Best Free Folder Synchronization Software( Compare / Backup / Sync / Preview / Versioning )

I used to think that Cobian Backup Boletus and FreeFileSync are the best free backup and sync program, now it seems that I am wrong. The world is changing everyday, a commercial software has been released as freeware recently, this makes it become the best free folder synchronization application. I have never thought of replacing SyncBackPro with Cobian Backup Boletus or FreeFileSync, because the latter two ones lacks 3 very important features which is available in SyncBackPro, but now things are different.

CopyTo Synchronizer is the one I mentioned above, I have been using SyncBackPro for over 3 years, now I can say that you could use CopyTo Synchronizer as alternative to SyncBackPro or SyncBackSE. The 3 most important features are listed below:

1, Preview

CopyTo Synchronizer allows you preview which files and folders will be copied / replaced, you can uncheck those files that you do not want to backup / sync, or compare them to see the difference.

I often download some 1080p high definition movies from the Web, but I think that it’s not necessary to backup these files to external hard drive, so I can ignore these files before copying files with CopyTo Synchronizer easily.

2, Compare

CopyTo Synchronizer allows you do a binary comparison between two folders and list the different ones. Furthermore, and where it really shines is, you can specify external application for comparing / merging, press Ctrl+O in the preview window, and navigate to the “External Applications” tab, now hit the New button and select an external program, for example, WinMergeU.exe. CopyTo Synchronizer will automatically fill in the command line for you: “C:\Program Files\WinMerge\WinMergeU.exe” “%1″ “%2″, you can set the menu title to “Compare with WinMerge”.

Now you can right click any item in the preview window and select “Compare with WinMerge” from the context menu, CopyTo Synchronizer will launch WinMerge and compare the source and destination file side by side for you.

WinMerge is the best text comparison tool, it allows you compare / merge text files easily, you can also use it to compare Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF files with the xdocdiff WinMerge Plugin.

3, Versioning

Incremental backup is a very nice feature, but if your files on the local hard drive is incorrectly, it will overwrite you backup files without your notice, and you even can not recover the correct ones with data recovery software, because they’re overwritten, not deleted. CopyTo Synchronizer gives you the ability to versioning your files: if a file is modified in the source folder, the correspond one on the destination folder will be renamed first( for example, from “MyTextFile.txt” to “MyTextFile-12032010-1939-001.txt” ) before the source one is copied to the destination.

Now you have two version of “MyTextFile.txt” in your backup device: “MyTextFile-12032010-1939-001.txt” and “MyTextFile.txt”, you can restore the one on your local hard disk to any version easily. If you have ever used Microsoft Visual SourceSafe (VSS) or SVN, you will find that versioning is a very useful and important feature, the beautiful thing is that you do not have to check in / check out files for editing with CopyTo Synchronizer.

You can enable the versioning feature under the Revisions tab in the Project Properties dialog.

4, Other features

  • Supports 14 modes: backup, synchronize, backup both ways, copy backup, full backup, different backup, incremental backup, update, restore, file compare, copy, move, move to recycle bin, delete.
  • Verify each file after copying.
  • Include / Exclude files and folders with filters.
  • Exclude system or hidden files/directories.
  • Move to recycle bin instead of delete.
  • Date filter based on the file’s modified timestamp.
  • Compress files to zip archive and protect them with password.
  • Supports Unicode filenames.
  • Supports customizing the sounds when Finished/Preview/Error/Confirmation.
  • Supports integrating with Windows explorer.
  • Save / Load customization settings to project file for later use.
  • Export log to html file.

CopyTo Synchronizer supports Windows 7 and Windows XP / Vista / 2000.

Download it from CNET.

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