FAQs - Frequently asked questions

Last update of this document: January 21, 2020.

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 2 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.

  • 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: OneDrive, DropBox, ..

  • Backup/synchronization jobs can be executed in 3 ways:

    1. Manually - Open the SyncFolder app, click Select existing jobs to execute, manage or check their status and select the job you want to execute. Press the Execute now button.

    2. Automatically at a configured time - Automatic execution can be configured: daily, weekly or monthly. When configured SyncFolder will check every 15..20 minutes in the background whether a job is due. You don't have to open the app for this. Because of the 15..20 minutes interval execution of a job will probably not happen at the exact configured time but 0..20 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 immediately trigger execution of all the tasks that should have been started during the inactive period.

    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.

  • 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.

  • System folders (e.g. Config.Msi, System Volume Information, Recycle Bin, Documents and Settings, ..) are not copied.

  • 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.

Network disks

SyncFolder allows you to assign a netwerk disk both as source and target storage medium. After restarting the computer the disk letter (Y :, Z: ..) for this type of storage medium is not always immediately reassigned by Windows. Currently, SyncFolder will therefore not allow you to specify the storage folder using the mapped disk name/letter. You will have to provide a full network name / folder by going through the Network section that you find at the bottom left side of the 'Select folder' window.

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.

  • If the above doesn't work, or the computer/NAS with the network disk doesn't support the way Windows expects name publication to happen, or you don't want your NAS device to be discoverable, then you can still provide the full path of the storage location (e.g. \\\projects\..) manually. Do this by typing the path in the top textbox of the 'Select folder' window.

    Fig.1 - Typing the full path of a network device.
  • SyncFolder will fail to connect to a shared folder on a network drive when Windows doesn't automatically connect to the drive. In order to work around this issue Microsoft suggests to run scripts to automatically reconnect mapped network drives when you log on the device. See Mapped network drive may fail to reconnect in Windows 10.

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.

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

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.

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.

What's new in your version and open issues

Go to Support 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.