Quick Review: ChronoSync, Easy, Automatic Studio Backup

Do you remember the last time you did backups on your computer files?  You opened two finder windows, dragging one folder after another between windows.  Or the last time you tried to remember if the files on your laptop were more current than the ones on your desktop?  Do you remember that time you “thought” you did a backup of one disk in preparation of reformatting it for another use, only to find out you didn’t really get all the folders copied?  I used to do that.  Until the day I accidentally deleted five years of files.  No amount of recovery software, pleading, or prayers would ever bring those files back.

That was all before ChronoSync.

ChronoSync, from Econ Technologies, is the one piece of Mac software that I wish I had years ago, and it’s the one piece of software that I can’t figure out how I ever lived without.

Grab and Go

ChronoSync is a download purchase (a limited functioning demo version is available for trial use before you pay).  Once installed,  you have several options, including:

Synchronize (keep two computers current with the same files)

Back up (copy files, folders and drives to another place)

Archive (save old versions of files)

Schedule (make your backups run when and where you want)

Confirm (receive friendly, automatic e-mails from your computer)

Easy to use

The backup function is super easy.  Choose your two target drives and select the direction of backup from the operation drop-down menu in the middle of the panel.  The direction button and giant arrow are a great visual to double-check that what you are about to do is indeed what you wish to do.  Nothing is worse than accidentally overwriting the new files with the old.  With ChronoSync I have never had this problem.  I use my Drobo for my main files, and my specific backup disks are labeled accordingly.  ChronoSync makes everything easy and fast and almost fool-proof.

While the program is great with just the basics, the other functions help push ChronoSync over the top in usability:

ChronoSync allows you to simulate the backup so you can see what will happen before it’s permanent.  You can analyze a set of backups to see when files were copied and to where.  You can set up “rules” to only copy certain files (such as .name, extension or file creation date).

Saving each of your custom backup settings allows you to easily and quickly perform the backups and syncs that you need, without the need to enter all the information again and again.

Scheduling your ChronoSync allows you to tell the computer when you want your backups preformed.  It will even run in the background, if you wish, so that you don’t even have to open the main program to have your scheduled tasks executed.

The synchronize function allows you to keep a set of files current between a laptop and a desktop machine.  I use Apple’s iDisk for small file sharing, but the limitations of iDisk with large files makes the synchronize function of ChronoSync a hidden blessing.

For those users that prefer the security and peace of mind of an archive, ChronoSync allows automatic saving of deleted and modified files into an archive folder for a user-selectable length of time.  Similar in scope to Apple’s Time Machine, but without the need to buy additional hardware, you can use the hard drive(s) you already own.  [Editor’s note: the archive folder functionality has proven an awesome resource for saving accidentally deleted files for my own studio.  I have ChronoSync set for a 60-day archive, after 60 days, files are permanently deleted.]

Summary

There is so much under the hood of ChronoSync that I find it impossible to believe that it could not handle the most complicated, convoluted backup scheme you could dream up.  Fortunately, my needs are simpler, but it’s nice to know that as my needs grow, ChronoSync will still be there to help.

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