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  • SyncToy hazard

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      • #2307672 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Strange, very strange!
        I have been using SyncToy 2.1 for years to backup 4 folders to an exterior USB docked HDD. As those of you who have used Synctoy know it pairs an original folder with a folder in a backup location and sync the backup folder with the original. (there are 3 schemes one may chose form I only use ‘echo’).
        This has worked just fine for years, I have two drives I use always setting them to drive M in disk management if need be as windows tends to assign D to one or the other of them. I have two sets of 4 folders pairs, one set for each drive.

        Yesterday I went to do my usual sync and got an error message from Synctoy that said it could not find the target folder. (The jpg shows the wording of the message as an example). I checked and the M drive was present as M, I checked to see if I had used the correct folder pair and noticed some folder pairs were listed with the target as the same drive letter as my source drive (H) but pointing to a correct folder structure for the M drive but pointing to a nonexistent location on my H drive. I reloaded Synctoy and now all targets were point to the H drive.

        I tried a repair install of Synctoy and a reboot to no avail. Checking further I found config files in C:\Users\xxxx\AppData\Local\Microsoft\SyncToy\2.0. (%localappdata%\microsoft\synctoy\2.0). One called ‘SyncToyDirPairs.bin’ seemed a likely place to investigate. Indeed looking in text mode there were ‘H’s where there should have been “M”s. I edited the file but it did not take. There is no option within the program to change drive letters. I am resolved to recreate my backup scheme but am still curious how the seemingly impossible happened.

        The MS d/l site lists improvements, one of which seems a possible culprit: Dynamic Drive Letter Assignment: Drive letter reassignment will now be detected and updated in the folder pair definition. ”

        I made my way to the help file ( yes only 11 years ago there were still helpful help files !!). Dynamic Drive Letter Assignment is supposed to accommodate
        changing drive letters but in this case seems to have stuck on the wrong one. I imagine if I had the same backup directory on my H drive it would have happily backed up to the wrong location.

        This seems to have been a known problem.
        https://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/b5846da8-220d-4d3d-a3c3-cc2c0ed6fb36/lost-all-folder-pairs?forum=synctoy

        Dynamic Drive Letter Assignment had never worked correctly as far as I know. I would like to turn it off or run the commandline version of synctoy.
        Regrettably only one folder pair can be specified with the command line synctoy. It seems to be possible to use the GUI version with multiple folder pairs. This might actually save some time.

        I know there will not be an MS solution I just want to let folk know about this problem. If I had lost my H drive and it had the directory structure Synctoy was looking for I would never have known I was backing up in the wrong location until that location (H drive) was lost to me.

        BTW
        I am considering the much mentioned ‘Karen’s Replicator’. 😐

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2307708 Reply
        PKCano
        Da Boss

        I published a tutorial on Karen’s Replicator several years ago. With screenshots. Maybe in Tools?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2307887 Reply
        BATcher
        AskWoody_MVP

        I stopped using SyncToy very many years ago when a network glitch causes its source drive to become unavailable, and SyncToy replicated <nothing> all over my target drive, removing all the target files and folders.  This was not the action I had expected, and it made me cross.

        Ever since then, I have been a very happy user of SyncBack SE…

        BATcher

        Ascetics go without, mystics go within.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2307923 Reply
          wavy
          AskWoody Plus

          BATcher
          It looks like the free version offers what I would need, what advantages do you find for the SE edition (besides the satisfaction of supporting good s/w) ?
          I will take a look at both SyncBackFree and Karen’s Replicator. I imagine for my seemingly simple needs either would suffice.

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2307896 Reply
        NaNoNyMouse
        AskWoody Lounger

        I’ve been using SyncToy for years, and I’ve only ever had one bad experience with it

        I can’t now remember the precise details, but I think it was in the early days of using it, and I’d selected the “Synchronise” option, and then blithely deleted some files from the target drive in the name of tidy housekeeping or something

        Of course, SyncToy then helpfully deleted them from the source drive too, thus losing all trace of those particular files

        I only ever use “Echo” or “Contribute” nowadays…

      • #2308033 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Yes, WordPress, I am sure I wanted to do that. Why do you ask?

        I use the open-source Syncthing, and it has worked very well. One of its features is that it can be easily set to store the old versions of files that are overwritten or removed (you can pick how many old versions it will keep). When you’re satisfied the sync went as expected, you can delete the backup folder(s).

        Syncthing has Linux, MacOS, and Windows versions. The base package does not come with a GUI of its own by default… it uses a web browser to interact with the service. I have mine set to launch the browser GUI when I start the service (which I can do from the application/”Start” menu), and I also have the web GUI linked on my browser’s home page to easily revisit it when the service is already running and I’ve closed the browser since it started.

        The Syncthing website also lists a Windows frontend, but I have never used that, so I cannot comment on how good it is.  There is a GTK frontend for it that gives it its own GUI in Linux, and I used that for a while, but the web GUI works well, and has a few features the GTK frontend lacks, so I just use that now. I normally would prefer a program with a native GUI (and GTK is sort of native in KDE… it’s bilingual, so it speaks GTK as well as its native Qt), but this one’s browser GUI won me over. It’s simple and easy to use, at least as much as it can be for a feature-complete sync program.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.20.3 User Edition)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
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