It isn't always easy to get people to back up their systems. Sometimes end users are being lazy, but sometimes the problem might be that the backup tool is difficult to use. A free, volunteer-developed tool called Synchronicity can have end users backing up (with scheduled backups) with ease without having to spend all day configuring those backups.
- Easy to use interface
- Backup easily to USB
- Scheduled backups (with automatic rescheduling of missed backups)
- One-way incremental
- Two-way incremental
- Multi-profile support
- Plenty of documentation (including hidden features)
- Advanced features (such as dynamic destinations, time offsets, loose timing, file size comparison, and more)
Download the package with the installer included, double click it, and walk through the installation. Once it's installed, there will be a new menu entry in the Start menu called Create Software. In that menu, you will find the Create Synchronicity sub-menu, which includes the Create Synchronicity executable (and the uninstaller). Click Create Synchronicity to start the setup process.
Create a new backupWhen you start Synchronicity, you will see the main window (Figure A). From this window, click the New Profile button, which will ask for a new profile name. Figure A
This window will list all configured profiles. Multiple profiles can be saved for various backup jobs.Once the new profile name is added, the Profile Settings window will open (Figure B). In this new window, you must configure the following:
- From: Target to backup.
- To: Destination to backup to.
- Subdirectories: Subdirectories for both From and To.
- Synchronization Method: Which way is the backup sync'ing.
Not many backup solutions are as simple as Synchronicity.
For folder locations, you can use the following path formats:
- Absolute: D:\Path\to\folder
- Relative: ..\..\folder
- UNC: \\IP_ADDRESS\folder
- Volume Name: "Drivename"\folder
Once To and From have been set, click the Local folder tree button to reveal the directory structure. In this directory tree, you can include/exclude specific subfolders. If you need to include/exclude specific files, you must uncheck Copy All Files and then select what you want to include or exclude.
In the include/exclude section, you can use the following:
- Files by extension: As in tar; zip
- Files by full name: As in "File.exe";"File2.exe"
- Regular expressions: /File[0-9]+\.(doc|xls|ppt)/
After you complete those steps, the new job will be listed in the Profiles section. If you click on that job, a drop-down will appear where you can do the following:
- Run (Synchronize)
- Change settings
- View log
- Clear log
If you want Synchronicity to catch missed backups, you must check the box for the feature.
Synchronicity is one of the fastest ways to help get end users (and clients on a tight budget) to back up their files and folders. Synchronicity will not image a machine, but for some users just getting that data backed up is a huge step forward.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.