Sync2Folders Pro Online Help

What is Sync2Folders Pro

Welcome to Sync2Folders Pro!

Sync2Folders Pro is a comparison and synchronization tool. It compares files based on their modified date/time, and in the case of executable files (those with the extensions .EXE and .DLL), it compares their version information.

Sync2Folders Pro compares files and presents a list of all of the files it finds. This file comparison list includes the filename, comparison status, the source file's modified date/time, the source file's version, the destination file's modified date/time, the destination file's version, the source folder of the file, and the destination folder of the file.

Once compared, files can be synchronized using either Sync Methods or File Operations.

Sync methods are powerful commands that act on the entire file comparison list, copying or deleting files depending on the sync method's properties. New sync methods can be added and existing can be edited and deleted. They are completely customizable.

File operations act on only those files that are selected in the file comparison list. They perform a single action, such as "copy source file to destination".

Sync2Folders Pro provides features to filter the file comparison list, search for items in it, select items, and it includes options to exclude files from the list based on folder name, filename, file extension, or by using regular expressions.

Please continue reading for more information on Sync2Folders Pro.

What Sync2Folders Pro Isn't

What Sync2Folders Pro isn't is a file contents comparison tool. It doesn't open files and compare the text or binary contents of the files. It only compares the modified date and times or the file version info. 

And while it can synchronize files, that is, copy or delete files, it doesn't provide a means to synchronize the contents within files. So Sync2Folders Pro can't perform line-by-line differential comparisons and then sync those lines of text from one file to another.

Last but not least, Sync2Folders Pro is not a premium app. It’s free.


A Quick Tour of Sync2Folders Pro



  1. Profiles - Create new, save, and load profiles; manage excluded files, folders, file extensions and regular expressions
  2. Filters - Use built-in and custom filters to limit what's displayed in the file comparison list
  3. Search - Search by filename, extension, modified date/time, version, or folder
  4. Sync Methods - Use powerful commands to synchronize files
  5. File Operations - Perform operations on selected files
  6. Options - Configure an external application and toggle settings on/off for sync method and file operation confirmations, compact mode, empty folder deletions, and logging
  7. Help - Display this help file, keyboard shortcuts, and version/licensing/copyright info
  8. Source folder - Type in or use the Browse... button to select a source folder
  9. Checkbox - Check to lock the source folder so file operations and sync methods cannot alter (overwrite, delete) files in the source folder
  10. Browse... - Browse for a source folder
  11. Destination folder - Type in or use the Browse... button to select a destination folder
  12. Checkbox - Check to lock the destination folder so file operations and sync methods cannot alter (overwrite, delete) files in the destination folder
  13. Browse... - Browse for a destination folder
  14. File Spec - Enter a mask or wildcard to limit which files are compared
  15. Compare EXE/DLL versions - When checked, all files with .EXE and .DLL extensions are checked for version info and this version info is compared. When unchecked, all files, including EXEs and DLLs, are compared using modified date and time
  16. Compare - Click this button to compare the Source and Destination folders
  17. Indicator - If the current profile has changed, this indicator is displayed. This might necessitate performing the comparison again or saving the profile
  18. Indicator - If exclusions are disabled in Options, this indicator is displayed. When exclusions are enabled, the number of each type is shown here
  19. File Comparison List - The files currently being compared
  20. Progress Bar - Displays progress as files are compared
  21. Status Bar - Displays information as comparison takes place, and includes summary once comparison has completed

Profiles Menu

The Profiles menu gives you menu items to create new, save, or load profiles, and also to manage exclusions. 

What's a Profile?

A profile in Sync2Folders Pro is made up of the following:
  • Source folder
  • Destination folder
  • File Spec, which determines which files are included in the comparison set
  • Settings to lock the source and/or destination folder
  • Setting to Compare EXE/DLL versions
  • Lists of excluded filenames, excluded folders, excluded file extensions and excluded regular expressions
The Profiles section below explains profiles in more detail.

Profile Location and Naming

Profiles are stored in your user folder under Documents, which is typically "C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Sync2FoldersPro".

Profiles are made up of multiple XML files. The main profile is stored in a file that ends in "_Profile.xml" and the exclusions are stored in files that end in:

_ExcludedFolders.xml
_ExcludedFiles.xml
_ExcludedExtensions.xml
_ExcludedRegEx.xml

The prefix for all of these files is the name given when the profile is saved. If you named your profile "Compare C and D Drives", the files would be named:

Compare C and D Drives_Profile.xml
Compare C and D Drives_ExcludedFolders.xml
Compare C and D Drives_ExcludedFiles.xml
Compare C and D Drives_ExcludedExtensions.xml
Compare C and D Drives_ExcludedRegEx.xml

Note that not all of these files will necessarily be present. If your profile doesn't have any exclusions, then the excluded XML files won't exist.

Auto-Save

Note that if a profile has been previously saved, Profiles > Save saves the profile to the existing filename, but the profile will also automatically save if you close Sync2Folders Pro or select Profiles > New or Profiles > Load.

This is important to consider when you want to take an existing profile, modify and save it to a new name. It's recommended you save it first using Profiles > Save As and then make your changes, otherwise you may modify your original profile without intending to.

Profile Changed Indicator

If the current profile has changed, the indicator, "The current profile has changed." displays above the file comparison list. Depending on the changes, this could mean the current comparison results are invalid, and/or that the profile should be saved.

Filters Menu

The Filters menu gives you access to built-in and user customizable filters to limit what is displayed in the comparison list.

Filters are used to limit which comparison files are displayed.

Default Filters

Sync2Folders Pro has several filters built-in:
  • Show All Files - Shows all files in the file comparison list regardless of comparison status or other criteria
  • Show All New Files - Shows all files with a comparison status of Source: New
  • Show All Newer Files - Shows all files with a comparison status of Source: Newer
  • Show All Older Files - Shows all files with a comparison status of Source: Older
  • Show All Missing Files - Shows all files with a comparison status of Source: Missing
  • Show All Matching Files - Show all files with a comparison status of Source-Dest: Match
See the Comparison Statuses section later down in the page for info on them.

Creating, Editing, and Deleting Filters

Manage Filters... is used to edit, delete, and create filters. While Show All Files cannot be edited or deleted, the rest of the filters can be. New filters can also be created.

Drag and drop filters in the Manage Filters list to order them. They appear in the Filters drop list in the same order they appear in the Manage Filters form. Please note that Show All Files always appears first and Manage Filters... always appears last.

Here's the Manage Filters form:

Add, edit, delete, and order filters.

When you specify a filter, you decide how to match files from the file comparison list. You can match on comparison statuses (Matching, New, Newer, Older, and Missing), or perform full or partial matches on the Filename field, a file extension from the Filename field, the Version fields, the Folder fields, and/or the Modified Date/Time fields.

NOTE: Sync2Folders Pro ORs together the criteria from a given filter. For example, if you set up a filter with New and Older both checked, when you select this filter, if a given file has a comparison status of either Source: New or Source: Older, it's displayed. The same goes with the Filename, Extension, Version, Folder, and Modified Date/Time fields. If the file in question partially or completely matches one criteria, then the file is displayed.

On Partial Matching: By partial matching it is meant that if you create a filter and set the Filename field to "boardroom", the filter will match all filenames that contain the text "boardroom". This means "Dec 2019 Boardroom Meeting.xls" and "Boardroom Notes.txt" will match, but "Meeting in Board Room.docx" will not.

How to Get the Default Filters Back

Filters are stored in a Filters.xml file in the "C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Sync2FoldersPro" folder. To restore the default set of filters:
  1. Close Sync2Folders Pro
  2. Rename or delete Filters.xml
  3. Start Sync2Folders Pro
  4. A new Filters.xml file is created and has the default set of filters

Search Menu

The Search menu allows you to perform searches of your file comparison list.

The Search menu lets you search the file comparison list by filename, file extension, modified date/time, version, and folder. When searching by modified date/time, version, and folder, it searches both the source and destination columns.

The Search forms all have a field to enter your search term, Search and Cancel buttons.

When it finds a match, it selects the file. You can reset the search to the top of the list by selecting the first item. It keeps track of your position in the list, so pressing F3 or using the search form and clicking Search again with the same search criteria will look for the next match.

Keyboard Shortcuts - Search

  • F3 - Search for the next occurrence using the current search criteria
  • Ctrl-N - Search for item with comparison status Source: New
  • Ctrl-Shift-N - Search for item with comparison status Source: Newer
  • Ctrl-O - Search for item with comparison status Source: Older
  • Ctrl-M - Search for item with comparison status Source: Missing
  • Ctrl-Shift-M - Search for item with comparison status Source-Dest: Match

Keyboard Shortcuts - Select

These select items in the list, the first selecting all items, and the remainder selecting based on the current selection:

  • Ctrl-A - Select all items
  • Ctrl-P - Select all items with the same source path as selected
  • Ctrl-F - Select all items with the same filename as selected
  • Ctrl-E - Select all items with the same extension as selected
  • Ctrl-S - Select all items with the same comparison status as selected

Sync Methods Menu

Sync Methods are powerful commands that can be customized to perform multiple file operations on the entire comparison file list.

What Are Sync Methods

Sync Methods are convenient, powerful, and customizable. There are eight default sync methods, but these can be edited or deleted.

Sync methods can perform file operations on the entire file comparison list with a single command. For example, Two-Way Sync copies files with Source: New and Source: Newer comparison statuses from the source to the destination folder, while copying files with Source: Older and Source: Missing from the destination to the source folder.

After choosing a sync method, the File Operation form displays and shows the progress and results.

See How Sync Methods Are Related to File Operations below for more info on how the two differ, and Using Sync Methods and File Operations on how to use them effectively.

Default Sync Methods


Menu Item Name Definition
Two-Way Sync Files with New and Newer statuses are copied from the source to the destination and files with Older and Missing statuses are copied from the destination to the source.
Two-Way Sync and Purge Files with Newer statuses are copied from the source to the destination and files with Older statuses are copied from the destination to the source. All files with New or Missing statuses are deleted from the source and destination, respectively.
One Way Sync - Source to Dest Files with New and Newer statuses are copied from the source to the destination.
One Way Sync - Dest to Source Files with Older and Missing statuses are copied from the destination to the source.
One Way Sync and Purge - Source to Dest Files with New, Newer and Older statuses are copied from the source to the destination. Files with Missing statuses are deleted from the destination.
One Way Sync and Purge - Dest to Source Files with Newer, Older and Missing statuses are copied from the destination to the source. Files with New statuses are deleted from the source.
One Way Overwrite - Source to Dest All source files are copied to the destination regardless of the comparison status of the files
One Way Overwrite - Dest to Source All destination files are copied to the source regardless of the comparison status of the files

Creating, Editing, and Deleting Sync Methods


Create your own sync methods to perform file operations on the entire file comparison list with a single command.

When you create or edit a sync method, you have to decide which file operations you wish for the sync method to perform on a file with a particular comparison status. For example, if the comparison status is Source: New, do you want to copy the file to the destination folder or delete it? You can also choose None, which means this sync method won't perform any file operation when the comparison status is Source: New.

Sync Methods Form

Drag and drop sync methods in the Manage Sync Methods list to order them. They appear in the Sync Methods menu in the same order they appear in Manage Sync Methods.

Tip: The sync method's Description is the tooltip that displays when you hover over the menu item name in the Sync Method's menu, so give it a description that helps you to remember what file operation's the sync method performs on the file comparison list.

How to Get the Default Sync Methods Back

Sync methods are stored in a SyncMethods.xml file in the "C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Sync2FoldersPro" folder. To restore the default set of sync methods:
  1. Close Sync2Folders Pro
  2. Rename or delete SyncMethods.xml
  3. Start Sync2Folders Pro
  4. A new SyncMethods.xml file is created and has the default set of sync methods

File Operations Menu

The commands in the File Operations menu affect the files that are currently selected, rather than the entire file comparison list.

What's a File Operation?

While sync methods affect the entire comparison list, including those files not currently in view because of the filter being used, file operations only affect those files that are currently selected. Also, file operations can be accessed from the file comparison list by right-clicking on the list.

Select one or more files, right-click, and a context menu with the four file operations appears. If a file operation cannot be performed on a selected file, that operation is grayed. If the mix of selected files means no file operation can be performed on all of the files, then they are all grayed.

After choosing a file operation, the File Operation form displays and shows the progress and results.

See How Sync Methods Are Related to File Operations below for more info on how the two differ, and Using Sync Methods and File Operations on how to use them effectively.

File Operation List

File Operation Definition
Copy Source File to Destination Copy the selected file(s) from the source folder to the destination folder
Copy Destination File to Source Copy the selected file(s) from the destination folder to the source folder
Delete Source File Delete the selected file(s) from the source folder
Delete Destination File Delete the selected file(s) from the destination folder

Options Menu

The Options menu let's you configure external application support and other settings.

The Options menu gives you access to the following forms:

Third Party Integration

First is Configure External Application. This is an application that can be started with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-L, and that takes the currently selected source and/or destination filenames and passes it to the application.

In this screen shot, Compare JPEG Tags (CompareJPGTags.exe) is configured as the external application. The command-line passed to it includes both the source and the destination filenames. Each is surrounded by quote marks.


Compare JPEG Tags is a MaxLeafSoft application that takes two JPEG (.JPG) files and compares their tags.

See Launch an External App section for more info on this feature.

Options

Next is the Options menu item, which displays the Sync2Folders Pro Options form.

Confirmation Options

The first group is for Confirmations. When you select a sync method or file operation, you are prompted to confirm or cancel. To disable these confirmations, uncheck the appropriate check boxes here and click Save.



Display

Next up is Display. Compact mode removes the file comparison list, and disables all menus that relate to it, including Filters, Search, and File Operations. This provides a streamlined user interface which is also more performant because it doesn't have to update the list with files, statuses, and other data. "Enable compact mode" can also be toggled on and off using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-C.

Sync2Folders Pro in Compact Mode

Files and Folders

This section has a single checkbox: Delete empty folders. This controls what happens when a file operation or sync method deletes the last file in a folder. If this is checked and the folder is empty (it has no other files or folders), then the folder deleted.

Logging

Logging has four options
  • Log comparison info - As file and folder comparisons occur, this info is logged and includes the filename, source folder, destination folder, and the file's comparison status
  • Log exclusion info - As files and folders are examined, if a file or folder is excluded because of a match, it is logged with the filename or folder name, the type of exclusion (Filename, Folder, Extension, or Regular Expression), and the pattern that caused the match
  • Log synchronization info - As files are synchronized, this info is logged and includes the word Success or Failure, the filename, source path, destination path, comparison status prior to synchronization, sync method used, and file operation used
  • Purge logs after 10 days - Clears out all files from the Logs folder if they are more than 10 days old.
Please see the Logging section later in this help web page for more info on the topic.

Exclusions

When Disable exclusions is checked in the Exclusions section, then all folder, file, extension, and RegEx exclusions are ignored for profiles. Exclusions can still be edited for a given profile, but they are not used during comparison. 

This option is normally unchecked but is useful when you don't want to edit your exclusions but you wish to perform the comparison without them.

When this is checked, an indicator displays on the main form above the file comparison list, "Exclusions are currently disabled."

When unchecked, the number of each type of exclusion (file, folder, extension, and regular expression) is shown here.

Help Menu

The Help menu can bring up this web page, display a list of keyboard shortcuts, or display the Sync2Folders Pro version, copyright info, and licensing info.

The Help menu's three options are simple enough:
  • Help... displays this web page
  • Keyboard Shortcuts... displays the full list of keyboard shortcuts
  • About... displays version, copyright, and licensing information

Creating and Editing Profiles

To create a new profile, select Profiles > New. This clears the Source folder field, clears the Destination folder field, resets File Spec to "*.*", unchecks the two checkboxes that lock the source and/or destination, checks the Compare EXE/DLL versions checkbox, and clears all excluded files, extensions, folders, and regular expressions.

Profiles

A profile is a collection of settings for a particular source and destination folder, including:
  • Source - The first folder to compare
  • Destination - The folder to compare the source to
  • File Spec - This determines which files are included in the comparison set
  • Source folder is locked and cannot be altered by sync methods or file operations - When this is checked, if you attempt to copy files to or delete files from the source using sync methods or file operations, a message will display indicating this isn't possible
  • Destination folder is locked and cannot be altered by sync methods or file operations - When this is checked, if you attempt to copy files to or delete files from the destination using sync methods or file operations, a message will display indicating this isn't possible
  • Compare EXE/DLL versions - If checked, when Sync2Folders Pro encounters files with the .EXE or .DLL file extension, it will extract version info from the files, and when it compares the files, it will compare them using this version info. If unchecked, the version info isn't extracted from .EXE or .DLL files and the files are compared by modified date and time instead.
  • Excluded Folders, Files, Extensions, and Regular Expressions - These are lists to exclude. See Using Exclusions below for more info.

Source and Destination Folders

Sync2Folders Pro compares the source folder to the destination, looking at each to see which files they contain. It determines how the folders differ. You decide which is source and which is destination. The source is often the more important folder; the one you use to determine how to synchronize files.

For example, you could specify a source that is your central repository for documents, images, or music files. A destination could be a folder to backup to, or maybe your phone or music player. You compare the source (the central repository) to the destination (let's say your phone) and then decide what to sync to or from that source and destination.

File Spec

This is a mask or wildcard, such as "*.*" or "my book*.txt". The first example includes all files and the second those that start with "my book" and have the ".txt" file extension. The file spec controls which files will be part of the file comparison list. If you only want the JPEGs, you can use "*.jpg", for example.

Changing the file spec doesn't change which files are on either the source or destination, it just changes which files you see as you’re  using Sync2Folders Pro.

Locking Profiles 

When you use either of the check boxes to lock the source or destination, you're blocking Sync2Folders Pro from copying files to or deleting files from that folder and its sub-folders. Anytime you select a sync method or file operation that attempts to alter that folder, a message appears telling you it's locked. This allows you to control when that source or destination is altered.

Compare EXE/DLL versions

Normally when files with the extension .EXE or .DLL are encountered during the comparison stage of the process, their version info is extracted and subsequently used in comparisons. This checkbox can be toggled off if you'd prefer not using version info as the means to compare executable files, and when off, such files are compared using their modified date and time instead.

Exclusions

See Configuring Exclusions below for more info.

Saving Profiles

To save a new profile, select Profiles > Save or Profiles > Save As. Either menu item will display the Save Profile form. Enter a name and click Save to save the profile to the "C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Sync2FoldersPro" folder.



Note that if a profile has been previously saved, Profiles > Save saves the profile to the existing filename, but the profile will automatically save if you close Sync2Folders Pro or select Profiles > New or Profiles > Load.

Loading Profiles

To load a profile, select Profiles > Load, which displays the Select a Profile form. This is the standard Windows open file dialog, but it's filtered to only display files with "_profile.xml" in their names. Select a profile and click Open to load it into Sync2Folders Pro.


Configuring Exclusions

To edit exclusions, select Profiles > Manage Excluded. This displays the following form:

Excluded files, folders, extensions, and regular expressions are profile specific.

Use the tabs to exclude files, folders, extensions and regular expressions.

Filenames

A filename shouldn't include any path information. Valid filename examples: Desktop.ini, web.config, A Day In the Life.mp3.

A filename exclusion requires an exact match, although it ignores case.

Folders

A folder shouldn't include any path information. Valid folder examples: temp, Windows, Program Files (x86).

A folder exclusion requires an exact match, although it ignores case.

Extensions

An extension can include the dot or exclude it. Valid extension examples: ini, .exe, .mp3

An extension exclusion requires an exact match, although it ignores case.

RegEx

Regular expressions are used for pattern matching. They are powerful and versatile, and there are many tutorials on the Internet that can help you to understand them. There are also great online RegEx testers that do a great job of helping you write regular expressions. Please check the Internet for more help.

Regular expression exclusions do NOT require an exact match. If a regular expression has a partial match, it is a valid match.

Adding Exclusions

To add a new item to a list, type in the text field and click Add or press Enter. To remove an item, select it and press DELETE or click Delete. Extensions can include the dot (".") or omit it. Filenames and folders should only include a single filename or folder and shouldn't include any other path information such as backslashes.

Please note that file, folder, and extension exclusions have to be an exact match, although case does not matter, and as already mentioned, the dot can be omitted from extensions. The regular expression exclusions are applied to files and folders, so all filenames and folder names are evaluated.

One other note: Folder exclusions only compare against the current folder, not the entire path, whereas regular expressions are evaluated against the entire path of the current folder or file. And where file, folder, and extension exclusions must be an exact match, regular expressions can be a partial match.

Keyboard Shortcuts

There are some keyboard shortcuts to simplify adding exclusions for files, folders, and extensions. From the file comparison list, select one or more files. Next, use the following keyboard shortcuts to add exclusions based on the selections:
  • Shift-Ctrl-P - Add the folders of the selected files to the excluded folders list
  • Shift-Ctrl-F - Add the filenames of the selected files to the excluded files list
  • Shift-Ctrl-E - Add the extensions of the selected files to the excluded extensions list

Note that Shift-Ctrl-P only adds the last folder in the source and destination folders to the excluded folders list. For example, if the current path is "C:\Temp\my_test_files", it adds "my_test_files" to the folder exclusions.

Exclusions Disabled Indicator

When the indicator, "Exclusions are currently disabled.", displays above the file comparison list, it means the "Disable exclusions" option is checked. When exclusions are disabled, they are not loaded or used during comparison.

Comparing the Source and Destination Folder

How to Compare

To compare the source and destination folders, click Compare. This searches both folders for files, comparing the files for differences. It compares two aspects of each file:
  • If the file is an executable, which is typically a file with the extension .EXE or .DLL, it compares the version numbers
  • If the Compare EXE/DLL versions setting is off or the file doesn’t have an .EXE or .DLL file extension, it compares the modified date and time of each file
In the case of an executable, if the version number of the source file is greater than that of the destination, the file is considered Newer. If the version of the source file is smaller than the destination, the source file is considered Older. If the version info matches, the files are considered Matching.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Extracting version info from .EXE and .DLL files is slower than simply comparing the modified date and time. The Compare EXE/DLL versions setting is on by default because it's the preferred way to compare executable files, but it's worth considering this slowdown if you are comparing tens or hundreds of thousands of files and want to reduce the time it takes. Similarly, using compact mode and turning off logging can also speed up comparisons.

Determining What's New, etc.

If a file is found in the source folder structure but not the destination's, it's considered to be New (Source: New). The source file is "new" in relation to the destination file.

If a file is found in the source and destination folder structures, but the source file's modified date/time is newer and/or the version info is greater (has a higher version number), than the destination's, the file is considered to be Newer (Source: Newer). The source file is "newer" in relation to the destination file.

If a file is found in the source and destination folder structures, but the destination file's modified date/time is newer and/or the version info is greater (has a higher version number) than the source's, the file is considered to be Older (Source: Older). The source file is "older" in relation to the destination file.

If a file is found in the destination folder structure but not the source's, the file is considered to be Missing (Source: Missing). The source file is "missing" in relation to the destination file.

If a file is found in the source and destination folder structures, and the source file's modified date/time or the version info are the same as the destination's, the file is considered to be Matching (Source-Dest: Match). The source file and the destination file match in relation to one another.

Notes

  • Only executable files (files with .EXE or .DLL file extensions) have version information. A file isn't checked for version information if the file isn't an executable or if the Compare EXE/DLL versions setting is off.
  • Sync2Folders Pro doesn't check file size, archive attributes, created date/time, accessed date/time, or any other attributes when considering differences.
  • If a folder or file cannot be accessed because of permissions or other issues, then it is skipped and not included in the file comparison list. Errors encountered are logged. See Logging section for more info
  • Only those files included in the File Spec and not excluded by file, folder, extension, or regular expression exclusions are compared and included in the file comparison list.

Comparison Statuses

Comparison statuses describe the source file in relation to the destination file.

Here are all the possible comparison statuses:

Comparison Status Definition
Source: New File exists in the source folder but not the destination
Source: Newer Source file's version or modified date and time is newer then the destination's
Source: Older Source file's version or modified date and time is older then the destination's
Source: Missing File exists in the destination folder but not the source
Source-Dest: Match Source file's version or modified date and time matches the destination's


Launch an External App

As mentioned in the Options Menu section, once an external application has been configured, you can select a file in the list then press Ctrl-L to launch the external application, passing as command-line parameters the paths and filenames of the two files. The application has to then deal with the command-line arguments.

In this example, the external application that's configured is Compare JPEG Tags, a MaxLeafSoft application that takes two filenames as its command-line arguments and compares the file's tags. Any application that accepts filenames as their command-line arguments can be used, so if you have a favorite app to compare files for content differences, for example, that can be configured as the external app.

The configured external app is launched, and the source and destination files passed it as command-line arguments.

How Sync Methods Are Related to File Operations

A file operation is the lowest level operation Sync2Folders Pro is capable of performing and it comes down to performing one of two things:
  • Copy a file
  • Delete a file
A sync method, on the other hand, assigns file operations to particular comparison statuses, and when you select a sync method, it examines every file in the file comparison list, even those currently not shown because of the filter you have selected, and decides which file operation to perform based on the comparison status of that file.

Some comparison statuses are assigned None, meaning, do not perform a file operation on a file with this comparison status, whereas others are assigned file operations to copy a source file to the destination, copy a destination file to the source, delete the source file, or delete the destination file.

Using Sync Methods and File Operations

There are two tools at your disposal for synchronizing files: Sync Methods and File Operations.

Sync Methods

To make this point entirely clear, sync methods are powerful commands that are applied to the entire file comparison list, even those files not currently visible because a filter isn't showing them. The reason for this is because a sync method goes through every file, checks its comparison status, then makes a decision on which file operation to apply based on that status.

Whether using one of the built-in sync methods or one you've customized, the properties of that sync method determine whether files are going to be copied, deleted, or will be unaffected. This makes sync methods extremely powerful, with the potential to quickly synchronize files but also with the potential to delete or overwrite files.

Use sync methods carefully! Before committing to using one, make sure you understand what it's doing.

If you attempt to use a sync method and it can potentially alter the source or destination, and that folder is locked, the sync will be aborted and a message to that affect will display.

File Operations

File operations, on the other hand, can only affect those files you've selected, and apply the same action to every file. If you select some files and choose to "Delete Source File", for example, then all of the selected files are deleted from the source folder structure. But no other actions are taken, so what occurs is well defined and very predictable.

If you attempt to use a file operation and it can potentially alter the source or destination, and that folder is locked, the file operation will be aborted and a message to that affect will display.

Logging

Sync2Folders Pro include many logging options which are detailed above in the section concerning the Options Menu. This section provides a little more information, but mostly covers how errors are logged.

Performance Impact

Note that with logging enabled Sync2Folders Pro will be less performant as it will write to disk as it compares and syncs files.

Log Location and Filename Format

The Logs folder is located here:

"C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Sync2FoldersPro\Logs"

Comparison and exclusion info are logged to the Comparison Log. This log's filename starts with the text "ComparisonLog". The filename then includes an underscore character, the date and time, and has the ".txt" extension.

For example:

ComparisonLog_2019112811063714.txt is for the date 11-28-219 and has the time 11:06:14.14.

Synchronization info is logged to the Sync Log. This log's filename starts with the text "SyncLog". The filename then includes an underscore character, the date and time, and has the ".txt" extension.

For example:

SyncLog_2019120609233224.txt is for the date 12-06-2019 and has the time 09:23:32.24.

Error Handling

Errors can occur when Sync2Folders Pro is attempting to compare or synchronize files, and those errors are written to the ComparisonLog and SyncLog, respectively. Error messages refer to the files and folders where the errors occurred, as well as exceptions that occurred, and provide information needed to troubleshoot such issues. In some situations the errors can be ignored, others might prompt adding exclusions to skip problematic folders or files, or it might be necessary to edit folder and/or file permissions to allow access.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Add to Exclusions

Shift-Ctrl-P - Add the folders of the selected files to the excluded folders list
Shift-Ctrl-F - Add the filenames of the selected files to the excluded files list
Shift-Ctrl-E - Add the extensions of the selected files to the excluded extensions list

Search

F3 - Search for the next Filename, File Extension, Modified Date/Time, Version or Folder using the current search criteria
Ctrl-N - Search for item with comparison status Source: New
Ctrl-Shift-N - Search for item with comparison status Source: Newer
Ctrl-O - Search for item with comparison status Source: Older
Ctrl-M - Search for item with comparison status Source: Missing
Ctrl-Shift-M - Search for item with comparison status Source-Dest: Match

Selection

Ctrl-A - Select all items
Ctrl-P - Select all items with the same source path as selected
Ctrl-F - Select all items with the same filename as selected
Ctrl-E - Select all items with the same extension as selected
Ctrl-S - Select all items with the same comparison status as selected

Launch

Ctrl-L - Launch Selected File(s) in External Application

Compact Mode

Ctrl-Shift-C - Toggle compact mode on and off

Sync2FoldersCmd

A Sync2Folders Pro Companion App

Sync2FoldersCmd is a console (command-line) version of Sync2Folders Pro that uses the profiles and sync methods from the Microsoft Store version of Sync2Folders Pro and performs comparisons and synchronization in a console process. This allows for synchronization to be automated and/or unattended because you can schedule it to run using Task Scheduler or other such software.

Sync2FoldersCmd takes the following command-line parameters:

Sync2FoldersCmd [Profile Filename] [Sync Method] [Options Filename]

Please note that Sync2FoldersCmd always looks at "C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Sync2FoldersPro" for it's files, which means you should not include the path to the filename.
  • Profile Filename - This is the filename of the profile
  • Sync Method - The name of the sync method to use. This is stored in the SyncMethods.xml file and displayed in the Sync2Folders Pro Sync Methods menu
  • Options Filename - Sync2Folders Pro always backs up the option settings to a file named Options.xml. You can specify this filename (Options.xml) or use a custom version that you've named otherwise
For example, if the profile you want to use is named "Computer Backup_Profile.xml", the sync method you want to use is "Back up new and newer files", and the options file you want to use is named "CmdOptions.xml", you'd enter the following at the CMD Prompt:

C:\> SYNC2FOLDERSCMD.EXE "COMPUTER BACKUP_PROFILE.XML" "BACK UP NEW AND NEWER FILES" "CMDOPTIONS.XML"

This is case insensitive so it does not have to be entered in all caps.

Sync2FoldersCmd uses all defined exclusions associated with the profile file passed in on the command-line and honors the following options as defined in the options file passed on the command-line:
  • Delete empty folders
  • Log comparison info
  • Log exclusion info
  • Log synchronization info
  • Purge logs after 10 days
  • Disable exclusions
If you run Sync2Folders.exe without command-line parameters, or with too few or too many, help, version, copyright, and licensing info is displayed.

How to Create an Options File for Sync2FoldersCmd

The easiest way to create an customized options file for Sync2FoldersCmd is through the following process:
  1. Start Sync2Folders Pro
  2. Go to Options > Options... and configure the following settings
    1. Delete empty folders
    2. Log comparison info
    3. Log exclusion info
    4. Log synchronization info
    5. Purge logs after 10 days
    6. Disable exclusions
  3. Click Save
  4. Close Sync2Folders Pro - closing the app backs up the settings to the Options.xml file found in the folder "C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Sync2FoldersPro"
  5. Rename Options.xml, giving the file a name that specific to its use, such as "CmdOptions.xml".
  6. Start Sync2Folders Pro again
  7. Go to Options > Options... and configure the settings to how you want them for Sync2Folders Pro

Available Through Github.com

This companion app is available for download from Github Pages.

Compare JPEG Tags

A Sync2Folders Pro Companion App

Compare JPEG Tags is a app with a single use: It takes two JPEG (.JPG) files and compares their tags. It displays the tags of the first file in the first list, and the tags of the second file in the second list. It has a toggle that shows either All tags in both lists, or just those tags that differ (Non-matching tags) between the files.


Click Get Tags or press F5 to refresh the lists. Use the Browse... buttons to choose files, or pass both filenames on the command-line to the app. 

Command-Line Usage:

CompareJPGTags.exe [filename1] [filename2]

Where [filenamex] is the full path and filename of the file, surrounded by quotes.

See the Options Menu and Third Party Integration sections for more info on how to use an app like Compare JPEG Tags from Sync2Folders Pro.

Available Through Github.com

This companion app is available for download from Github Pages.

Sync2Folders Pro Support

If you have questions, comments, suggestions, or with to report any issues, please check the MaxLeafSoft website, our Twitter account, or e-mail our support.

Sync2Folders Pro will be available to download from the Microsoft Store on computers running Windows 10 later this month (December 2019).


Comments