Do you have a need to frequently access folders and files on a laptop or other computer that is not turned on 24/7? If this is you, you’ll know that you usually have to turn on the laptop and wait for it to boot to a state that allows you to access the data. This could be as quick as two minutes or as long as 10 minutes, depending on the age of your hardware. Even worse, if your battery is low and no ac power is available to plug in the laptop you may have to wait even longer.
You don’t have to wait anymore, there is a solution to your data accessibility problems! You can copy those folders and files to a usb memory stick and, not only will you be able to access to the data from another computer, you will also have a “live” backup just in case something ever happens. On a small memory stick with a small amount of data it is possible to perform the data copy operations and keep the data synchronized manually. As your data grows however, the process will eventually become difficult to manage in an effective way. Just the need to answer “Yes” or “No” to every overwrite dialog could make a regular copy operation turn into a nightmare.
Fortunately, Microsoft provides a free tools called SyncToy which will help minimize the time it takes to keep files in sync between folder pairs on your laptop and thumb drive. Download SyncToy here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15155
You will need the proper download based on your existing operating system, your choices are x64 or x32 bit versions. To find out what version you need, click Start, right click on the computer icon, and select Properties. Half way down the page you’ll see the “System” Header, now find “System Type” and look to see if your system requires 32-bit or 64-bit software. Download and install SyncToy then run it, which will bring up the following screen:
To begin, you need to create a folder pair. This pair is how SyncToy manages keeping your files syncronized between the left and right folders. When you click on the Create Folder Pair button you start the process of joining the folder pairs. It is easiest if you browse to the location for each pair:
For this example we will use a “Test” folder with the “left” folder on the local hard drive and the “right” folder on a thumb drive. If a folder does not exist on the right folder destination, SyncToy allows you to create the folder as needed. Once you have folders set, you will be given a choice to Synchronize, Echo, or Contribute. For most applications you should Synchronize. You should carfully consider each option to get the best result. Here are the definitions of the options.
Synchronize: New and updated files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other.
Echo: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.
Contribute: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames on the left are repeated on the right. No deletions.
Now name your pair. This should be a simple name, yet descriptive of the pair.
That is all there is to creating folder pairs:
The simpler you keep your pairs, the easier it will be to maintain them. Now you simply need to run the pair(s) as needed, or put them on a schedule, but that is a topic for a future blog post.
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