Backup automatically with GoodSync


You already know that it is wise to make regular backups. But have you organized your backups optimally? For example, by making central backups in case you have multiple computers and other devices in the house. Or by continuously synchronizing the files between the devices. You can make automatic backups in this way with the free Goodsync.

We get started with GoodSync. With this program you synchronize data from different devices. This can be a laptop, but also a mobile device or an online storage location. For example, you can synchronize files from your laptops with the other computers on your home network, but also with a network disk (NAS) that is active within the network. You can also sync files from a local computer to your Dropbox account. This way you ensure that your files are stored in different locations and you take full advantage of the fact that you have multiple devices.

A program like GoodSync offers great flexibility in file management, which is exactly what we’re looking for in a multi-computer situation.

Download and install GoodSync

We choose GoodSync Free, the program that you can use for free. During the installation you can choose the Dutch language, but we are less satisfied with the quality of the translation. In addition, certain parts have not been translated. We therefore assume the English version for this article.

During the installation you will be asked to create an account. Although this step is not mandatory, it is required for our purpose. Only with an account can you include multiple devices in the synchronization and secure the files of different devices in a backup. If you do not create an account, the software only works “locally”. So we create an account so that we can use the GoodSync protocol.

If you did not indicate during the installation that you want to create an account, you can still do this afterwards. Choose Tools, GoodSync Account Setup. click on Create a new GoodSync Account and click Next. After this you determine the name of the computer you want to add to the GoodSync account (at This Computer Name). Enter an email address, password and username and click Next.

Then choose the option Serve Files from this Computer to GoodSync clients. This option allows files to be sent from the current computer to the other computers on the network. Enter your password and click Next and Apply. A certificate is attached to the computer and the computer is added to the group.

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Backup and Synchronize

The GoodSync main window has a simple structure. On the left you will find an overview of all ‘jobs’, or tasks. The right side of the window is reserved for an overview of the files and folders covered by a job. Here you will also find an overview of any conflicts and points of attention for each task.

Click on to create a new task New Job. You can find this button at the top left of the window. First, name the task in the top box. Then you indicate what type of task you want to create: Backup or Synchronize. With the first option (Backup) an exact copy is made from one folder to another folder, but not the other way around (read: “one-way traffic”). Even if you delete a folder or file in the source folder, it will be reflected in the other folder. The second option (Synchronize) does the same thing, but in both directions. So folders and files that are added in one folder are also added in the other folder (read: “two-way traffic”). The same goes for file deletion.

click on OK to complete the task. This is added to the task overview, which you see on the left of the window. The task is selected automatically (recognizable because it is shown in bold). Now you specify which folders and files should be involved. First click on the icon of the left folder (recognizable by the yellow icon of a folder with a question mark). A new window opens, in which you select the source folder. GoodSync supports a good amount of resources, and this is where the strength of the program lies.

Backup files

Indicate where the source files are located. If it concerns local files, choose My Computer and point to the location. If it concerns online files, choose the corresponding service (for example Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox). click on OK to set the folder. Then set up the right folder and click OK when you’re done.

It is important to remember which role this folder gets. If you have previously selected Backup, this is the destination folder in which the items from the previously selected left folder are placed or deleted. Any changes that first occur in the right folder will not be reflected in the left folder. This does happen if you have selected the option Synchronize in GoodSync.

When setting up GoodSync, keep in mind that not all files are taken by the program during the backup and sync actions. For example, hidden files and system files are excluded.

If you want total control, you can determine which files are included or excluded. Open the GoodSync settings window and open the section Filters. Click the plus sign by the box Include All of to add items. The box below – Exclude All after Include – provides space to exclude correct items. Click the plus sign and add the excluded items.

In the lower part of the window you will find additional options. Here you can exclude empty folders (Exclude empty folders), as well as hidden files and folders (Exclude Hidden files and folders), system files and folders (Exclude System files and folders) and temporary items (Exclude Temporary files and folders).

Test run

In the right window you will find the button Analysis. This allows you to check in advance which actions take place before they are actually applied. This way you can see which files and folders are added and which items disappear.

Several categories are visible in the line at the top of the overview. For example, you can see here at a glance whether there are conflicts between files (for example, if the same file has changed in both folders and you have to choose which file to overwrite) or any errors (if the file name in combination with the path to it has too many characters). takes up). Are you satisfied with the analysis and do you want to actually perform the task: click Sync.

Automate backups

A good backup policy hinges on the frequency with which you make the backups. By automating your backup tasks, you no longer have to worry about it and you may forget it. In the settings window you choose Car, or click the button Car at the top right of the program window.

In the box Auto Analyze and Sync you can specify a number of variables that ensure that the synchronization starts automatically as soon as something “changes”. Choose On File Change if you want to automatically secure the file as soon as something changes (at Delay specify the number of seconds after which the action should be executed: choose 30 seconds here to prevent the action from starting immediately when the file may not have been completely changed yet).

We also choose to have the promotion take place periodically: in that case you specify a number of hours after which the promotion must take place. Check the box Periodically (On Timer), every. In the boxes next to it, enter the time, for example 8 hours, so that the synchronization takes place at the end of a working day.

It is recommended that GoodSync synchronize all files on the computers in your home network at a predetermined time. For example, every day at nine in the morning. Choose On Schedule and click Configure. In the newly opened window, indicate when the actions should be started. The window is not very user-friendly: with number combinations you indicate when the actions should take place, for example 0 for Sunday and 6 for Saturday. You can read the instructions next to each plane.

Fortunately, there is the button Test and it is therefore important that you use it to check in advance whether the completed schedule is correct. Click on this and you will see an overview of the data entered. Are you satisfied? Then confirm with a click OK to set the schedule.

GoodSync settings

GoodSync has an extensive set of options that allow you to further customize the program. Choose Tools, Program Options. On the left of the window you can see the different categories. For example, choose Car to determine all settings related to automatic tasks. If you want the GoodSync window to be automatically resized if no tasks are performed, check the option Auto-hide Mini Window when there is no active jobs. You can also indicate here how many tasks may be performed simultaneously (Auto Jobs to run in parallel max).

The right-click menu also contains interesting options. In the main GoodSync window, right-click on a task. You may want to swap the left folder and right folder. This can be useful if you have created a backup job (so there is a distinction between the two folders and there is “one-way traffic”) and you want to make the destination folder leading. Choose Advanced, Swap Job Sides (or use the keyboard shortcut Alt + W).

Do you have a large amount of backup tasks and want more overview? Then divide them into different groups. Right click on the task you want to categorize and choose Groups. An overview of groups created appears. Obviously no groups are available the first time. Then choose New Group. You can find this button at the top left of the main GoodSync window.

Export tasks

Avoid having to do the same tasks on all computers. For tasks that must also be performed on other computers, you can export the tasks yourself. That prevents duplication of effort.

In the main window you choose Tools, Export All Jobs. More realistic is that you don’t want to reuse all tasks, but a subset. Then choose Tools, Export Selected Jobs. Name the task list and save it in a location that can be accessed by the other computers. On the other computer in GoodSync you choose Tools, Import Job List.

Cloning a task can also save you a lot of time. Have you created a backup or sync job that you want to use as a basis to create a new job? Then right-click on an existing task and choose Clone (or select the task and press Alt + C. Name the task and click OK. You can then select and adjust the task.

Finally

With GoodSync you make optimal use of local backups and you also retain the possibility to keep a part online. If you want to keep the data of multiple computers and other devices up-to-date, you can of course also use a cloud service and only store the data online. Of course, you only do this if you do not object to your data being stored externally (in the cloud).

In addition, using an online storage service such as OneDrive or Dropbox has an important limitation: the storage capacity. Many services have a maximum (such as 1 TB with OneDrive) and if you need more space, you pay a relatively large fee. The price component therefore makes such services less suitable for use as a backup location for large amounts of data.

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