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Ted F
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Joined: 17 Jan 2019

Post by Ted F • 04 Feb 2019, 06:52

I made 2 errors. These are listed below. My questions is whether my saved configuration would have remained intact and whether it can be safely used for continued synchronizations without having been corrupted.

First error: I have a saved configuration containing four folder pairs and clicked "compare" with the wrong backup drive connected to my laptop. I received a warning that "The following folders do not yet exist" and then the paths to the four target backup folders were listed. The message at the bottom was that the folders are created automatically when needed.

Second error: For the same saved configuration as above, I clicked compare without any backup drive connected to the laptop. I received an error message that my four target backup folders could not be found (paths were listed). Then there were four Error code 3s stating "Cannot read the attributes of "D:\". Error Code 3: The system cannot find the path specified . [GetFileArributes] (D is the backup drive). I assume that since there were four Error Code 3s, there was a separate error code 3 for each of the four backup folders.

The error messages are attached.

Thanks,
Ted
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Error Message 2.png
Error Message 2
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Radish
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Post by Radish • 04 Feb 2019, 10:53

The errors won't make any difference to your configuration file. The configuration file only gets saved when you physically give expressed permission for it to be saved. This is very useful. Let's say you have a configuration set up the way you would like it to be and that you have saved that configuration. Now let's say at a later time you want to experiment with changing something for that configuration -- just so you can test something out. Well you can modify the configuration in FFS, then test your change. If you find that you don't like the change you made, no sweat, just, in the configuration file listing, click on another configuration, or click in some empty space in the listing -- FFS will then ask if you want to save the configuration you just modified to test. Just click the "Don't Save" button and the configuration will remain in an unaltered state (as it was before you started modifying for your test). So, in short, configurations don't get saved unless you explicitly tell FFS to do so. So you can modify and test a configuration to your heart's content -- just don't save the changes unless you really do want to keep them.

With respect to backing-up to external USB HDDs and/or USB Flash Drives you might come across an issue where you have the external device connected to the computer but FFS, apparently, can't find the device because Windows has given the device a different "drive letter" than the drive letter the device had when you setup your configuration (file). If that happens then you could get the kind of errors from FFS that you have indicated above and might get initially confused as to why -- after all the device is connected. To get around that you can use what FFS refers to as specifying the path to the device via the "volume name" of the external device. Instructions on how to do this are here: Variable Drive Letters This is a very useful feature of FFS and one I use all the time for external devices.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 05 Feb 2019, 03:21

This is extremely helpful, Radish. One follow-up question: To use the volume name instead of the path with the drive letter, can I use the name of the USB Flash Drive that is already there or should I change it? If I change the volume name, will this impact other uses of the Flash Drove for purposes other than the backup?
Thanks.

Ted F
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Joined: 17 Jan 2019

Post by Ted F • 05 Feb 2019, 03:41

In addition to the follow-up question immediately above, is a two step process required to specify the path via a volume name, ie:
1. Select the target folder path with the drive letter by drag and drop or browse and click
2. Use the pull down menu to select the volume name
Thanks

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 05 Feb 2019, 11:52

I'm not entirely sure I understand your first question but for what I think you are asking:

Yes, you can use the already existing volume name of a flash drive or you can change the volume name to anything that suits you. If you do change the volume name then this shouldn't have any effect on other uses of the flash drive. I would suppose there might be one exception to this -- that you have another program that also accesses the flash drive via using the volume name. (I don't know of any other program that has this facility.) If that were the case then in that other program you would have to remember to alter the existing volume name stored in that program to the new volume name you gave the flash drive.

With respect to the 'two step process'. Well, yes, if you are using the mouse to set this up then it is a two step process. However, you can just replace the drive letter and colon (e.g. W:\Backup) by typing in the volume name (e.g. [USB-1]\Backup). Whichever method you use, and assuming you want to keep things that way, remember to save the (now modified) configuration and in future FFS will access the external device via the volume name -- so then you don't have to two step your way through it again, you just plug in the USB and you are good to go.

Note that I've been talking about 'flash drives' above. But you can use the same method for accessing partitions on an HDD. I frequently find that when I plug in an external HDD to do a backup that the 'partition letters' (i.e. the equivalent of 'drive letters') will be different than what they were the last time I plugged in the external HDD. Again, instead of using the drive/partition letters you can use the volume name (method) in their place. So, for example, with a single HDD that has several partitions on it you can specify the partition to save the backup to in this way (Where each of the volume labels shown in bold are the partition labels that I setup on the external HDD.):

[HDD DOCUMENTS]\
[HDD PORTABLES]\PORTABLES
[HDD BULK]\SOFTWARE

And so on to suit your own purposes. Just experiment with it a bit and you will see how it goes.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 05 Feb 2019, 23:15

Thanks Radish. I am slowly learning how best to use Free File Sync thanks to you. I am backing up using a 2 Tb external hard drive that is not partitioned into smaller drives. Am I correct that the same principles apply to this as to a flash drive?

Also, when setting up a configuration with multiple folder pairs, I sometimes make mistakes by selecting the wrong source or target. Am I right that I can correct the error without having to start all over since Free File sync should have no permanent record of what was entered until the configuration is saved, and that re-entering a source or target won't corrupt anything?

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 06 Feb 2019, 12:37

As far as I know, yes, the same principles apply to HDDs as apply to a flash drives.

As to setting up multiple folder pairs and making mistakes, which you then correct/amend, any changes you make won't be saved to the configuration until such times as you save the configuration. You can make changes then run a Compare to see if it is doing what you want -- you can even run the Synchronise to see if it is doing what you want, though in that case files will be moved/copied etc. (which won't happen if you just do a Compare) according to whatever your current configuration instructs FFS to do -- however, again, the configuration won't be saved until such times as you manually save the configuration.

For my own use of FFS I only ever use the Mirror syncing method (which covers all my needs). But I found, in the beginning, that the best thing to do while learning the basics is to just run test comparisons/syncs using test data/files, so that if I made a mistake nothing untoward could happen that I couldn't recover from. So I would say, in the beginning, take things slowly, run tests and you will fairly quickly pick up the basics.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 07 Feb 2019, 07:05

Radish you have been extremely helpful. I am following your advice by continuing to set up test configurations and to run test comparisons and syncs. In the end, my real configuration will be created with several folder pairs and will mirror 285 GB. It will not be possible to check every file manually. Can I assume that if my final saved configuration has the correct source and target for each of the folder pairs, and that if I do a mirror sync and then a comparison that shows there are no differences between the source and backup target (except for the saved configuration file on the source side if I waited until after the sync to save the configuration file, that I did everything correctly?
Thanks

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 07 Feb 2019, 10:25

Yes, you will have done everything correctly. As you have worked out, just run the comparison again after the sync and it will show up any differences in terms of what Variant you have chosen in the Comparison Settings (i.e. File time and size, File content, or File size). To see what Variant you are using for comparison, in the FFS GUI, just press the F6 key and a window will open showing the Variant being used.

Only thing that I can think of, and it is a common issue posted into this forum, is that Daylight Saving Time might cause a problem and catch you unawares. Happened to me once and I was, initially, quite baffled by it. For details of the issue and how to avoid it see this Manual page: Daylight Saving Time.

In any case, sounds like you're getting the idea now and running tests until you're confident you understand the basics is a good idea.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 12 Feb 2019, 03:18

Thank you Radish. Very helpful.

Regarding the Daylight Saving Time issue, both my laptop hard drive and external backup drive are formatted with NTFS. Will this avoid the DST issue without my having to do anything?

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 12 Feb 2019, 11:45

As far as I am aware if the source drive and the destination drive are both formatted NTFS then that would avoid any daylight saving time issue.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 13 Feb 2019, 05:31

Thanks again

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 13 Feb 2019, 12:29

You're welcome, Ted. Good luck with it. Once I gained confidence in FFS I find that it saves me hours compared to how long it used to take me doing manual backups.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 15 Feb 2019, 05:35

One more question. For my large backup that takes about 2 hours, if I run it overnight then the completed backup will be waiting a long time for me to close the successfully completed window because this won't be until the morning. Will everything still be OK to save the configuration several hours after completion of the backup?

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 15 Feb 2019, 07:30

In addition to above question, some of the folders that I sync using Filesync are "local" OneDrive folders that are on my laptop. I wanted to make my test backups faster and so I reduced the size of the "local" folders within OneDrive by no longer syncing the larger ones with OneDrive in the cloud. This meant that these folders were no longer on my laptop although they remained on OneDrive in the cloud. Thus Filesync could not see them and would not back them up. However, my Filesync configuration files were in a folder within OnerDrive and these disappeared from my local drive too. Thus they were no longer visible in my list of configuration files when I opened Filesync. I then synced the Filesync configuration files on OneDrive with my laptop and they reappeared on my laptop. I then opened the configuration file within Filesync and everything seemed fine.Thus it seems that I can reload the configuration file by simply opening it after it has been restored to my laptop. Is this correct and is there anything to worry about?

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 15 Feb 2019, 17:29

Ted F wrote:
15 Feb 2019, 05:35
Will everything still be OK to save the configuration several hours after completion of the backup?
I can't think of a reason why you need to save the configuration after you have done a backup. Is that something you think you have to do to use FFS for backing-up? I would suppose that if you were just testing out a particular configuration you might want to do this if you were satisfied with the results of the test. However, in day-to-day use there is no necessity to save a configuration once a backup is completed.

Your OneDrive questions are above my pay-grade so I can't answer them - don't know anything about that I'm afraid.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 15 Feb 2019, 21:27

Two things:
After creating the configuration for the backup for the first time, I would like to use the same configuration again on a regular basis. Thus the configuration needs to be saved once so that it can be used again. The tutorial video shows the configuration being saved after the backup is done and so I thought I would do the same. I was advised earlier that I could save the configuration before running the first backup. Is that correct? If yes, it would make things easier.

Also, if the configuration is already saved, can I then run the backup overnight and then just close it even though it has been sitting in a finished state for a few hours?

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 15 Feb 2019, 21:50

Ted, you only need to save a configuration once you have created it and you have tested it as fine. Once that configuration is saved you never need to save it again (unless of course you make changes to it which you want to keep). It is not necessary, in normal day-to-day use, to save your configuration before you run a sync. Nor is it necessary to save a configuration after every time a backup is completed. The actual process of doing a backup in no way alters the configuration, so there is, from that point of view, nothing to save because nothing has changed.

Also, yes, you can run your overnight backup, and just close it when you get back to the computer even if that is a few hours/days/whatever since the backup was completed.

If you want an answer to your OneDrive questions you might be better to start a new thread dealing specifically with the OneDrive questions. I think you might have a better chance of getting an answer that way.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 16 Feb 2019, 00:16

Is it OK to the save the configuration before doing a compare or running a sync?

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 16 Feb 2019, 12:06

Yes, it is okay to save the configuration before doing a compare or running a sync, so long as you are happy with the configuration that wouldn't be any kind of a problem. But I am still puzzling over why you seem to think it is necessary to keep saving a configuration all the time -- if you haven't changed anything in the configuration from the last time you saved it there really isn't any point in (re)saving the configuration every time you want to run a compare and then a sync; you achieve exactly nothing by doing so. That said, if you want to keep (re)saving, even though you haven't changed anything since the last time it was saved, then you won't do any harm by doing so either.

Put another way, doing a compare will not in any way modify the configuration. Doing a sync will in no way modify a configuration either. Do you see? After the initial creation and saving of a configuration there is nothing that FFS will do that will alter the configuration. The only thing that can alter the configuration is you and only if you deliberately make changes to it that you do, then, want to save. That is the only scenario in which it would be necessary to (re)save the configuration (provided you are happy with the changes you made).

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 16 Feb 2019, 15:24

To clarify, I am not "resaving" the configuration each time I run a sync. I an referring to the 'initial" saving of the configuration. The tutorial video shows this as being done after the first sync.

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 16 Feb 2019, 15:46

Then I would assume that the reason the video is doing so is because that first sync was in effect a test sync -- hence, if you are happy with the results then you would save the configuration at that point in time so that from there on in you could run the same compare (and check that the proposed actions are okay with you) and sync sequence without having to create the configuration anew.

Yes, I just watched the Mirror Synchronization video and this is what is being done in that video - the configuration is being saved after doing the sync because the sync was regarded as being okay -- hence save the configuration for use at a later time.

That said, there is nothing to prevent you from saving the configuration at any point in the create-configuration/compare/sync process. However, I would regard that as foolhardy, personally I would never save a configuration without first testing it and checking it was fine and producing the desired results.

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 16 Feb 2019, 17:42

The reason that I thought it best to save before testing is that my test sync takes a long time and if the configuration is already saved I don't have to worry anything happening to it over the several hours during the night that the completed sync window will be on my screen. If there is a problem it seems very easy to delete the configuration and start over. Am I missing something?

Ted F
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Post by Ted F • 16 Feb 2019, 20:16

In addition to my above post at 12:42 today, It occurred to me that I should confirm that I am testing my new configuration for a mirror sync properly. I do the following:
1. Check that I have selected the correct folder pairs for the sync
2. Compare the source and target folders before doing a sync. I expect to see differences.
3. Run the sync
4. Do another Compare between the source and target folders (I do this after saving the configuration, clicking new and opening it again to make sure that it was saved properly and can be retrieved). If there are no differences between the source and target folders, except for the saved configuration on the source side since the configuration is being saved to one of the folders being backed up, then I conclude that the sync was done correctly.
Am I missing anything?

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Radish
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Post by Radish • 16 Feb 2019, 21:19

Step 4. I'm not sure that is necessary to click 'new'. When you save the configuration that is it 'set in stone' so to speak. So, if you want to, you just run the compare at some point in time after the sync and any differences will show up.