Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 34
  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    How to set up Sync Center to sync two computers?

    I want to use Windows' Sync Center to synchronize files between two Windows 7 computers through a shared storage area on a network server. I'm baffled by Microsoft's instructions, which don't seem to cover this case at all.

    The information pages that describe Sync Center mention several use cases, including syncing a computer with another device like a smartphone, and syncing two computers. But the setup instructions start with "plug in the device...", which is fine for the "device" use case, but meaningless for two computers.

    The Sync Center UI is no help. There's a "Set up new sync partnerships" link, which must be what I want, but no clue what to do after I go there.
    Last edited by jsachs177; 2016-03-23 at 13:26.

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Praha
    Posts
    990
    Thanks
    56
    Thanked 105 Times in 90 Posts
    I use SyncToy to do exactly what you want to do.

    It is an intuitive interface, but if you need any hints then post back and I'll explain.

  3. #3
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Thank you Martin, that looks like a good suggestion. I installed the program on my desktop computer and discovered that my network drive is limited to something between 15% and 50% of the space I need, depending on how much of my data I want to sync.

    I'm now investigating how to get the limit raised. I'll report again when I overcome that hurdle.

  4. #4
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I've now used SyncToy to move my files from desktop to laptop and back. It works, but I had a couple of problems that I will have to solve if it is to be practical.

    The first is the length of time a sync takes. The larger of my two sync operations, operating on a total of about 2 GB of data, took a bit less than three hours. (On the desktop this was a sync between a 7200 RPM hard disk and a 5400 RPM external drive via USB 2.0. On the laptop it was between the same external drive and an SSD via USB 3.0. It seems to have taken about the amount of time on both.)

    I wonder whether this was caused by the changes that SyncToy had to deal with. This directory originally contained one big subdirectory (I'll call it Sneezy) and some smaller ones (Bashful, Sleepy, and Dopey). Last week I synced it in that state. Between then and the three-hour sync, I made some changes to a small number of Sneezy's files on the desktop computer, but I also:

    * Renamed Sneezy to Happy
    * Created a new, smaller subdirectory named Sneezy
    * Deleted Bashful, Sleepy, and Dopey

    I thought that since SyncToy uses Microsoft's Sync Framework, which has hooks in the OS, it would understand that the desktop's Happy was the former Sneezy. Accordingly it would rename Sneezy on the sync drive and recopy only the changed files. I suspect that instead it treated Happy as a brand new subdirectory and copied it all over again. Then it synced Sneezy a file at a time, which would have required deleting or copying practically every file. The pathnames I saw it copying, as well as the length of time the sync took, support this theory.

    If that is what happened it's going to be a major pain in the rear! This practice of renaming one directory to make way for another is pretty common for me. To avoid very long syncs I'll have to duplicate all of the renaming operations on the sync drive before I sync, then duplicate them on the other computer before I sync there. And I'll have to take great care to get them right every time. That "taking great care" requirement is the main thing I wanted SyncToy to eliminate. Having to do it to make SyncToy usable is self-defeating.

    But if this is not what happened, the outlook is even grimmer: it means there's no reason why the sync took so long except that there's a lot of data, and there's nothing I can do about that.

    SyncToy also appears to have deleted Bashful, Sleepy, and Dopey the stupid way: one file at a time! That took a while too; they're smaller than Sneezy/Happy, but they're not small.

    The other problem is that while the three-hour sync was running, SyncToy scrubbed the computer's disk so hard that everything else I did slowed down by a factor of perhaps 10. Very long syncs may be tolerable... most of the time... if I can find something else to do while they run. But if a sync effectively locks me out of the computer, the number of things I can find to do is limited.
    Last edited by jsachs177; 2016-04-08 at 18:49.

  5. #5
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,199
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 987 Times in 917 Posts
    Renaming folders is the downside of syncing because there is no easy way to tell that the new folder was the old folder. As a result sync software just assumes it's new - the safest method.

    cheers, Paul

  6. #6
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I'm now syncing my desktop computer to the portable drive. I started by making sure that all of the top level directories had the same names in both places. Then I started SyncToy, and saw that it was copying files in a directory that I have not touched. It looked like it was copying all of the files.

    I'm not sure what's going on here. It's possible that a routine operation in one application we use (Git) replaces every file in a directory with a new copy whether the "new copy" is actually new or not. I'll watch for that over the next week. If that is what's happening it's not SyncToy's fault, but it's not something I can change, either.

    I killed SyncToy and deleted the whole set of directories from the transfer drive, then dragged new copies of them from the desktop's disk. The delete took about 15 minutes, and the copy took 10 minutes. That's 25 minutes to perform the operation that took SyncToy close to three hours the last time I allowed it to complete.

    At this point I'm not very hopeful that SyncToy can be made to work for me. I know it it has a "Check file contents" option, but I assume it will check file contents in addition to timestamps. To avoid the situation that I think is making it run so slow it would have to check file contents instead of timestamps, and I don't think it will do that.

  7. #7
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,199
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 987 Times in 917 Posts
    Checking file contents is not really necessary. You can't have two files with the same name in a directory and time stamps are reliable, so that's all you need to check. Besides, you backup your files every day so what's the issue?

    cheers, Paul

  8. #8
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I must not have explained clearly. When I told SyncToy to do its thing it tried to recopy (probably) every file in a huge directory where nothing had changed. My hypothesis is that a Git Rebase command replaced every file in the directory with a new copy, even though few if any of them had changed, and consequently SyncToy thought they all had changed. Consequently it wanted to copy them all to the transfer disk. The only way to avoid that would be to compare the files (as well as the timestamps) and copy a file only if the timestamp and the file contents have changed.

    This is entirely about sync, not backup. I'm looking for a way to sync my transfer disk to one computer, and then the other computer to the transfer disk, without copying all of the files every time. But so far SyncToy is copying all of the files every time, at least in large parts of the directory; it's just doing so a lot slower than Windows Explorer would.

  9. #9
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,199
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 987 Times in 917 Posts
    We need some details showing file names and dates from the 2 machines so we can see what may be the issue.

    You could try a limited Robocopy with the "/l" switch as this will list what would happen but not copy or change anything.

    cheers, Paul

  10. #10
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    If you tell me what kind of descriptive information would help, I'll do my best to provide it. I can't provide directory listings or similar information. I think that if I asked my boss to let me share information in this situation, even under an NDA, it would lead her to question my judgment. (A few months ago she got the incorrect impression that I had done something similar in a vendor's on-line group tutorial. She was pretty concerned.)

    Thank you for suggesting Robocopy. I'd heard of it but didn't know what it was. I looked it up but didn't see "/l" in the list of command line options. Perhaps you're referring to /nocopy?

  11. #11
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,199
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 987 Times in 917 Posts
    A sample of file and directory names and time stamps - 3 would be enough. You can change the names as long as you make the same changes on files that are supposed to sync.
    Tell your boss what you are doing and get her approval to release the info before posting will save you hassle later. If she won't let you then you know who to blame when it goes pear shaped.

    Open a Command Prompt and type this to see the Robocopy options: robocopy /?

    cheers, Paul

  12. #12
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    As long as I can do just a few files and change their names, I don't see any need for approval. Our timestamps are not confidential! :-)

    I don't think it will help to do this now, since I've made changes since the last sync. I'll resync at the end of the in-office part of my work week (EOD Thursday) and do it then.

  13. #13
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    When I tried to sync one of my large folder pairs, SyncToy opened an error box that said:

    Failed to execute folder pair

    Failed to execute folder pair <name>. Could not locate folder <pathname on transfer drive>
    That doesn't make sense to me. Windows Explorer locates the folder just fine.

    I don't want to be negative about this, but I'm starting to have serious reservations about using SyncToy. Every problem I encounter may have a logical, preventable cause, but how long will I have to tinker with it solve them all, and how can I be sure I have done so? I can't use the program unless Iím confident that it will do its job reliably, and right now it's not clear that I ever can be.

  14. #14
    3 Star Lounger JC Zorkoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    226
    Thanks
    21
    Thanked 45 Times in 40 Posts
    You might like to check out FreeFileSync. It is now up to version 8.1.

    I use it regularly, but I prefer the UI of version 4.6 (which is available in the "Archive" of the home page)

  15. #15
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    509
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    JCZ, thank you for the suggestion. Since Paul has been helping me I want to see what he suggests before I make a decision, but I visited the FreeFileSync web site and saw that it has some nice advantages, such as referring to a volume by name instead of drive letter.

    Do you think that FFS's "Detect Moved Files" feature would work well with my practice of renaming directories? Renaming a directory is logically equivalent to moving every file to a new directory and then deleting the old one, so in principle it should make that operation more efficient. I don't know, though, how it will respond when it finds that every one of the 18,698 files in a subdirectory tree has "moved." Or when it finds that a file named ishkabibl.txt has moved from /git/sleepy to /git/sneezy, and in the same operation a different file with the same name has moved from /git/sneezy to /git/happy. Depending on how it's designed it might take those situations in stride, or its head might explode!
    Last edited by jsachs177; 2016-04-23 at 19:19.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •