How to Synchronize Folders in Windows

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Several free programs automatically synchronize folders in Windows, including Dsynchronize (also available here), Synkron and Yadis! Backup.

Tip

  • Which of these applications is best for your needs depend on how frequently you update your files and how often you want the synchronization to occur. Dsynchronize and Yadis! Backup can both perform real-time synchronization (synchronizing changes almost immediately), while Synkron can synchronize changes as often as once a minute. Real-time synchronization provides faster updates and greater security in case of a problem, but uses slightly more system resources, especially if you update your files frequently.

Here's how to synchronize a folder using Dsynchronize.

Step 1: Remove Existing Folders from the Lists

Open DSynchronize.

(Image: Dimitrios Coutsoumbas)

If any folders display in the Sources list, right-click each folder and select Remove. Each folder removed from the Sources list is also removed from the Destinations list.

Step 2: Add a Folder Pair

DSynchronize synchronizes folders in pairs, with one folder listed in the Sources list and the second listed in the Destinations list. Paired folders are listed side-by-side, so the first folder in the Sources list is paired with the first folder in the Destinations list.

(Image: Dimitrios Coutsoumbas)

To add a new folder, right-click the white background in the list and select Add New....

Step 3: Select the Source Folder

The Sources list specifies the folder containing the files to copy.#

(Image: Dimitrios Coutsoumbas)

To enter a folder name by hand, type it directly into the Sources list. To browse for a folder, press the Browse button, find and highlight the folder in the Browse for Folder dialog, and press OK.

Step 4: Select the Destination Folder

The Destinations list specifies the location for the copied files.

(Image: Dimitrios Coutsoumbas)

Enter a folder in the Destinations list the same way you entered a folder in the Sources list.

Step 5: Manually Synchronize Folders

(Image: Dimitrios Coutsoumbas)

To copy files manually, press the Synchronize button. The Deleted files, Added files and Replaced files lists display any changes made.

Tip

  • By default, each pair in the Sources and Destinations lists copies files in only one direction, from the folder in the Sources list to the folder in the Destinations list. To synchronize files in both directions, check the Bidirectional synchronization option in the General options section.

Step 6: Set up Automatic Synchronization

Use DSynchronize to automatically synchronize the folders, so that any time you add or change files in the source folder, the changes are automatically copied to the destination folder.

(Image: Dimitrios Coutsoumbas)

To enable automatic synchronization, select the Realtime sync check box in the Special options section. When prompted, press OK.

Tip

  • DSynchronize and other synchronization applications offer many additional options, including how to handle errors and how to log changes. Review the options on your application and check the user manual or help files to find out more.

Continue Synchronizing After Windows Restart

By default, even with the Realtime sync option selected, DSynchronize does not restart when you shut down or restart Windows. Although your folders and option choices are remembered, the default settings require a manual restart of DSynchronize to continue synchronizing your folders.

(Image: Dimitrios Coutsoumbas)

To change this, select the Autostart check box so that DSynchonize automatically starts when you log in to Windows.

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