Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I Want a New Toy.

My apologies to Lena Lovich. And if you don't know who Lena Lovich is and have never heard her music, go find out! But I digress.

The new "toy" that I've been playing with is called SyncToy. It's one of the many Power Toys - small but useful utilities - that Microsoft comes up with from time to time. Some of their Power Toys are okay, some a waste of bits, and others genuninely useful. SyncToy is in the last category. It's very useful indeed.

It is simple in concept. SyncToy allows you to choose two folders, aptly called a "Folder Pair", and synchronize them. There is the usual basket of options. Completely synchronize both folders, only copy from one folder to another, that sort of thing. You can also have many different folder pairs and choose which ones to run all together and which ones to run manually.

So what's the big deal? It's a neat way to back up your critical desktop files to a network drive. One of the big reasons that people lose data such as word processor files is because they don't copy them to a network drive where the usual backup system can take over. SyncToy automates this process, makign it quite painless. This is especially important for people who work in a SOHO environment which does not have hefty IT resources.

Now, you can also set up SyncToy to run automatically. You can use the Windows Scheduled Tasks feature to launch SyncToy at a specific time (say, the end of the day). If you use the -R switch on the SyncToy command line, it will automatically run whatever group of Folder Pairs that you have configured to run. I've set up scheduled tasks to run SyncToy every day at the end of the day and sync my critical files to my network drive. Instant backups!

So, if you want a toy to play with, try SyncToy. It's not as much fun as Doom 3 but its way more useful.

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