This is part 2 of an article previously posted.

SyncToy is a recently released free Microsoft tool designed to simplify the managing synchronizations. SyncToy provides a nice GUI to make you feel comfortable with setting up and managing synchronization(s). Essentially, SyncToy is to automated file copy what AOL is to the browser/Internet.

SyncToy starts off by asking you to create a Folder Pair. SyncToy calls the folders to be synched Left and Right Folders, for simplicity’s sake. Then, SyncToy wants to know you what you would like to do with your Folder Pair. You can ask SyncToy to Synchronize, Echo, Subscribe, Contribute or Combine your Folder Pair.

Once completed, SyncToy will list for you all of the Folder Pairs you’ve set up.

From this management interface, the user can preview the files that are involved an on an individual basis. Clicking the Run button, of course, will perform the action and produe a report. Other than that, there are very few options available. You can exclude a file or a subfolder, tell SyncToy to put overwritten files in the trash, and change the action you wish SyncToy to perform.

SyncToy does not feature a built-in scheduler. If you wish to automate the SyncToy’s processes, SyncToy’s help menu suggests you do so by using the Scheduled Tasks tool found in Windows 2000 and Windows XP’s System Tools folders.

Frankly, if you are looking to schedule SyncToy to be automated, you may find that this workaround stinks. My experience with Scheduled Tasks has been less than satisfactory, particularly with Windows 2000. When scheduled to run at system startup, I’ve found that Scheduled Tasks will make that task run about 50% of the time at best.

In our simple tests, SyncToy performed rather admirably both on a local level and across a network. SyncToy does not appear to be a suitable replacement for Robocopy, as it does not have the capabilities or options to do the heavy lifting that system administrators are accustomed to finding in Robocopy’s toolset. However, everyday users may find SyncToy meets their requirements and looks pretty.