FAQs - Frequently asked questions

Last update of this document: April 12, 2021.

Content
SyncFolder in short
SyncFolder versus other synchronisation/backup apps
Scheduled backups
File and folder access restrictions
Force execution when USB device is inserted
Network disks
Sync or copy to OneDrive
Sync or copy to/from a WebDAV server (Nextcloud, ownCloud, ..)
Advanced task settings
Import photos and videos from memory cards and devices connected through USB
Importing photos and videos from mobile devices via WiFi
Importing and exporting the app repository to a new computer
Executing a task from the command line
Error messages in SyncFolder
The app doesn't work as expected
Uninstall the app
What's new in your version and open issues

SyncFolder in short

SyncFolder is deliberately kept simple and does not pretend to be a total solution for all synchronization and backup tasks. It is primarily intended for home use.

Key factors:

  • Installation and update of the app is easy and secure by means of the Windows Store.

  • The app allows you to copy one or more source folders to a target storage device. Copying happens in 1 direction.

  • You can copy in 3 ways:

    • By 1-way mirroring - This method ensures that the folders and files on the destination storage medium are an exact copy of those on the source. If files disappear on the source location, they also disappear on the target location. Deleted files are also not moved to the Recycle Bin.
      This is also called 'One way synchronization', i.e. copy happens only from source to destination.

    • By direct copying - This method also copies all new and changed files, but files that are no longer present at the source location are not deleted on the target medium.

    • By cut and move - This method moves all new files and folders to the target location and then deletes all successfully copied files and folders on the source. Like cut and paste works in Windows Explorer.

  • Possible data storage devices are:

    • A hard drive of the computer
    • An external USB storage device: USB sticks, USB hard drives or SSD drives
    • A network storage station: a shared network drive
    • A cloud storage location internally mounted on a folder on your computer: OneDrive, DropBox, Google,..
    • A cloud storage location that is not mounted on your computer: currently only supported for OneDrive (Personal)

  • Backup/synchronization jobs can be executed in 4 ways:

    1. Manually - You can at any time open the SyncFolder app, select a given task and tell the app to start the synchronization/backup job.
    2. Automatically at a configured time - Automatic execution can be configured: daily, weekly or monthly.
    3. By plugging in a USB storage device - When you have one or more jobs that have a USB storage device as source or target device, then you can configure the job to also execute when you insert the USB device.
    4. Command Line - You can execute a task using the Command Line action "syncfolder.exe --exec taskId".
  • Copying happens incrementaly: only those folders and files are copied that are new or have changed since the last backup. Modified files are copied fully and thus replace a previous version, i.e no history is kept.

  • The app allows you to include or exclude hidden folders.

  • The following folders/subfolders will not be copied:

    • system volume information
    • $recycle.bin
    • $windows.~bt
    • $windows.~ws
    • onedrivetemp

    The following folders will not be copied when present on the source root location:

    • config.msi
    • documents and settings
    • program files
    • program files (x86)
    • programdata
    • recovery

    The following 'System' files will not be copied:

    • pagefile.sys
    • swapfile.sys
    • hiberfil.sys

    If the above folders and files also exist on the target drive and the task is a one-way sync task then these folders and files will also never be deleted on the target.

  • In addition, the app also offers support for Importing photos and videos from devices connected via USB and/or WiFi. To upload via WiFi, you need to install the SyncFolder Photos app on your mobile device. The app is available for iOS and Android.


SyncFolder versus other synchronisation/backup apps

Because the app is initially intended for home users, many features which other apps have are missing. User-friendliness and the simple configuration are central and ensure that everyone can make copies of his or her important files without problems.

If you want more options such as backup history, encryption of files, backup on remote computers, 2-way synchronization, etc., then commercial tools and apps are probably better suited.


Scheduled backups

You can configure each task to automatically run daily, weekly or monthly. SyncFolder will then check every 15 minutes in the background whether a job is due. You don't have to open the app for this.
Windows will therefore wake up the app every 15 minutes starting between 15 and 30 minutes from the time when the app was installed. Because of this the execution of a job will not happen at the exact configured time but 0..15 minutes after the time.

Periodic checking will only occur when your computer is active. This means that it will not happen when your computer is in lock state (screen off) and/or in sleep state. However, as soon as the computer becomes active, either because you start it up or because you go out of lock/sleep state, SyncFolder will (after 0..15 minutes) trigger execution of all the tasks that should have been started during the inactive period.

Automatic retries with certain failures - Normally the app will execute a scheduled job only once when it is due. This is also true when during the sync/backup process errors occurs such as: failure writing to a folder, copy errors such as file is locked, disk is full, etc. The user should then correct such faults and either re-run the task manually or wait till the next schedule comes up.
With certain type of faults however the app will keep on doing retries every 15 minutes. These faults are: source drive/path not specified or available, destination drive/path not specified or available, backup operation interrupted, source access not allowed, destination access not allowed.

Important note! - Scheduled backups run in the Windows background and can be disabled globally in Windows. So, please make sure that SyncFolder is allowed to run in the background. If it doesn't run, check Background-Apps in Windows Settings / Privacy. Set the first toggle switch to On and also the toggle switch for SyncFolder which you can find in the list of apps.


File and folder access restrictions

When the app is executing access to files and folders occurs under the control of Windows using the access privileges of the interactive user. This is the currently logged on user. This means that all source files and folders and the destination location specified in a task must be accessible by the user who installed the app.


Force execution when USB device is inserted

SyncFolder can ask you to start a sync/copy job when the USB device that is assigned as source or destination device is inserted in the computer. You must check this in the task setting.

Please note however: When you don't eject the USB device while your computer is still on but instead remove the device after the computer is powered off, SyncFolder will ignore the first insertion of the device the next time the computer is restarted. You will then first have to remove the device (eject) and re-insert it.


Network disks

SyncFolder allows you to assign a netwerk disk both as source and target storage medium. You can assign the disk/folder in the Windows 'Select folder' popup window in 3 ways:

  • By selecting a folder of a mapped network share. Depending on how the network connection has been configured, the mapped share can be presented in Windows in 3 ways:
    • As a drive that has a drive letter assigned such as: Y:, Z:, .. Because after restarting the computer a possible drive letter (Y:, Z: ..) configured for this type of storage medium is not always immediately reassigned by Windows, SyncFolder will try to convert the drive letter to a so-called UNC network share name. It will do this by opening a Network Share dialog window, resolving the network name and then showing it as a UNC path name or a WebDAV URL.
    • As a link to a WebDAV enabled website such as 'use01.thegood.cloud'.
    • As a folder on your harddrive created by special cloud services such as OneDrive, DropBox, Google Backup and Sync, etc. Typically these services will automatically replicate the data in this folder to the cloud.
    In the first 2 cases the app will open a Network Share dialog window where it offers the possibility to specifically test and configure the access credentials (username and password) that have to be used to connect with the network share.
    The username and password will be saved in the Windows Password Vault against the ID that has been assigned to the task.
  • By selecting the full network device name or folder of a local network disk through the Network section which you find at the bottom left side in the 'Select folder' popup window.
  • By providing the full path of the storage location (e.g. \\192.168.0.77\projects\..) manually. Do this by typing the path in the top address textbox of the 'Select folder' window.
    Fig.1 - Typing the full path of a network device.
    The address bar allows you to specify a locally accessible network share (using the special \\server\share URI syntax) or a share that is available on a local or external website that supports the WebDAV protocol. Use the https://server/path URI syntax in that case.

A couple of things to know:

  • If the network drive is not shown in the Network section and the drive is a shared drive on another Windows 10 computer then it might be necessary that you have to start Function Discovery Resource Publication service on that computer.
    Do this by starting the program 'services.msc' on that computer. How? Type Windows Key + R, then type services.msc, and press Enter. Then change the startup type of this service to 'Automatically delayed'. Finally, right click on the service and start them up yourself.

  • If the network drive is a NAS device then you might have to enable WS-Discovery on your NAS. For security reasons some devices don't enable this by default resulting in your NAS not being visible in Network in Windows File Explorer. Consult the instructions that come with your NAS to enable it.

  • Define user credentials explicitly - SyncFolder can fail to connect to a shared folder on a network drive in case Windows doesn't automatically connect to the drive or for some reason has lost the connection when a task starts.
    In order to work around this you can opt to specify the user credentials explicitly for the source and/or target network location. To do this you must press the "Network" button that appears for each location that has a network share assigned.
    The dialog that pops up allows you to enter the user crendentials and test if the connection with the entered credentials succeeds. Possible errors that can come up are:

    • 0 - The test is not allowed because the network drive is currently connected in Windows. You must first disconnect the drive, then do the test, and finally reconnect the drive.
    • 53 - The network path was not found.
    • 86 - The user name or password is incorrect.
    • 1219 - Windows doesn't allow access to a shared drive using a different name/password than the one that is currently assigned in Windows. This error also occurs when you provide the wrong credentials for a disconnected drive.
    • 1326 - The user name or password is incorrect.

Sync or copy to OneDrive

There are 2 ways to assign a OneDrive folder in a SyncFolder task:

  • If you have a OneDrive folder that has been mounted locally in the computer by means of the OneDrive service that is integrated in Windows 10 and File Explorer, then you can assign such folder as source and target location. So you can both sync or copy from or to such a OneDrive folder.
    When selecting the folder as target folder make sure that in the location dropdown menu the option is set to "Internal, external or network drive".
  • Starting with version 1.2.13 SyncFolder also allows you to assign a unmounted OneDrive folder as target location. If you want to do that you must first set the option in the location dropdown menu to "OneDrive" and then tap the "Select folder/drive" button. You will then be prompted to authenticate with OneDrive and enter your account name and password. When successfully authenticated SyncFolder will save the account and the tokens that come with the authentication in a local cache file and from there on use the access token when performing the sync or backup action. SyncFolder will also automatically refresh the access token whenever necessary.
    This method of writing to a OneDrive folder is considerably slower than the 1st method. It requires extensive interaction with the OneDrive cloud service because of the underlying use of HTTPS over the Internet.

Sync or copy to/from a WebDAV server (Nextcloud, ownCloud, ..)

You can assign a folder on a WebDAV server both as source and/or destination location in a SyncFolder task. In case of a destination location make sure that in the location dropdown menu the option is set to "Internal, external or network drive".

In the windows folder selection window you can assign the folder in 2 ways:

  • If you have a website share configured in Windows Explorer (by means of a link or a mapped drive letter) then select the share (in the left navigation panel), find the folder you want to use and select it.
    Fig.1 - Select WebSite folder configured in Windows Explorer.
  • If the website share is not configured in Windows Explorer then you can specify its address manually by entering the HTTP/HTTPS address in the top address bar of the selection window.
    Fig.1 - Select WebSite folder by entering the website address.
    In the event that Windows doesn't have the user account and password to connect to the website you will be prompted to enter the access credentials. When all is correct the folder selection window will show all available folders. Select the folder you want to use.

After the folder is selected the app will open a Network Share dialog window. You will then have the possibility to specifically test and configure the access credentials (username and password) for the website to cover situations where the credentials would not have been saved or restored in Windows.

When all is well, close the Network Share dialog. Notice that the pathname of the selected folder includes the website share address and the selected folder name with some extra SSL and DavWWWRoot info in it, like: "https://use01.thegood.cloud/remote.php/dav/files/someone@example.com/" and "Documents" selected as folder, will become: "\\use01.thegood.cloud@SSL\DavWWWRoot\remote.php\dav\files\someone@example.com\Documents".

Good to know: SyncFolder uses the built-in Windows 10 WebDAV Redirector of the WebClient service to retrieve folder information and copy files and folders to and from the shared folder on the website. This service normally runs automatically as a result of a service trigger in Windows. If you experience that the app can't connect to the website then check if the WebClient service might have stopped. You can verify this by doing a right click on the Start menu and selecting Computer Management. Expand Services and Applications and select Services. Scroll down until you see the WebClient service and double click on it to open settings.


Advanced task settings

At the bottom of the task configuration page you can click "Additional job settings" to open a dialog window where you can switch on a number of special settings.

  • Always scan target location - Switch this option on when the content on the target folder of the task occasionally is updated outside of SyncFolder, e.g. by other processes running on your computer, or by you manually adding and/or deleting files and folders.
    When the option is off (the default) SyncFolder keeps an updated internal list of files and folders stored at the target and, because of this file, doesn't scan the target location when the task runs. This has the effect that the task runs faster but of course doesn't work correctly when the location is updated outside of SyncFolder.

  • Do not copy empty source folders to the target location - Switch this option on when you don't want the app to create folders on the target that don't have any content on the source.

  • Do not copy files when the 'Modified date' is different but the file size and name are unchanged - This option only exists for 1-way Sync tasks. It can be used there to cover situations where you copy to external storage which doesn't take over the modified date of the source after the copy took place. This can happen on some cloud storage services (notably Amazon) which set the modified date and time to the date the file was copied. The option to ignore the date is then there to prevent that SyncFolder keeps on copying files that haven't changed. Remember, with a 1-way sync job the target must always be an exact copy of the source.
    One must also be aware however that when setting this option, files of which the size hasn't changed will never be copied. That might not be correct in the, although rare case of a file that allways has a fixed length but do get changed.

  • Selective file history - The normal way how SyncFolder works is to simply overwrite and/or delete (in case of a 1-way sync task) files on the target that have been updated/deleted on the source. The idea behind the app is that it has to be simple for any user and so it doesn't compete with apps that offer full history support.
    However, in some cases users would of course like to be able to keep a history for a couple of files. The textbox here allows you to specify those files by their full name (without the folder part), a partially specified name (using * wildcard characters), or their extension type. The app will then copy any modified file which matches the configured list to the target but before doing that will rename the previously copied file to something like: "myfile.sql.20201013-110453.sfhist". It will keep up to 10 history files for each of those files. When 10 is reached the eldest will be deleted. The copied file and the history files are located in the same directory on the target.


Import photos and videos from memory cards and devices connected through USB

The app allows photo and video files from external device (smartphones, cameras, memory cards) to be imported to your computer. The supported USB connection types are: MSC (Mass Storage device Class) and MTP (Media Transfer Protocol).
You can start the import job in 2 ways:

  • Manually - Click on the "Import" button on the start page or on the "Execute now" button of the task in the tasks list.
    Make sure the memory card is plugged in or your camera, smartphone or tablet is connected using a USB cable. Then, select the card or the device.
  • Via the Autoplay/wizard option in Windows - Connect the device using a USB cable and select "Import photos and videos (SyncFolder)" in the pop-up window.

In both cases, the first time you do this the app will prompt you to let it create a default Import job for photos and videos. This job will be added to your registered tasks list and cannot be removed. It holds the default storage location for saving photos and videos. It is set to the Pictures folder but you can change that at any time.

The app then scans the memory card or the device and shows all the photos and videos that it finds.
If you already have uploaded files previously, then only the new files are shown by default. To view all files, click the "All" button.

Select the items you want to import and choose "Copy selected" or "Copy selected to". With the first option, the selected files are placed in the folder that is configured for the task which, as explained before, is per default the Pictures folder. With the second option, you can copy the files to a specific subfolder within the configured folder.

As an option you can also delete the selected photos and videos on the source device after they have been copied to the computer.


Importing photos and videos from mobile devices via WiFi

To use this feature you must install the SyncFolder Photos app.

You can find the iOS version on the AppStore and the Android version on the Playstore.

On your computer:

  • Make sure that the WiFi network settings on your computer are configured to allow other devices/computers in your network to access your computer. This is standard the case when the network profile is set to 'Private'.
    See Settings > Network & Internet > Status > Modify connection properties > Network profile.
    Check your network connection status
  • Start the SyncFolder app.
  • Wait for a connection request from your mobile device.
  • In case you don't have yet a Import job for photos and videos the app will prompt you to create one for you.
  • Accept the device.

On your mobile device:

  • Start the SyncFolder Photos app.
  • Choose the desired group/folder. Then select the items you want to export to your Computer. A single tap selects the underlying item; a double tap selects all items between the new item and a possibly higher selected item.
  • Click the Export button in the upper right corner of the screen.
  • Wait until your computer is displayed on the screen and select it.
    Possible reasons why your computer would not appear:
    • You didn't start the SyncFolder app.
    • You didn't select your mobile device on the computer.
    • Your computer and mobile device are not connected to the same WiFi network.
    • Your WiFi network doesn't support automatic discovery of computers via multicast and/or broadcast.
    In the latter case, you can still connect to the computer via WiFi by scanning the QR code on the home page of the SyncFolder app.
    If after scanning the QR code your mobile device is still not appearing on your computer then this is most likely because computer-to-computer communication is not enabled for your network (see 1st bullet under 'On your computer' and network profile) or disabled on the WiFi router. The latter is frequently the case in public WiFi hotspots. On those hotspots you will not be able to copy using WiFi.
  • After selecting the computer you will see all the subfolders that are available on the computer's target folder (the one that has been configured for the Import job for photos and videos task).
    Then, choose the subfolder where you want to copy the files to. If you want, you can even first create a new subfolder on your computer from within the mobile device's app.
  • Then, wait until all selected files have been copied.


Importing and exporting the app repository to a new computer

You can easily copy the SyncFolder task repository to a new computer. To do that open the Settings page on the old computer and click the Export button. You will then be prompted to save the repository file (apprepository.json) to a location that you can access on the new computer.

Install SyncFolder on the new computer, start it and open the Settings page. Click then the Import button and select the previously saved repository file.
If the new computer has access to the same source and destination folders as on the old computer then you should be good to go.


Executing a task from the command line

To execute a SyncFolder task from the Windows Command Line or from a script you can enter the following command:
"syncfolder.exe --exec taskID", where taskID is the ID of the task you want to execute. You can find this ID by opening the task "Configuration" or "Status" view. Both views show the ID near the top of the view. You can copy the ID to the clipboard either by selecting the ID using the mouse or pressing the small button that is being displayed next to the ID.

When the command is executed Windows will open the syncfolder app and a specific "Command Line" view is presented which provides feedback about the execution progress.

If you want to automatically minimize the app after it has been opened, then you can add the --minimize option to the command. Doing so will also stop the app when task execution has ended.

Note: Unlike normal Windows commands the "syncfolder.exe" command will always terminate with 'exit' code 0. This is because the command itself doesn't execute the task but invokes the 'normal' app to do that.


Error messages in SyncFolder

You can monitor the status and progress of a backup job in SyncFolder in a number of screens.

  • Start screen - Each time SyncFolder is busy executing a job a message is shown to indicate this. The message disappears when the job has finished.
    When a job has failed an error message will appear which remains on the screen until the error has been corrected.
  • Tasks list screen - For each of the registered tasks you can see the result of the last executed backup.
  • Task status screen - This screen shows more details about the status and outcome of the last backup. You can open this screen by selecting the task and then press the "Show status" button.
    The 'Faults' section lists all the errors that came up when executing the backup.

Common errors

Job can't be launched
The most common reason for this error is that you have disabled background execution of apps in Windows Settings. Open the Windows Settings app, go to Privacy and enable SyncFolder in the Background-Apps section.
On some computers the error also occured because of a faulty Windows Store installation and/or issues with the way the user account was configured in Windows. Reinstall the app then.
Target station is not available
Make sure that the configured storage device (e.g. USB flashdrive, SSD, ...) is plugged in.
Error 0x80070079: The semaphore timeout period has expired
This error can occur when very large files need to be copied to a network drive or a USB device. Possible causes: bad connection with your storage device, errors on your device, outdated USB driver, etc. This error may prevent SyncFolder from copying any other files.
Action: Check your storage device carefully! If the error persists then the possible conclusion is that your storage device is probably severely damaged. The only option left is to reformat the device (ideally in NTFS format).
Error 0x80004003: Object reference not set to an instance of an object
It is currently unclear what causes this error. In most cases the error disappears after you remove and re-insert the USB device. If that doesn't work you might have to restart the computer.
System.IndexOutOfRangeException: Index was outside the bounds of the array at CollectFilesAndFoldersFromDestinationFolder
This error can occur when you change the region in Windows and an already existing task is executed. To get rid of the error you must reset the task by opening the Task Status window and clicking the Reset button.
Application aware anti-virus services
Some anti-virus offerings per default don't allow unknown programs to execute and/or write and delete files and folders on a drive. This can be a problem when SyncFolder is executing a sync/copy task in the background. Consult your anti-virus user guide in order to allow SyncFolder to access the configured target folders or exclude those folders in the protection service. If you are asked to configure the name of the executed process then find the name in the "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" folder. For SyncFolder the name of the process also carries its version number. For version 1.2.8 this is: "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\38124JosHuybrighs.SyncFolder_1.2.8.0_x64__t2c8vhzy5m6xy\SyncFolder.Win32Task\SyncFolder.Win32Task.exe". You probably have to reconfigure this when SyncFolder is updated.

The app doesn't work as expected

If you encounter situations where the app doesn't execute backups, or backups are prematurely stopped or interrupted then you can configure the app to generate event logs during execution.

To enable logging go to Settings and toggle the Log files switch.
Events are then saved in 2 log files: SyncFolderUWP.log and SyncFolderWin32.log. The location of those files can be found by again going to Settings and clicking the "Show files in Explorer" button there.

If during logging a file gets too big than the app will copy its content to a history file and start with a new file. Up to 3 history files are kept. A history file with suffix 1 is more recent than one with suffix 2 and 3.

You can forward these files to SyncFolder support by sending a email to info@cwwonline.be. Please, also include one of the history files when the standard log files look very small.


Uninstall the app

As with any app distributed on the Windows Store the easiest way to uninstall the app is to open the Windows Start Menu, find the SyncFolder app in the list of apps, do a right mouse click on the app name, and select "Uninstall".


What's new in your version and open issues

Go to Version history in order to find a detailed description of the functionality that has been added over time in the various versions of the app. You can also find there the issues and errors that are known to exist in the latest version.