Monday, May 30, 2016

FIle & Folder Mirroring: top picks and other misc notes

I have two folders on my system: “Standalone Apps” and “Updaters”.

The first one pretty much speaks for its content. The second folder contains the most recent installation binaries for third-party browser plugins, security applications, etc.

I keep them updated weekly.  Then I synchronize (mirror) them to a few different USB drive devices.

I have been using FreeFileSync Portable for a long time as my primary tool to handle it.  It has a clear interface, runs pretty fast, and has been reliable. I can do a “preview” of the synchronization run to see just what will occur. Drawbacks? I’m stuck on the older v6.2 build as it is the last one that plays nicest with the portable launcher. It also is more complicated in that it uses a lot of dependencies to make it work.

I had been using Dimio's DSynchronize application before that. I still do use it once a month or so just in case it catches something that FreeFileSync misses. I like it is that it is very small and fast, regularly updated, and has a complex “simple” interface.

So TinyApps bloggist brought a new synchronization tool to my attention recently in the blog post Synchronize, backup, or copy files and folders.

It’s a very nice freeware tool called SyncFolders. As TinyApps points out, it can be combined with ShadowSpawn to leverage the VSS.

The only “problem” I had using it the first time was that I had selected the “copy” option in my rule build and not “back-up”. This meant that none of the removed files in my “source” set were getting deleted on target drives. Once I figured that detail out it was smooth mirroring.

In my post Call Me Burned but Recovered: Windows 10 Upgrade Failure I mentioned a backup tool called Drive Snapshot that seemed pretty darn cool.

TinyApps reached out to me after that post and kindly shared some content on his site related to this backup tool:

Somehow I also ended up finding Image for Windows via Terabyte. They offer their backup/restoration tool in DOS/Linux/Windows editions with a free 30-day trial version. Full product purchase is less than $50 at the time of this post.

As noted in my original post my whole-system backup solution involved using a boot version of OSFClone to capture my system partition to a USB drive IMG file. Restoration was booting with a WinPE stick, running DiskPart to recreate my partition structure, then booting a LiveCD ISO of Linux Mint (Cinnamon version). Then I used the Ubuntu Disk Image Writer already integrated in the Mint OS build shell to browse to my IMG file on the external USB drive and simply selected my system’s primary HDD to write the image back, after first confirming I was selecting the correct one with gParted.

For my standard system-wide key file and folder backups for disaster recovery I am still using the freeware application Back4Sure in the portable version. This backup routine focuses not on creating an entire system backup image but just the most critical folders on my system that would allow me to recover my user-data in the event of a malware/cryptoware attack.


Claus Valca

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