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Microsoft SyncToy

SyncToy 2.1 is a free application that synchronizes files and folders between locations. Typical uses include sharing files, such as photos, with other computers and creating backup copies of files and folders. Here, we will focus on using it to backup your documents to a removable drive (such as a flash drive or SD card).

Synchronize User Folder with External Media

This section is to cover how to synchronize your user profile (excluding AppData) with external media. This is probably the best method, since it will grab all non-hidden folders in your profile, which is quite likely everything you'd ever want. There are two parts to using SyncToy. Creating folder pairs and actually synchronizing data.

The instructions below create a folder pair for one-way synchronization from your user profile folder to external media (SyncToy calls this method “Echo”). The idea is that changes to your profile folder will be copied to your external media, but changes to your external media will not be copied back to your profile folder. If you want changes to your external media to be copied back to your profile folder, select the “Synchronize” action instead of “Echo”.

Create a Folder Pair

  1. Launch SyncToy.
    1. If SyncToy is not in your Start Menu, you will have to find it by going to “My Computer” then browsing to “C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1”. Right-click the SyncToy application and go to “Send To”, then click “Desktop (create shortcut)”. You should now be able to launch SyncToy from the desktop.
  2. Insert your external media (flash drive, SD card, USB hard drive, or other).
  3. Click “Create New Folder Pair” at the bottom of the SyncToy window.
  4. For the “Left Folder” you want to select the source you will copy data from. Click “Browse” and select your user folder. It will be called either your name, or your student ID.
  5. For the “Right Folder”, you want to select the destination to copy data to. Click “Browse” and click your external media. Click “Make New Folder” and type the name of the folder that will contain your backup.
  6. Click “Next”.
  7. At the “What do you want to do?” screen. Select “Echo”. This is our recommended method for simply backing up your files. Click “Next”.
  8. Type a name for your folder pair. Anything meaningful to you will work, such as “Profile Backup”. Click “Finish”.
  9. You should see your newly created folder pair. Now, we need to change the synchronization options.
  10. Click “Change Options” for the folder pair in the SyncToy window.
  11. Check the checkbox “Exclude hidden files” and press “OK”. We recommend checking this in order to avoid syncing Windows files you don't really need.
  12. You now have a folder pair. Proceed to “Synchronizing Data”.

Synchronize Data

  1. Launch SyncToy.
  2. Insert your external media (flash drive, SD card, USB hard drive, or other).
  3. Select the folder pair you would like to synchronize from the menu on the left.
  4. Click “Run” in the bottom right of the SyncToy window. Wait while the synchronization process completes.
  5. When the synchronization is complete, you may review a summary of what was done. When you are done, press the “Close” button in the bottom right.
  6. Your folder pair has been synchronized. You should re-run the synchronization process daily to ensure that your backup is fresh.

Video Guide

Restoring Data

Restoring data backed up with Microsoft SyncToy is the same as these instructions.

using_microsoft_synctoy.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/06 14:13 by abrashear