Free Windows file sync programs? FreeFileSync, etc.

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
foot Veteran Member • Posts: 4,755
FreeFileSync uses lots of sub-folders/files, not a single archive file...

Eric Carlson wrote:

It's super simple to set up and use versioning. If you can use backup and restore, you can use versioning without much thought or effort at all.

i took a quick look at:

"FreeFileSync - Open Source File Synchronization"

https://freefilesync.org/manual.php?topic=versioning

from what I read,  (clip from their documenation pasted below) it uses a folder-based system to store both the current versions, and a folder structure to store the previous file versions. Personally I avoid folder-based archives.  I find there are several issues with them:

1)  Different OS have much different file-naming specifications. A big one is that Linux type OS supports case-sensitive naming.  Windows is case-insensitive. So right there is a conflict.

2) also different OS allow different characters in the file names.  And the current windows OS versions (win10, win11) still have issues with long file names (> around 260 characters, total).  Programs have to be modified at the source code level! to use the actual limit of around 32,000+ characters...

3) the archive consists of a huge number of files...

3.a) So this slows down file copy/backup (you do back up your archives, right?? I sure do!!)

3.b) Individual files can be corrupted (as can entire sub-folders). Windows will often "mask" this by automatically "fixing the program" which means the corrupted folders/files are removed.  Unless you are watching carefully, all the time, this can go un-noticed

3.c) file date/time stamps can accidently be set, losing the actual file date/times

3.d) not all file systems support the create date/time stamps!!

I prefer my archive versioning/journalling program to store the entire archive in a single file.  To me this is more convient, and more reliable

Currently I use Robocopy to take all the important folders/files into a single backup folder. Then I use a versioning/journaling program ("zpaq", open source so it will never become an orphaned program) to update the archive file. Periodically I backup the archive file.

I do this all thru a batch file, which makes the process easy and convienient. Plus I can backup/archive the batch files!!

Robocopy and zpaq are both plenty fast enough that I run them often during the day

"2. Keep multiple versions of old files
Set deletion handling to Versioning and naming convention to Time stamp [File]. FreeFileSync will move deleted files into the provided folder and add a time stamp to each file name. The structure of the synchronized folders is preserved so that old versions of a file can be conveniently accessed via a file browser.

Example: Last versions of the file Folder\File.txt inside folder D:\Revisions
D:\Revisions\Folder\File.txt 2020-12-11 111111.txt
D:\Revisions\Folder\File.txt 2020-12-12 122222.txt
D:\Revisions\Folder\File.txt 2020-12-13 133333.txt

With naming convention Time stamp [Folder] files are moved into a time-stamped subfolder of the versioning folder while their names remain unchanged. This makes it easy to manually undo a synchronization by moving the deleted files from the versioning folder back to their original folders.

Example: Last versions of the file Folder\File.txt inside folder D:\Revisions
D:\Revisions\2020-12-11 111111\Folder\File.txt
D:\Revisions\2020-12-12 122222\Folder\File.txt
D:\Revisions\2020-12-13 133333\Folder\File.txt"

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