the links for more info.

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