Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Backing up data using Microsoft SyncToy

When I upgraded my hard drive setup recently, I promised myself that I would start doing proper backing up of my data. Backing up is not new to me, but it wasn’t automatic. I had to do it manually. There were times when I went on for months without backing up the data. But this time it is going to be different.

Basically, there are only 4 folders I have to backup. Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. Everything is inside of those folders. I had been using Microsoft SyncToy for backups, and I’m going to continue using it. It is simple and lightweight.

This is the first of the two part guide of backing up with SyncToy. We will only be looking at how to backup using SyncToy “manually”. In the 2nd article, we will talk about how to automate it so that you can simply “set it and forget it”.

This is the main window of SyncToy application. Looks neat and simple right?


How you backup using SyncToy is easy. You bundle the source folder and destination folder into a folder pair, and you specify how they should sync between each other, and that’s it. After that, you click on the folder pair (you have to name each folder pair btw) and click run. It will first check for changes and then will sync the two folders in that pair.

The following screens show how to create a folder pair. You can create as many folder pairs as you like.

(If you already know how to create a folder pair and do a manual backup using SyncToy, go

Step1: Let’s start creating a folder pair


2. Specify the source folder (Left folder) and the destination folder (Right folder).


3. Choose the backup mode. You can choose one from three modes. Read the short description for each one and decide on one according to your need.


4. Name the folder pair



Now let’s perform the backup and see. We can either Run it straight away, or Preview the changes that are to be made if we backup now. Let’s hit Preview and see.


SyncToy will scan the Left and Right folders and see what changes should be made. It will show you the list of changes in the following manner. There you can choose to perform only a certain set of operations if you have such need.


I will let it perform all the operations. Let’s Run it.


It’s take some time depending on the amount of work it has to do.

So that’s it. Right now, I do this manually on all the folder pairs like once a week. Next article will be able automating this.

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