Hardware

Save and back up files in one click with FolderWatch for the Mac

If you're looking for a little extra file security for yourself or your users, FolderWatch for the Mac allows you to save and back up files in one click. Derek Schauland has an overview of this app.

Have you ever wished there was a way to ensure that all of the changes to the file you are working on were backed up as soon as the file was saved? Having a save that wrote twice with no extra help from you would certainly add protection for your files.

Using Folder Watch should be right up your alley if you want to automatically back up files that you use.

How does it work?

Once you install the application and go through an introductory wizard, you can begin specifying the folders to watch and the destinations to park them in. The main window of FolderWatch is shown in Figure A.

Figure A

FolderWatch
From the main window, click the plus sign to specify the folder you wish to monitor and the destination location where the items will be copied as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Specifying source and destination folders

Once the folder is changed, the files within the folder are copied to the destination as long as the watch job is running. When jobs are added to FolderWatch, the jobs are disabled. To start the monitor, right-click the item in the list and select Start. Once this is done the files in the source will be copied to the destination.

In addition to the simple source to destination copy monitor, has some advanced capabilities including the following:

  • Skip Files: Allows any number of files within the directory to be skipped. Wildcards such as *.xlsx or Word *.doc will skip all Excel files and Documents with Word in the file name.
  • Delete files in destination that do not exist in the source: Remove files in the destination that are not found in the source. Use this carefully.
  • Overwrite files with newer modification dates: Files modified in the source will be overwritten in the destination.
  • Start automatically when FolderWatch opens: Allow this rule to be enabled when the application starts.

The advanced options are available in the properties of the FolderWatch rule under the advanced section.

FolderWatch can be configured to start at login and default rules can be created to skip certain files regardless of rule. The Start Automatically feature makes the tool more useful by ensuring that it is running when it's needed. Preferences for FolderWatch are shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Preferences for FolderWatch

Who should consider using FolderWatch?

I am not sure which way I am leaning with this review as it would be useful for both IT pros and non-professional computer users. Because backup can be a chore for many users, having an application that just does it as soon as items are saved is a bit of a miracle application.

Where do I get it and what does it cost?

FolderWatch is available in the Mac app store for $4.99. Given the ability of the application to store additional copies of files on other media or remote storage, it is definitely worth considering. Unfortunately, there is no demo license for the application, but the low price still seems worthwhile.

What's the bottom line?

The ease of customization and filtering rules makes FolderWatch very user-friendly, regardless of skill level. Being able to create off-site copies or at least copies on external hard disks is a great way to keep additional copies, just in case. Would your files be kept safer with a behind the scenes copy? Would you use it yourself or recommend it to friends and family who tend to "lose" files? Share your comments!

About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

1 comments
Ed19kings
Ed19kings

I know it's not here yet, but the new OS X lion will have this built in with Versions