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Author Topic: SyncBackSE vs. SuperFlexible  (Read 38859 times)
J-Mac
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« Reply #50 on: November 23, 2007, 04:38:30 PM »

Just happened again!  Sync scheduled for this afternoon and nothing happened. This time I had started the scheduler, placed SFFS into my Startup folder and made sure it is running all the time, and yet still it did not fire up. I just opened it and the stupid scheduler was not running again.

What is it with this program? What the hell does it take to get it to fire on schedule? I have had many different scheduled tasks in various programs, some scheduled via the Windows task scheduler and some via the application's own scheduler. But I have never had this much difficulty getting a program to perform its single solitary purpose when scheduled!

Now I am really sorry that I purchased this dog. And I apologize if I have offended any dogs of the canine variety. Should have used a more properly descriptive term, but you can't say that here.

Jim
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Armando
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« Reply #51 on: November 23, 2007, 08:17:02 PM »

Actually, I've had similar problems with other applications, like Archivarius. (For example, the problem with Archivarius arises when you set up the indexer  to NOT run when the computer is unplugged (and battery powered). What happens is that the scheduler won't “reset” itself when the computer is eventually “replugged”. The only way to reset the scheduler is to close Archivarius and restart it.)
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Darwin
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« Reply #52 on: November 23, 2007, 08:55:45 PM »

Yes - I've had that problem with Archivarius as well.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #53 on: November 24, 2007, 12:29:00 PM »

Grrr....

After restarting the scheduler, I kept checking every now and then just to see if it is still running. All is fine until I reboot.  Then -- even though I have SFFS starting with Windows -- the scheduler is no longer running.  It has to be manually restarted with every reboot.  This is totally unacceptable!  What is the purpose of a "scheduler" if it does not run?  Since one must remember to "start" the scheduler each time Windows runs then there is no point at all in scheduling backups to run, as they do not run at all automatically.

I really do miss the point of having such a "non-feature".  Or, more aptly - the developer has apparently missed the point.  Or simply does not understand the meaning of the word "schedule".

A software user should never have to do watch a scheduled task and continually restart the so-called "scheduler".  Not with any application in this day and age.  Granted I do perform checks every now and then just to make sure that any and all of my scheduled tasks are occurring as planned, but I never feel the need to keep checking on a program to see if it is still scheduled at all!  If all scheduled tasks for all programs behaved in this manner, I can't imagine DonationCoder users just standing by, allowing and tolerating such non-performance, and yet still recommending that program highly, as is the case with SFFS.  I wonder why that is?  I have seen other software applications -- ones that I consider extremely useful -- lambasted here for inconveniences that are far less critical than the way the SFFS scheduler behaves.  Weird!

If I had to constantly monitor scheduled tasks for all software applications on my PC, I would be requesting the excellent coders here to please develop a small utility to keep an eye on all scheduled tasks and alert me when I need to restart the scheduler!  Maybe something that could initiate an email or SMS notification that reads something like:  "Alert!!  Time to stop whatever you are doing and go home and restart your SFFS scheduler or no sync jobs will run!!"

OK, OK -- I know.  Enough whining and crying about this.  Time to go find a sync application that works.  SFFS is definitely fast, but when it doesn't sync as scheduled because the scheduler has a faulty design, I lose a lot more time than its speed could ever gain.  (I spent less time and had more reliability using the free Microsoft Power Toy SyncToy - plus, the scheduled syncs actually work so I can relax elsewhere while it takes its good old time!)

Thanks for putting up with my whiny little rant, folks!  I know it is probably annoying, but I feel better!

Jim
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tranglos
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« Reply #54 on: November 24, 2007, 12:53:26 PM »

Thanks for putting up with my whiny little rant, folks!  I know it is probably annoying, but I feel better!
Jim

Not annoying. I welcome your rant :) I have often refrained from posting about similar annoyances - some very severe, others less so - and only gave in to the temptation when SFFS disappointed me greatly, earlier in this thread. I don't know what level of criticism mouser wants to see here, and I always feel uneasy about dressing down a piece of software whose author just offered DC a generous discount, posts here and is an awfully cool guy (or gal). But then, a warning to potential users is just as useful as a recommendation.

I tried SFFS twice, because after I uninstalled it the first time I was convinced it would never get such high recommendations here if it were as bad as I thought it was, but there it is.

I wonder if we could have a section specifically for complaining :) Especially in the case of software that is very good overall, but can have one or two bugs or bad design decisions that just make you tear at your hair - as in, Aargh, how can such an excellent application do something so stupid! I've recently had to ditch a number of apps I would have loved to buy and use due to various little annoyances that made those apps unusable.

I submit that an "Annoyances" section might be useful, since it could become a repository of things to watch out for and avoid when you code. I could list a dozen examples right away, but there's that negativity thing, so I'll shut up now :)
« Last Edit: November 24, 2007, 12:55:01 PM by tranglos » Logged

nosh
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« Reply #55 on: November 24, 2007, 01:12:46 PM »

J-Mac, have you looked if there's a command line parameter to start the scheduler that you can use via the startup? I don't have SFFS on my system currently but I tried it once again after (rather cursorily) panning it because of its interface and quickly realised that a lot of thought and effort has gone into its making. I wouldn't give up on it so easily. <-- scratched the "so easily" part as I'm sure you'll have something to say about that  smiley
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tranglos
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« Reply #56 on: November 24, 2007, 01:31:16 PM »

J-Mac, have you looked if there's a command line parameter to start the scheduler that you can use via the startup?

This would be helpful, but it would not mitigate another issue related to the scheduler - that the scheduler must be stopped before you can view/edit backup jobs. It is not only needless manual work to do, but it's awfully easy to close SFFS without remembering to re-enable the scheduler.

I think this is a really big design flaw, and no other sync/backup application I've seen behaves in this way. If SFFS was designed like this on purpose (rather than by taking the easiest way out), it would be interesting to hear the rationale. It's quite puzzling and seems to lead inevitably to the kind of experience Jim has had.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2007, 01:34:39 PM by tranglos » Logged

Armando
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« Reply #57 on: November 24, 2007, 02:07:10 PM »

I agree with Tranglos that this seems like a big design flaw.
Any scheduler should be ROCK SOLID, easy to set up and not get in the user's way. Otherwise, what's the point ???
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« Reply #58 on: November 24, 2007, 07:05:59 PM »

J-Mac, which version of SFFS are you using (standard or pro)?
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J-Mac
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« Reply #59 on: November 24, 2007, 11:08:10 PM »

J-Mac, which version of SFFS are you using (standard or pro)?


I think I saw a similar post by you last week, Neil.  I have no idea -- I didn't notice there were two editions available.  Either way, the one I purchased listed for $59.90, and I purchased it for $41.90 after the DC discount of 30%.  At that price, I would hope it is the higher level!

And as far as the Extreme Sync option (IIRC, that's what you posted about last week), it doesn't work here.  I tried that after the first time SFFS pulled this and it would not setup the service.  Tried it again right before posting here almoat 24 hours ago, and it still is not working.

When I attempt to setup the service it immediately throws an error about my User ID and/or password.  (Both are correct. Other applications on my PC that have scheduled tasks - including Acronis TI Home 11 - have no trouble using my username and password for their scheduled tasks).  After they were rejected four times (with me entering them so slow and carefully just to be sure), I even tried a copy and paste from Acronis, where the username and password fields are showing in Options, but this Extreme Sync refuses them.  I also tried changing the password (successfully!) and SFFS/Extreme Sync rejected that also. (Of course I then had to also change the P/W in the other programs as well - tested them and all work well).  Except SFFS/Extreme Sync.  (And, yes - I am set up as the Administrator on this Windows XP Pro, SP2 machine).

So I cannot get SFFS to hold a schedule regardless of method.

I'll just have to sync manually with this until I can around to purchasing a sync app with a working scheduler.  Actually, I think I'll go back to SyncToy for the time being.  (Should have stayed with it in the first place!!)

Thanks.

Jim
« Last Edit: November 24, 2007, 11:09:56 PM by J-Mac » Logged

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superflexible
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« Reply #60 on: November 24, 2007, 11:58:48 PM »

Hello Everybody,

I am the developer of Superflexible. It is true that in the current version, it takes a bit of hand work to make it auto-start with Windows. This will be made much easier in version 4.0. I hereby promise a free 4.0 upgrade to anybody who reads this. Just send me an email when you need the updated registration code.

There's a section in the FAQ on my web site on how to make the scheduler auto-start with Windows. Please read "How can I make the scheduler start when Windows starts?" on the following page: http://www.superflexible.com/docs.htm.

Since I cannot monitor forums all the time, I would be very grateful if anybody who has problems would also write to me directly at tobias@superflexible.com. You can be sure that I will reply and fix any issues that should be there. Superflexible is frequently updated because I attempt to immediately fix any problems that users report.

Cheers,
Tobias
http://www.superflexible.com
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J-Mac
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« Reply #61 on: November 25, 2007, 01:33:54 AM »

Tobias,

Thank you for this post.  I just sent an email to you.  I only purchased SFFS 15 days ago on November 10, so an upgrade to Version 4 would be greatly appreciated.  I know I've been thoroughly confused with the method of scheduling in SFFS.

Thanks again.

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #62 on: November 25, 2007, 02:08:34 AM »

Just to clarify about the Extreme Sync Service - especially for NeilS:

I just tried again to install the service and this time I left the user name and password fields blank, and it installed just fine.  Oddly enough, when you schedule tasks via the Windows Scheduler normally, you must have a password set up on the user account that you are using for scheduling the task.  At least that's how it works on Windows XP Pro.  I've never been convinced of the need for requiring a password for the account, nor have I read anything in the Microsoft Knowledge Base that has convinced me, but it is a requirement for using the Windows Task Scheduler.  That's why I was insisting on entering the user account name and password when trying to install the Extreme Sync service.  However it suddenly strck me a few minutes ago that Extreme Sync doesn't actually use the Task Scheduler, per se, but is installed as a service.  So I trudged back to the PC and gave it another try with no user name nor password, and it installed immediately.

I started the service and now I'll see how that works as far as the scheduled synchronizations.  I think I'll add a couple more folders to sync sooner - the others aren't scheduled until next Friday and I don't want to wait that long to test the scheduler via the service.

Thanks to all who posted.

Jim

PS - I want to thank Tobias again for posting here and making the offer that he did. Though the SFFS schedule has caused me a lot of confusion over the last two weeks, it is certainly uncommon for a software developer to visit a forum and interject comments and an offer as Tobias did.  This kind of developer interaction with his users is to be commended, and is definitely appreciated by all.  Thank you again, Tobias. This is very much appreciated here at DonationCoder, and I am certain that word of such good behavior will spread far and wide! -- Jim
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NeilS
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« Reply #63 on: November 25, 2007, 04:09:39 AM »

Glad you got it working, J-Mac. It sounded like you were having a bit of a nightmare there.

I think the only thing that you'll be missing with the blank username/password is the ability for SFFS to access your user files when you are logged out (at least, I think that's the case). Not sure if this is an issue for you or not?

As to why it wasn't working with the user/pass filled in, that's a strange one - I'm pretty sure it's supposed to. In fact, I was under the impression that the user/pass aspect of services was a standardised thing, i.e. the user/pass is stored by Windows and you can access it via the Services tool. If you open up Services and get the properties on the ExtremeSync service, you can set the user/pass via its "Log On" tab. Maybe setting it here will work better for you? Apologies if you've already tried this. smiley

- Neil.
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« Reply #64 on: November 25, 2007, 04:13:48 AM »

Just to clarify, when I say "pretty sure it's supposed to" work with the user/pass filled in, what I mean is: that's how I've got it set up, and it seems to be working. smiley

- Neil.
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« Reply #65 on: November 25, 2007, 04:28:09 AM »

Hello,

specifying username and password for the service is only needed when you want to access network drives. If you don't specify an account, then the service runs under the "Local System" account which has access to local drives only. I think it can access most files, depending on the security settings. Maybe on some systems it can't read some user's files.

Also if you want to access network drives, you can't use mapped drive letters because the service won't see them. To access network drives, the UNC syntax must be used, such as \\Computername\Sharename\Foldername.

Cheers,
Tobias
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« Reply #66 on: November 25, 2007, 05:12:50 AM »

Tobias, will SFFS put anything in the log for inaccessible folders/files? I guess that would be a good way for people to make sure that it's doing what they need with the service settings they are using.

- Neil.
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« Reply #67 on: November 25, 2007, 05:18:03 AM »

Hi,

oh yes, inaccessible folders and files are mentioned in the log files. You can also use email notification to be notified of any problems.

Cheers
Tobias
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« Reply #68 on: December 06, 2007, 02:26:15 PM »

Thanks everybody for a very helpful thread. In the end, and after a lot of comparing, I chose Backup4All rather than either SBSE or SFFS, although both of the latter are rather more powerful and flexible. My reasons were as follows:

1. The DonationCoder discount! (SFFS has one as well, of course...)
2. Very clear and simple method of selecting folders and files to back up across my four partitions.
3. Clear documentation.
4. My simple requirements: don't need ftp for the moment, or synchronization.
5. Only using Backup4All for once-a-day or less versioning (using Caddais or FileHamster for minute-by-minute versioning on crucial files when drafting).

What the thread helped me to do was sort out what I didn't need, what software I was likely to keep using, and what I needed to aim for in terms of proper strategy - in my case, Ghost for imaging; Backup4All for important folder and file backups with versioning to reflect daily changes; and near-continuous versioning using FH or Caddais for drafting.

Thanks again everybody.

DBC
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J-Mac
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« Reply #69 on: December 06, 2007, 04:30:46 PM »

Not a bad choice at all, DBC.  I use BackUp4All also, along with SFFS and FileHamster.  I love FileHamster for its ease and the fact that it just works so well - I will most likely purchase a Pro license shortly.

Of the remaining two, I would make the same choice that you did.  BackUp4All is excellent.  I'll leave it at that...

Jim
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tranglos
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« Reply #70 on: December 06, 2007, 04:44:14 PM »

Not a bad choice at all, DBC.  I use BackUp4All also, along with SFFS and FileHamster.  I love FileHamster for its ease and the fact that it just works so well - I will most likely purchase a Pro license shortly.

Do you know if there's a trial for the Pro version, Jim? It seems that only the free version can be downloaded. (I'll probably still try it anyway, still need to find a real-time-backup-on-change-with-versioning solution).

Still like MirrorFolder, but after emailing the author with some questions regarding performance, then filing a support ticket through their web interface, I'm still waiting for a reply a month later, so it's unlikely to be coming.

Of the remaining two, I would make the same choice that you did.  BackUp4All is excellent.  I'll leave it at that...

Backup4All is excellent, despite of all I've said about it here smiley Having tested nearly all of the backup apps discused on DC, I'm staying with Backup4All. It even saved my a** recently when the manufacturer of my NAS device sent me a beta version of their firmware, which corrupted every file copied onto the device (added 1 byte in front of every file!), and Backup4All complained immediately when it noticed something dicey was happening to its catalog files. It does have a number of quirks, and it's not the optimal backup tool in the ideal Platonic sense, but I'm just about convinved it's the optimal backup tool available today.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2007, 04:46:17 PM by tranglos » Logged

J-Mac
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« Reply #71 on: December 06, 2007, 05:41:01 PM »

Not a bad choice at all, DBC.  I use BackUp4All also, along with SFFS and FileHamster.  I love FileHamster for its ease and the fact that it just works so well - I will most likely purchase a Pro license shortly.

Do you know if there's a trial for the Pro version, Jim? It seems that only the free version can be downloaded. (I'll probably still try it anyway, still need to find a real-time-backup-on-change-with-versioning solution).

Actually they call it FileHamster +Plus.  Here's a link: http://www.mogware.com/filehamster/upgrade/  Maybe you only see this after installing the free version?  I'm not certain.  It has some added features, like better support of external drives & network shares. Plus they claim there will be no further development on the free version; all future development/features will only be available to Plus users.

My real reason would be to help ensure the future of the application by supporting the developers.  I like to do that for free apps if possible.  It helps to keep them around for all!

Of the remaining two, I would make the same choice that you did.  BackUp4All is excellent.  I'll leave it at that...

Backup4All is excellent, despite of all I've said about it here smiley Having tested nearly all of the backup apps discused on DC, I'm staying with Backup4All. It even saved my a** recently when the manufacturer of my NAS device sent me a beta version of their firmware, which corrupted every file copied onto the device (added 1 byte in front of every file!), and Backup4All complained immediately when it noticed something dicey was happening to its catalog files. It does have a number of quirks, and it's not the optimal backup tool in the ideal Platonic sense, but I'm just about convinved it's the optimal backup tool available today.

What can I say?  I have had to write for help a few times already and I've gotten very quick and helpful replies from Adrian at BackUp4All.  Great product and service.  I recommend it to anyone.

Thanks!

Jim
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« Reply #72 on: December 06, 2007, 06:50:32 PM »

Tobias: Can you tell us what major features one can expect from the 4.x product line? I am currently evaluating SyncBackSE and am going to evaluate SFFS soon. What are the major advantages, from your perspective, of sffs over SBSE? Thanks!
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DBC
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« Reply #73 on: December 06, 2007, 07:44:19 PM »

Not a bad choice at all, DBC.  I use BackUp4All also, along with SFFS and FileHamster.  I love FileHamster for its ease and the fact that it just works so well - I will most likely purchase a Pro license shortly.

Of the remaining two, I would make the same choice that you did.  BackUp4All is excellent.  I'll leave it at that...

Jim

Thanks, Jim. I think this combo will get me to backup more regularly, which is what I really need to do. I was OK on imaging and crucial versioning. It was the vital daily b/us that I was neglecting, and I think Backup4All 's simplicity will encourage me to do this.

Derek
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« Reply #74 on: December 06, 2007, 08:02:16 PM »


Do you know if there's a trial for the Pro version, Jim? It seems that only the free version can be downloaded. (I'll probably still try it anyway, still need to find a real-time-backup-on-change-with-versioning solution).

I use Caddais and Filehamster pretty much interchangeably. My only reason for getting Caddais in the first place was for working with Word files. Nowadays, though, I do a lot of my drafting in NoteTab Pro which has a neat versioning backup system built into the program - one of a select few to do so.

N.B. It was your mention of Backup4All earlier in the thread that encouraged me to look at it again. Thanks for that :-)

Derek
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