Flat versus tree file structure

Discuss new features and functions
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Joined: 10 Oct 2020

BatHam

Hello, I think FFS is terrific and I have been donating for years. Unfortunately I am visually impaired and I find the tree view very hard to see. Can I get a version with an option to show the original format?

I have tried a different program called GoodSync and I can see that quite well. I bought FFS licenses for 3 machines and they run until 2023, any chance I can recover my donation (so I can buy the GoodSync instead).
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Joined: 19 Aug 2019

Sonik_C

Sorry to bring this up again, but just installed v11.3 and the layout still seems all over the place.

There are huge gaps between some folder names and the files, and there are random icons just plonked all over the place that don't really add anything other than visual clutter. I still don't see how this is an improvement over the old layout? If you're going to add those random icons all over, maybe it would be better to colour the whole line instead for quicker identification of what is being changed. This has been suggested by another user in a previous post, and seems like a better visual indicator.
Capture-03.png

Reinstalled v10.24!
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JDB

Sonik_C -- Thank you for saving me the time and effort of trying the new version. I am resolved to staying on 10.24 forever.
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Radish

I've just rolled-back to 10.24 too.

Sorry to say it Zenju but I think you've made a mistake in doggedly trying to get the new view you introduced from 10.25 onwards into any kind of condition that is actually useable and in any way better than the 'flat-view' (as most refer to it on this thread). The new view is just a dog's-dinner. I've stuck with the various incarnations of it up until now, but I just plain now give up on it. Please give users the choice or scrap the new view altogether. Until either of those things happen I'll stick with 10.24.
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phhowe17

I'm staying current. I mostly like the new format, if Zenju could change the spacing so it was just indented fixed amount per directory level, instead of indented based on the length of folder name, I'd be happy.
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lawrence-dol

I'm staying current. I mostly like the new format, if Zenju could change the spacing so it was just indented fixed amount per directory level, instead of indented based on the length of folder name, I'd be happy. phhowe17, 26 Nov 2020, 23:04
That would satisfy me too, though I'd preferred a proper tree with zero-change folders collapsed to one line.
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Sonik_C

v11.4 Is this normal? The randomly placed icons now seem to have disappeared, and the folder icons seem messed up.
FFS Icons.png
Reinstalling..... oh you know the drill!!
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JDB

Being of a trusting nature, I tried 11.4 thinking that perhaps by some miracle it would be better than 10.24. After one screenfull of total confusion about what the changes were between left and right window panes, I am now switching back to 10.24. I gave it the benefit of a doubt, but doubt turned into dissapointment.

Soon I will be migrating my backup strategy to Macrium.
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Sonik_C

Being of a trusting nature, I tried 11.4 thinking that perhaps by some miracle it would be better than 10.24. After one screenfull of total confusion about what the changes were between left and right window panes, I am now switching back to 10.24. I gave it the benefit of a doubt, but doubt turned into dissapointment.

Soon I will be migrating my backup strategy to Macrium. JDB, 09 Dec 2020, 05:09
It's been 6 months now, and I don't think the dev is really interested in our opinions tbh. Personally, I hate the new view, and it's not getting any better with these updates. When it takes me twice as long to work out where my files are and where they're going to, then it's a step backwards to me. I'm not an aesthetic man, I just want to get things done quicker and easier. I don't care how "nice" things look. But to each their own. Sticking with v10.24 for a while, and won't be trying anymore updates as nothing will change.

I use Macrium for system images and cloning and it's awesome for both. But, I haven't used it for file/folder backups before.
If anyone has any other good free alternatives they can recommend, please let me know. Been using FFS for years, and haven't even tried any other backup software for a long time, so I've no idea what's good and what to avoid.
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Joined: 9 Feb 2016

bgregory02

I used Backup4All (now in version 8) for a couple of years and was very satisfied. The options are overwhelming but very understandable. It ran flawlessly and their user forum and support was pretty good.
About 6 months ago I switched to KLS Backup Professional 2019 and am very satisfied with it also. I switched because I thought the "restore" functions were more user friendly. It also runs flawlessly BUT they do not have a user forum and their support is terrible (almost nonexistent). It costs quite a bit more than Backup4All. Both have a trial available. You'll have to judge for yourself. Hope this helps. By the way, I am a devoted Macrium fan and have used their file and folder backup functions and although they work well, the file/folder selection GUI is not very user friendly. The imaging is awesome and without rival.
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Joined: 22 Dec 2020

Johny111

The tree view is horrible! My brain get's an overload and shuts down on this view. Unusable for me.

Would you guys recommend to use an older version? or is switch to a different program the better solution? i don't know the riscs of using the older version...
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Radish

Johny111,

The older version to go for is version 10.24 as this was the last version released that used the old structure of displaying what it going on. Whether or not that will suit you depends on what you actually do with FFS. Really, you would just need to try using 10.24 and if it works flawlessly for you then just use that. If you find it bugged for your usage then you would need to use a later version that cured the bug, though you would then need to cope with the horror of the current 'improved' display, or, as you say, switch to some other program with a display that makes actual sense and that doesn't act in a bugged way for your system and/or usage.
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David.P

Please.

I know it is not intentional, but with longer paths this is simply unusable.

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David.P

Please. Even after weeks and months of daily use, I just can't figure out what this means.

I know this has been changed with the best of intents, but the directory view is simply terrible with anything but very short paths.

Tree View.png
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Novgorod

Please. Even after weeks and months of daily use, I just can't figure out what this means.

I know this has been changed with the best of intents, but the directory view is simply terrible with anything but very short paths.David.P, 28 Nov 2023, 15:44
It shows the full path by hovering over an item (or you can change to "limited" full path view by right-clicking the path heading), so that part is not that annoying. The true prolem is that the dev refused to make the folders collapsible - it would be just a simple [+/-] icon on each folder item and eliminate so much mouse wheel abuse. Maybe the reason was that it's too much work to implement with nested folders, but somehow it was no problem in the old version...
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Joined: 23 Feb 2020

thirl88

Just been brought back here by a notification after almost 3 years. I still use v10.24 and it works great for my needs. What I wish I could do is stop the prompts to update each time I use the program (which is usually once a week to do a full file by file backup of my PC). I don't want to update and, in its current stupid folder display mode, I never will. How do I stop the update prompts? When I untick "check automatically weekly" it just puts the tick back next time I run FFS and the prompts to update keep coming.
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JDB

After much discussion and consternation over this issue, I finally resolved myself to accept "the way we roll here", and have relenquished trust, assuming that the file selection process works the way it's supposed to. I have given up analyzing the data shown in the output screens, and assume that when I click "synchonize", FFS is going to do the right thing. So in effect, the left and right panes of data have been rendered meaningless to me. They may as well be eliminated as far as I am concerned. Asuming that, at the end of the day, the program does the right thing. That being said, I no longer rely upon FFS for a primary backup, and just use it for intermediary output of recently changed files to USB flash drives. For full backups, I adopted using an actual backup program designed for that purpose. File synchronization and maintaining backups are really 2 separate issues with fuzzy borders between them.
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lawrence-dol

After much discussion and consternation over this issue, I finally resolved myself to accept "the way we roll here", ... JDB, 28 Nov 2023, 21:35
Same here; mostly I use the (much less useful for this purpose) overview to confirm overall expectations, and then click synchronize. Occasionally I *need* to use the detailed list but I try to avoid it.
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Radish

After much discussion and consternation over this issue, I finally resolved myself to accept "the way we roll here", and have relenquished trust, assuming that the file selection process works the way it's supposed to. I have given up analyzing the data shown in the output screens, and assume that when I click "synchonize", FFS is going to do the right thing. So in effect, the left and right panes of data have been rendered meaningless to me. JDB, 28 Nov 2023, 21:35
Same here; mostly I use the (much less useful for this purpose) overview to confirm overall expectations, and then click synchronize. lawrence-dol, 28 Nov 2023, 23:57
I agree and act in the general way that both of you have indicated. I'm reduced to sheer naïve hope that FreeFileSync is going to get it right (not a good position to be in). I still think the old 'flat view' was much, much more usable. I also wonder if this situation affects the number of new users of FreeFileSync: they do a couple of test syncs and then abandon it because they can't make sense of the way the file list is presented. It was at the beginning, and remains to this day, god awful.
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David.P

It's a shame because apart from that, there is not one other Sync tool out there that combines blazing speed, ease of use and a friendly GUI like FFS.
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thirl88

Does anyone know... Does the developer think we (the people in this post) are the only ones who dislike the "new" layout? Does the developer get lots of reviews or comments from other users who love FFS as it now is? Although by no means unique to this program, it is a perfect example of "why change it if it ain't broken". Did the developer get lots of people begging him to change it into what it is now because they thought it was "broken"? If so, how do they use it efficiently now? In fact, how does the developer themselves use it? And because the developer refuses to, at least, offer the option to put the old style back, do they care at all what the users think?
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David.P

I think the developer believes that the new tree view is a stroke of genius, which it is in a certain sense. If you only have short paths and many files changed in each path, the new tree view mode probably works very well.

However, this particular case does not usually apply to many users. To the contrary, with long paths and not so many changed files in each path, the new tree view mode is practically unusable, unfortunately.

I believe the developer is very annoyed that he has to take so much crap for his innovation that took him a lot of work to implement, and therefore is not yet ready to change it again.
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Novgorod

However, this particular case does not usually apply to many users. To the contrary, with long paths and not so many changed files in each path, the new tree view mode is practically unusable, unfortunately.David.P, 29 Nov 2023, 15:55
The new tree view is perfectly fine design-wise because the full path is displayed for each folder item and also when hovering over any item. The ONLY fix to make it great again is adding a collapse/expand function to every folder element, so you can collapse an entire 15k file branch for a new Photoshop version added to the backup with one click and don't have to scroll frantically like an r-slur.
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Johny111

I still like the old style better. Collapsing folders has nothing to do with it. It's just a pain to the eyes
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Novgorod

I still like the old style better. Collapsing folders has nothing to do with it. It's just a pain to the eyes Johny111, 29 Nov 2023, 16:13
The style is a matter of taste. Removing the collapse feature is what breaks functionality.
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JDB

It's a shame because apart from that, there is not one other Sync tool out there that combines blazing speed, ease of use and a friendly GUI like FFS. David.P, 29 Nov 2023, 14:51
You could try Beyond Compare by Scooter Software.

It doesn't have the advanced configuration features that FFS does, but it does a reasonable job comparing directory contents and highlighting orphans and files that differ. You can use it to manually synchronize directories. It also operates on file contents by merging differences within the files. I believe that it evolved from a software development environment because it seems to have come from the "diff" world of merging source code changes. It recognizes different source code file types. However, it's a handy tool to use in conjunction with FFS, if you want to have some assurance that your FFS actions are working properly.

-John
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David.P

I've tried them all. BC, Syncovery, Goodsync, AllSync, Syncthing, Synchredible, PureSync...🤷🏽

Actually I need something that syncs to SharePoint — which changes the file size of the uploaded files🤦🏽‍♂️
Sharepoint obviously. It's like you put your precious art collection in a store house and they scribble all over it with a pencil to help with their bookkeeping. I can't fathom how Microsoft developers came to the conclusion that this is "OK".Zenju, 18 Aug 2022, 10:02
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Darth Agnon

The new tree view is still awful even now, years on. I stick to v10.24, experiment with the latest versions occasionally, though am experimenting with other backup tools such as Goodsync, Beyond Compare, SyncFolders, Bvckup. So far, SyncFolders is the best.

The update prompt/check in FreeFileSync is very annoying. I think I blocked it at one point in my firewall, so it never works anyway.
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David.P

Thanks for mentioning SyncFolders and Bvckup.

Do you know by any chance whether these two have robust moved/renamed files and folders recognition?

That ideally even works when file size is ignored on compare?
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Darth Agnon

I would recommend giving SyncFolders a go, as it is free. It supports copying empty folders, hashing the results of a transfer, versioned backups, changes detected as in Freefilesync (file time+size, filetime, filename, file content). It even has a details view similar to Freefilesync (see Processing tab >> Details). I do wish it displayed the details in the main view, or that it had that %foldersize tree, then it would be Freefilesync's equal.

Bvckup is similar, but commercial.