Handy tip for those of us who use portable drives these days.
For myself my portable drive is used mainly to move files between my Media Centre and my Laptop normally, as my laptop is used at work and on the train, but normally I don’t switch it on at home.
My media centre hold’s all my moves etc… so normally I connect up my portable transfer over a few movies/tv shows to watch on the way to work. Time consuming and annoying to especially if the media centre is getting used to watch tv etc..
To get around this I decided to do a bit of playing, firstly I upgraded my portable drive to one that had a docking station, and although this isn’t needed, the project was to create the simplest method I could find, and just plonking it in a dock is alot easier then finding usb cable and plugging it in, also if your setup is like mine the media centre sit in the lounge room so having a docking station does look neater.
Ok next issue, how to get the files onto the portable drive without having to login and drag and drop every time. The backup software the comes supplied with the portable drive was good but way to limited for what I wanted to use it for. To start with I decided to try using freeware options first and tried out a few options(wiki), most where over complicated and still didn’t really do the job of just sync a folder. I finally gave Microsoft Sync Toy 2.1 a go.
I had used the old Sync Toy 1.0 years ago and found it someone lacking, no automation, couldn’t handle errors, just nasty. The new 2.1 version of sync toy although looking very similar, had a significant lot of bug fixes included from the old 1.4 version and some handy new features added such as 64 bit support, folder creates/renames/deletes, filtering, cmd line, and dynamic drive letter assignment. The last one was a bigger, especially for my project most of the others I tried didn’t handle drive letter changes well or at all, which on a portable drive renders them between useless and dangerous.
Setting up up a sync relationship was very simple, first before doing anything else I created a simple folder structure on my portable drive e.g. Movies, Music, Anime etc…
Creating a working Sync relationship took like 60sec, very easy and straight forward.
Step 1. Open Sync Toy and Select “Create New Folder Pair”
Step 2. Choose folder pairs, Media centre folder went into left folder and portable drive went into right folder
Step 4. Name the Sync. If you are like me you would need to setup a few of these so make sure it a meaningful name.
Step 5. Options. This is the last screen. From here you can run your sync as is, but i would recommend checking some of the options first. From here you can set to allow subfolders, filter file types/file names/attributes and so forth, great for getting rid of unnecessary stuff
Now some of you are thinking yeah this will sync folders but you still have to login and manually start it?? Which is correct, there is one other step….. Task Scheduler. Task Scheduler for those of you who aren’t familiar is a little built in program for windows which does just a it name suggests allows you to schedule a task, normally this means starting a program which is exactly what we want. Now there a lot of option for how or when you can run a task, for me it was simplest just to set up a task to run just before I went to bed to tell Sync Toy to run all Syncs in a command window.
Schedule SyncToy Sync Task in Windows 7/Vista
Step 1. Click on the Start menu, then select All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Task Scheduler.
Step 2. Click on Create Basic Task in the “Actions” pane on the right.
Step 3. In the Wizard, type in a Name and Description.Click Next
Step 4. Choose when do you want the task to start e.g. Daily, weekly. Click Next.
Step 5. Choose date and times to trigger and run the task(if needed). Click Next.
Step 6. In the “Action” step, select “Start a Program”.Click Next.
Step 7. Under “Program/Script”, click on Browse button and locate the SyncToyCmd.exe. Normally it’s located in “C:Program FilesSyncToy 2.1SyncToyCmd.exe” for SyncToy 2.1.(this is why I said to give it a meaningful name)
In the “Add Arguments” textbox, type -R. –R will run all folder pairs that are active for run all. If you want to run just a single folder pair, add –R”folder pair name” to the end of the command line.
That’s it. All done. Your folder sync will run evey time you set it for, if you don’t have your drive connected it will just wait until next time, even if you are using your computer, this will just run in the background, you won’t even notice it, no pop-up etc….
I have been using this setup now for a while and it works great, keeps my portable up to date with my TV shows etc… so I always have stuff to watch on the train, rather than how it used to be of “ah crap forgot to last night”.
Hope you guys find this helpful, and if you have any tips of your own post them up in the comments, love to hear about them and maybe you can help someone else out.