I'm always on the lookout for a free or cheap backup tool that offers features other solutions don't, so when I came across Allway Sync, I was quite excited. Allway Sync can do the usual backups (sync'ing folders to an external drive, using ssh, Microsoft ActiveSync folder, etc.), but it can also sync to other services most other backups can't. The easy-to-use tool can work with these solutions:
- Google Docs
- Amazon S3
- WebDAV folder
- Windows Azure
- Amazon Cloud Drive
In Allway Sync, you can you set up the syncronization of a local folder to one of the cloud services and create different jobs to sync folders to different services. Here are just three examples of what can be set up to sync with this little backup wonder:
- A folder to be sync'd with Google Docs.
- A folder outside of the standard Dropbox folder to be sync'd with Dropbox.
- A folder you would like to sync with your Amazon A3 account.
Installing Allway SyncDuring the installation process, one step might throw you off. You will be asked if you want to have the Allway Sync service started. If you plan on having Allway Sync back up when you're not logged in to the desktop, you must have this service started, so check the box for Install Service For The Synchronizer (Figure A). Figure A
If this service isn't started, the user must be logged in for synchronizing to take place. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Using Allway SyncOnce the installation is complete, go to Start | Allway Sync to fire up the tool. With the software running, you will need to create a sync'ing pair. The left side of the pair (Figure B) will be the local folder and the right side the remote (or external drive). Let's set up a local folder to be synchronized with a Google Docs account. Figure B
To create a new job, go to Job | Add New Job. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Follow these steps to set up a backup sync job:
- Click the left side drop-down and select Windows Folder.
- Click the left side Configure button.
- Click the Browse button.
- Navigate to the folder to be used in the sync pair.
- Select the folder and click OK.
- From the right side drop-down, select Google Docs.
- Click the right side Configure button.
- In the resulting popup, configure your Google Account credentials (Figure C) and click OK.
- Click the Anaylze button, which will then display what the synchronization will do.
- Read through any "Important Messages" that pop up. You might see Questionable File listings or, since this is the first sync, a warning that the recipient location is empty. If necessary, click Ignore, Exclude, or Skip for each warning.
- When you no longer get pop-up warnings, click Synchronize to start the process.
If you keep Store In Google Docs Format checked, all documents sync'd to the local machine will be in the Google Doc format. (Click the image to enlarge.)
After the synchronization is complete, you can set this up for a scheduled sync by following these steps:
- Click the correct job tab (each new job is represented by a tab).
- Go to Job | Properties.
- Click the Automatic Synchronization section.
- Select the type of auto sync'ing you want to use (Figure D).
- Configure the auto sync'ing per your requirements.
You can also use the Windows Task Scheduler to sync at specific times. (Click the image to enlarge.)
You can schedule a sync in the following ways:
- When A Removable Device Is Connected
- At Certain Intervals
- When File Changes Are Detected (with a user-configurable delay)
- When Computer Is Idle (with a user-configurable delay)
- On Application Start
- Before Log Off
- Using Windows Task Scheduler
You can set up as many jobs as you like. If you do and you schedule them, make sure you don't have them all running at once, because this could bring your machine to a slow crawl.
The only drawback to Allway Sync is that it doesn't do bare metal. Despite this fact, Allway Sync is one of the most versatile and useful backup tools for the small business or home office crowd that I've used. Give this solution a try, and see if you don't find yourself migrating your backup jobs.
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 jackwallen.com.