Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
File Comparison and Directory Synchronization
When I found the
freeware package FolderSync listed on PC World's
101 Freebies web page (http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,124883,00.asp), I couldn't resist giving it a
try. I'm always looking for a quick and easy way to make
backups of projects in progress and usually this means
copying new and updated files from my working directory
to a USB memory key. And, that's precisely what
FolderSync is designed to do.
To conduct a comparison, you need to specify the
directories with both the new and the
old versions of the files. Pressing the
Compare Files button then creates a
two-column list of the files in the two directories. An
equality sign is displayed between each set of two files
that are identical. Any differences between files are
noted with a large check mark to the left of the file
name listings, and an arrow indicating a newer version of
a file that can be copied so as to replace the older
button allows you to specify that the folders should be
synchronized. No immediate action is taken. Rather, a
pop-up dialogue box offers various file transfer options.
In particular, you can specify that files should be
copied from the directory containing the new versions to
the directory with the old versions or, conversely, that
files should be copied from the old to the new version.
In addition, there is an option to delete files from the
old version that dont exist in the new version.
This all sounds very complicated but, in practice, both
the check marks and the file listings are colour coded as
either blue or red, depending on which directory contains
the newer version, and the arrows point in the
appropriate directions to copy the new version over the
old. Furthermore, file selection buttons on the menu bar
allow the display to be filtered in several ways. One
useful option to simplify a large directory listing is to
include only those files that are different between the
Additional program options are to include sub-directories
in the folder comparisons, and to compare files by either
time/date stamp or by binary content. The program allows
all the specified options to be saved to a
profile that can be retrieved for future use,
this being intended to automate regularly performed
An unusual option is the ability to create a
patch file that contains only the differences
in content between two sets of files. The programs
author suggests that this technique can be used to
quickly update a large file (or a set of files) that is
distributed by E-mail, since it is only necessary to send
the changes, using the patch, rather than transmitting
the complete new version of the file.
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Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.
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