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Last post Author Topic: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review  (Read 28159 times)

IainB

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FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
« on: February 18, 2012, 08:51:15 AM »
    Original post:2012-02-18
    Last updated:2015-05-21 re latest version update and Synchronisation Options.

    Basic Info
    App NameFreeFileSync - 01 logo.png
    Thumbs-Up Rating :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:
    App URLhttp://freefilesync.sourceforge.net/
    App Version ReviewedThere is only a Freeware version.
    The latest version is 7.0
    (still an excellent backup tool)
    Test System Specs
    Quote
    Key Features: (copied from Help file)
    1.   Compare files (bytewise or by date) and synchronize them.
    2.   No limitations: An arbitrary number of files can be synchronized.
    3.   Unicode support.
    4.   Network support.
    5.   Transactional file copy
    6.   Built-in support for very long filenames (more than MAX_PATH = 260 characters).
    7.   Synchronization database for propagation of deleted files and conflict detection
    8.   Copy NTFS alternate data streams, compressed and encrypted file attributes
    9.   Support for multiple folder pairs with distinct configuration
    10.   Full support for Windows/Linux Symbolic Links and Windows Junction Points.
    11.   Lean & easily accessible UI: Highly optimized for speed and huge sets of data.
    12.   Algorithms coded in C++ completely.
    13.   All progress indicators optimized for maximum performance!
    14.   Create Batch Jobs for automated synchronization with or without GUI.
    15.   Focus on usability:
       a.   Only necessary functionality on UI: no overloaded menus or icon jungle.
       b.   Select all folders via drag & drop.
       c.   Last used configuration and screen settings are saved automatically.
       d.   Maintain and load different configurations by drag & drop, load-button or commandline.
       e.   Double-click to start external application (e.g. show file in Windows Explorer)
       f.   Copy & paste all grid data as text
       g.   Delete superfluous/temporary files directly on main grid.
       h.   Right-click context menu.
       i.   Comprehensive status information and error reporting
       j.   Sort file-lists by name, size or date.
    14.   Support for filesizes larger than 4 GB.
    15.   Option to move files to Recycle Bin instead of deleting/overwriting them.
    16.   Ignore directories "\RECYCLER" and "\System Volume Information" with default filter. (Windows only)
    17.   Localized versions are available for many languages.
    18.   Delete before copy: Avoid disc space shortages for large sync-jobs.
    19.   Filter functionality to include/exclude files from synchronization (without requiring a re-compare!).
    20.   Include/exclude specific files from synchronization temporarily.
    21.   Automatically handle daylight saving time changes on FAT/FAT32 volumes.
    22.   Portable version available (selectable via installer).
    23.   Native 64-Bit version.
    24.   Check for updates from within FreeFileSync automatically.
    25.   Copy locked files using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service. (Windows only)
    26.   Create regular backups with macros %time%, %date% within directory names
    27.   Copy file create/modification times when synchronizing.
    28.   Advanced locking strategy to allow multiple synchronization processes (e.g. multiple writers, same network share).
    29.   Case-sensitive synchronization of file, directory and symlink names
    Supported OSesWindows and Linux
    Support Methods
    Upgrade PolicyAutomatic free upgrades.
    Trial Version Available?Yes. (Trial version and Full version are one and the same.)
    Pricing SchemeFreeware

    SCREENSHOT OF APP INTERFACE:

    FreeFileSync - 02 UI 2012-02-19 030428.jpg

    Introduction:
    I had been trialling several backup alternative solutions and started to trial FFS as a result of reading @Curt's post: FreeFileSync (Open-Source) « on: 2011-04-19, 16:23:00 »
    I quickly discovered that FFS was a superb backup system, and continued to use it.    :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

    I felt I had to consolidate my thoughts on FFS after reading this excellent comparison and review of 2012-02-17, between FFS and Microsoft SyncToy: Is FreeFileSync Better Sync Software Than Microsoft SyncToy?
    The above review is well worth reading, and I shall not duplicate it here.

    Overview:
    FreeFileSync is a folder comparison and synchronization tool providing highly optimized performance and usability without needless user interface complexity.
    It is highly customisable and includes real-time monitoring capability and maintenance of versions in the backups.
    The website at https://sourceforge....ojects/freefilesync/ lists these features:
    Quote
    • 1. Detect moved and renamed files and folders
    • 2. Copy locked files (Volume Shadow Copy Service)
    • 3. Detect conflicts and propagate deletions
    • 4. Binary comparison
    • 5. Full support for Symbolic Links
    • 6. Automate sync as a batch job
    • 7. Multiple folder pairs
    • 8. Copy NTFS extended attributes (compressed, encrypted, sparse)
    • 9. Copy NTFS security permissions
    • 10. Support long path names > 260 characters
    • 11. Fail-safe file copy
    • 12. Cross-platform: Windows/Linux
    • 13. Expand environment variables like %USERPROFILE%
    • 14. Access variable drive letters by volume name (USB sticks)
    • 15. Native 32 and 64-bit builds
    • 16. Keep versions of deleted/updated files
    • 17. Optimal sync sequence prevents disc space bottlenecks
    • 18. Full unicode support
    • 19. Highly optimized performance
    • 20. Include/exclude files via filter
    • 21. Local and portable installation
    • 22. Handle daylight saving time changes on FAT/FAT32
    • 23. Use macros %time%, %date%, et al. for recurring backups
    • 24. Case sensitive synchronization
    • 25. Built-in locking serializes multiple jobs running against the same network share

    Who this app is designed for:
    FFS would be an ideal automated backup tool for any computer system where the user wished to have a "fire and forget" backup strategy to minimise/avoid risk of data loss.

    The Good:
    • Simple and highly flexible at the UI (User Interface). The user can select 1 of 4 Variants of backup, and within Variants 2, 3, and 4, the user can select Synchronisation Options (Categories and Actions) to establish precise backup procedures. Variant 1 necessitates FFS building a control database to manage the backups, and specifying the rules for that backup, using that database. That same database approach can be selected for the Variants 2, 3, and 4, if required to detect moved files. Refer separate section at the end of this review, entitled Details of Synchronisation Options.
    • An excellent piece of software that so far has done its job very well (as above) on my laptop.    :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:
    • The software can automatically check for updates to cope with improvements and new hardware and drivers.
    • The good points of FFS are comprehensively covered in the excellent comparison and review of 2012-02-17, between FFS and Microsoft SyncToy: Is FreeFileSync Better Sync Software Than Microsoft SyncToy?
    • Real-time syncing works perfectly, and is a breeze to set up (I used the Help document). Really good.    :Thmbsup:

    The needs improvement section:
    • I have not observed that anything needs improvement. No annoyances. In any event, the software is updated periodically, to implement improvements and bug fixes.
    • Not so much an improvement as a suggested alternative set-up approach: The user could consider using reparse links (folder junctions) to set up a library for FFS to backup, rather than spell them out individually - as I have done - in the FFS configuration.
    • WARNING: @PhilB66 reminded me that the install now included OpenCandy, so make sure you pick the right setting:

      FreeFileSync - 03 OpenCandy at install.png
    How it compares to similar apps:
    • SyncToy: Read the comparison/review: Is FreeFileSync Better Sync Software Than Microsoft SyncToy?
    • Handy Backup: FFS was certainly good enough to shift me from Handy Backup, which I had been using for years, and with FFS' RealTimeSync module (Handy Backup didn't do that), I am very happy with the outcome.
    • BeyondSync: I had posted a very brief note/review about BeyondSync Standard 4.3, which product worked OK for syncing, but I could not get its real-time syncing to work, and so uninstalled it from my laptop.
    • Other: There was also an interesting discussion on DCF re various backup software (not necessarily FreeFileSync): backup software - file-by-file sets

    When I can put aside the time for it, I intend to trial and report on the backup functionality mentioned in AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review, and refer to the report in this FFS review.
    [/list]

    Why I think you should use this product:
    My experience of FFS is that it is a superb backup software tool, and with it's RealTimeSynce module it seems to be a real winner.

    Conclusions:
    Superb backup tool.
    Note that the list of key features given above does not provide a comprehensive list of all the functionality of this software. There are many other features.
    Does what it says it does, and very well.
    This is a picture of a backup disc (note the VERSIONING directory):

    FreeFileSync - 04 Backup as at 2012-04-24 drive H.jpg


    This is a progress report just prior to completing the sync/backup:

    FreeFileSync - 05 Backup near completion.png

    Links to other reviews of this application:
    If you Google FFS, you will find various reviews, but, as above, this one is good: Is FreeFileSync Better Sync Software Than Microsoft SyncToy?
    _______________________________________________

    Details of Synchronisation Options:

    FreeFileSync - 06 Synchronisation Options.pngFreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 07:35:52 PM by IainB, Reason: Update re latest version (v7.0) + Synchronisation Options »

    parttimecoder

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 11:50:58 AM »
    Hi IainB

    Thanks for taking the time to review this great sync utility. Over the years I have experimented with most paid, free and open source backup utilities, and was delighted at discovering this one. I have used it with a small backup project thus far and can say that it has just the right feature set so far. I have a client with a 40+Gb data set that I will test this with.

    Again appreciated your review.

    Redhat

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #2 on: April 07, 2012, 10:17:15 AM »
    Nice review IainB!

    Sounds like a great program. Could you tell me please if FFS can backup to network shares, maybe WebDAV etc. for remote backup?

    Thanks!

    x16wda

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #3 on: April 07, 2012, 10:25:42 AM »
    Network drives - yes definitely.  Anything else will work, I think, if you can get it to map as a drive letter (e.g., with ftpdrive, netdrive, etc).
    vi vi vi - editor of the beast

    kalos

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #4 on: April 07, 2012, 07:14:43 PM »
    Does it store different versions of the files for backup and archiving purposes?

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 08:02:20 PM »
    Does it store different versions of the files for backup and archiving purposes?

     - I think this might answer your Q:
    It is highly customisable and includes real-time monitoring capability and maintenance of versions in the backups.

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-04-30)
    « Reply #6 on: April 29, 2012, 11:27:33 PM »
    Just did a minor update to the review details in the opening post (now re version 5.2, as at 2012-04-30).

    PhilB66

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-04-30)
    « Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 02:55:22 AM »
    Just did a minor update to the review details in the opening post (now re version 5.2, as at 2012-04-30).
    Thank you for this review, IainB. FreeFileSync installer is now powered by OpenCandy.

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-04-30)
    « Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 07:04:42 AM »
    Just did a minor update to the review details in the opening post (now re version 5.2, as at 2012-04-30).
    Thank you for this review, IainB. FreeFileSync installer is now powered by OpenCandy.
    @PhilB66. I knew that, but had forgotten to add it in to the review update. Thanks for reminding me! Done now.

    PhilB66

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-04-30)
    « Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 07:32:14 PM »
    Just did a minor update to the review details in the opening post (now re version 5.2, as at 2012-04-30).
    Thank you for this review, IainB. FreeFileSync installer is now powered by OpenCandy.
    @PhilB66. I knew that, but had forgotten to add it in to the review update. Thanks for reminding me! Done now.
    Good. There is no mention of OpenCandy on the FFS Website. Its SF page and the Readme file too fail to mention OC. I do not mind the "new" ad-supported installer trend at all but the developer should make it public knowledge. When it is done in a sneaky way, my trust is gone. I dumped FFS for that reason.

    SKA

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-04-30)
    « Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 01:38:21 AM »
    Use /NOCANDY parameter when starting the installation program, or use a portable package, to avoid installation with OpenCandy.

    Ska

    kalos

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-04-30)
    « Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 06:12:48 AM »
    this program needs radical GUI redesigning :/

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-07-11)
    « Reply #12 on: July 11, 2012, 02:10:27 AM »
    Just did a detailed update to the opening post review notes (now re version 5.5, as at 2012-07-11).

    tomos

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-07-11)
    « Reply #13 on: July 11, 2012, 02:54:08 AM »
    Just did a detailed update to the opening post review notes (now re version 5.5, as at 2012-07-11).

    were there any noticable differences between this and previous versions?
    I see the forum and bug tracker are very active :up:
    Tom

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-07-11)
    « Reply #14 on: July 11, 2012, 06:09:56 AM »
    ...were there any noticable differences between this and previous versions?...
    No - nothing that I noticed, anyway. I was in a bit of a rush though, so could have missed something obvious.

    tomos

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-07-11)
    « Reply #15 on: July 11, 2012, 06:54:56 AM »
    ...were there any noticable differences between this and previous versions?...
    No - nothing that I noticed, anyway. I was in a bit of a rush though, so could have missed something obvious.

    Just curious - it's good to know it's being updated and very actively supported :up:
    Tom

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #16 on: September 13, 2012, 08:18:24 AM »
    There's a comparison at MakeUseOf.com, between FreeFileSync vs. Microsoft SyncToy:
    Is FreeFileSync Better Sync Software Than Microsoft SyncToy? [Windows]
    Quote
    ...
    The Verdict
    FreeFileSync trumps SyncToy on all fronts. Perhaps it’s not surprising, given that SyncToy isn’t something Microsoft is focusing on – it hasn’t been updated since 2009. Maybe it’s time to take Microsoft SyncToy off our Best Of page and add FreeFileSync? I can’t see a reason to use SyncToy over FreeFileSync.
    « Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 05:15:01 AM by IainB »

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-10-30).
    « Reply #17 on: October 30, 2012, 02:40:03 AM »
    Just did a detailed update and added an image to the opening post review notes (now re version 5.8, as at 2012-10-30).
    « Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 05:20:03 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor correction. »

    Ath

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-10-30)
    « Reply #18 on: October 30, 2012, 03:39:41 AM »
    Just did a detailed update and added an image to the opening post review notes (now re version 5.8, as at 2012-10-30).
    Maybe you should have updated the original message subject as well... :huh:

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review (updated 2012-10-30)
    « Reply #19 on: October 30, 2012, 05:18:51 AM »
    @Ath: Thanks. There were several with a "wrong" date reference. Fixed now.

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #20 on: November 10, 2012, 04:53:59 AM »
    2012-11-10: Updates to the Opening Post (still doing a couple of minor changes), relating to:
    • The latest version is now 5.9.
    • A bit about my testing of the RealTimeSync module of FreeFileSync - it's very good!    :Thmbsup:
    • Better comparison notes regarding other backup proggies, now including BeyondSync - briefly reviewed here.

    cmpm

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #21 on: November 10, 2012, 07:56:34 AM »
    The OC deal is removed by Eset Nod32 during installation (after reboot).
    While still allowing FreeFileSync to install.

    FWIW, Eset catches some OC packages and some show up without being detected.
    Some of their install wrappers are considered a threat, others are not, I suppose.

    IainB

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #22 on: January 03, 2013, 10:27:20 PM »
    Just did a minor update to the review in the opening post. FFS is now up to version 5.10 - mostly fixes for Linux and/or Windows versions, no major new features.

    tomos

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #23 on: January 26, 2013, 02:46:35 PM »
    Just installed FreeFileSync_5.11_setup.exe

    I dont mind Open Candy, but this was sneaky imo:

    Screenshot - 2013-01-26 , 21_38_30.png

    OC was already mentioned above, but the reason I'm posting about it again is because the option here is pre-selected.
    Also, it's the last step and if you're not focusing/going too quick you might just think it's the 'I accept ...' terms for FreeFileSync itself, and just click install.

    Just warning in case.
    As said above, probably better installing the portable version and making your own shortcuts
    Tom

    tomos

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    Re: FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review
    « Reply #24 on: January 26, 2013, 03:09:57 PM »
    I hadnt used the versioning before.

    You have to designate/create a folder for older versions (see shot below).
    It then recreates the folder structure (as necessary) within this folder :up:
    Very good :Thmbsup:


    Screenshot - 2013-01-26 , 22_03_08.pngFreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review

    Tom