SyncToy for Windows XP, free download

Major Nelson spotted this free new SyncToy PowerToy at's Download Center.

I've just finished the set up and synchronized my laptop pic and mp3 files with my spanking new Buffalo Network Storage Center.  It works.  I'll do the same with the other laptop and the faimly desktop tomorrow to get to totally sync'd files across the home wireless network on the three machines and the network share. Geeky-bliss-heaven.

Corey, who's had a play seems pretty chuffed it to:

"A tool I wish I had only a few months ago before my hard drive died and lost the last 6 months of data.  SyncToy from Microsoft for Windows XP, one of the best designed folder synchronization tools I have come across, and it's free.  If I had this or something like it in place, I wouldn't have been out of date with my server backup.  Now I know better." does J Wynia:

"I’ve been messing with Microsoft’s SyncToy (in the same category as the rest of their powertoys) for synchronizing and backing up files to my fileserver. So far, it actually looks pretty good and is probably the backup tool they should have just included in XP."

and Ed Bott:

"This is a marvelous little program, and it's free. Ironically, Walt Mossberg in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal reviews some commercial products that perform similar functions (subscription required; I'll update with a free link later). If you need a PC-to-Mac solution, one of those alternatives might make sense; otherwise, SyncToy should do the trick."

SyncToy description:

"Now there is an easier way. SyncToy is a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows XP that provides is an easy to use, highly customizable program that helps users to do the heavy lifting involved with the copying, moving, and synchronization of different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without added complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of folders at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another. Unlike other applications, SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder."

SyncToy for Windows XP

Note: the SyncToy download page provides this following warning about support for SyncToy:

"We've taken great care to ensure that this tool operates as it should, but it is not part of Windows and is not supported by Microsoft Technical Support. For this reason, Microsoft Technical Support is unable to answer questions about SyncToy.  To speak to other users and contribute feedback about your experiences with SyncToy, please use the forums accessible from the Professional Photography web site at"

If you have any problems, try the Windows XP Photos Newsgroup.

Comments (19)
  1. Hey Dude,

    Its pretty good, but lacks the Automatic and Scheduled of something like my favourite Sync tool, Allway Sync. If you like this, you’ll freak when you see/use Allway.

    Check out my review of it at:

    Its a little old, some of the new Auto Sync options are very slick.

    Check it out.


    PS. Can’t wait for the Final Test to start next week.

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    Hey Molly, thanks for the pointer, Allway Sync looks good, but costs $19.99…

    Re: scheduling, you’re right the SyncToy (free) doesn’t do this from its interface, but it can be run as a Scheduled Task from Windows:

    "SyncToy does not provide a user interface to schedule folder pairs to run at designated times. However, there is a method to schedule tasks using the Microsoft© Windows© operating system.

    To schedule a task using the operating system:

    1. From the Start menu, select All Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Scheduled Tasks.

    2. Select Add scheduled task to start the Scheduled Task Wizard. You will see a list of possible programs to run.

    3. SyncToy may appear as an option in the list. If SyncToy does not appear in the list, click Browse and go find it.

    4.The wizard will next prompt you to enter how often you want to run the scheduled SyncToy (for example, daily, weekly, et cetera). Select a frequency.

    5. The next page asks when to start the task. Select a start time.

    6. The next page asks for the user name and password to run the program under. Enter your user name and password.

    7. The final page contains an option to open the properties dialog when the wizard ends. Select this checkbox.

    8. Modify the Run textbox to include the –R command line option. –R all by itself will run all folder pairs that are active for run all. If you want to run just a single folder pair, add –R“My Pair” to the end of the command line. Note: there is a space before the hyphen but not one after the R. If the folder pair name contains a space, surround it with quotation marks, as the example above shows. For another example, assume that SyncToy is in the folder named C:My Folder and that you want to run a folder pair named "My folder pair." Enter the command line as follows, including the quotation marks: "C:My FolderSyncToy.exe" -R"My folder pair." Note that there are two sets of quotation marks in this case: one is around the path to the SyncToy program file and the other surrounds the folder pair name.

  3. mollyfud says:

    Hi Alex,

    There is a free version for personal use, but it does have a usage test of this and my use for syncing podcast definitely hit this but in my case, the autosyncing when I plug in the device was worth the A$26 that I paid for it.


  4. TexPlo says:

    Hello – if you need an advanced file synchronization and file backup software for Windows give a try to ViceVersa at

    It is not free, but what you can do with it is well worth the price.

  5. Instant Copyright says:

    Free and very pro functions:

    UktraBackup 4.2

    Why to pay more ?

  6. Ryan says:

    <A HREF="">VisualCron</A&gt; is the best among the scheduled task alternatives.


  7. Colin J. says:

    Here’s a short script I wrote to automate my use of SyncToy. Basically it looks for a file at the root level of each drive present and if that file is found fires off a specific SyncToy job.

    ‘ a very short script to run the synctoy tool if a drive is found

    ‘ with a file called .BackupDrive or .KeychainDrive at the root level.

    Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

    Set Drives = fso.Drives

    ‘ iterate through the available drives and look for the

    ‘ .BackupDrive or .KeychainDrive file.

    For Each DiskDrive in Drives

       strBackupDriveFile = DiskDrive.DriveLetter & _


       strKeychainDriveFile = DiskDrive.DriveLetter & _


       If ( DiskDrive.IsReady ) Then

           If ( fso.FileExists( strBackupDriveFile ) ) Then  

               Set fsoBackupDriveFile = fso.OpenTextFile(strBackupDriveFile, 2, True)

               Set objFSO = Wscript.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

               Set objShell = Wscript.CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")

               strFolderPair = """backup my docs"""

               objShell.Run "SyncToy.exe -R" & strFolderPair

               strDate = now



          End If

          If ( fso.FileExists( strKeychainDriveFile ) ) Then

               Set fsoKeychainDriveFile = fso.OpenTextFile(strKeychainDriveFile, 2, True)

               Set objFSO = Wscript.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

               Set objShell = Wscript.CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")

               strFolderPair = """update keychain drive"""

               objShell.Run "SyncToy.exe -R" & strFolderPair

               strDate = now



           End If

       End If    


  8. MSDNArchive says:

    oh cool, thanks Colin!

  9. DOES NOT WORK says:

    If I have .NET 2.0 installed only it will not work, why must I install old 1.1 runtimes? Can you build a 2.0 compatible version?  Stupid.

  10. Mike says:

    Yes, why must this ‘old’ version be installed to get the tool running? And why does it not run without admin rights?

  11. carsten A says:

    Hi there,

    Is there anyone who can tell me if it is possible to make a folderpair, that anyone on the server can access. I am trying to use synctoy with citrix, and will make something like – R"generel_sync_folder_set"

    If e.g an administrator has made a folder set, another user cannot see that set when logged in.

    I cannot see where syntoy saves it’s settings ????

  12. MSDNArchive says:

    Carsten, your best bet is to post the question at this newsgroup:


    good luck!

  13. Thomas Lindberg says:

    SyncToy requires .Net Framework. When downloading that from MS I get .Net 2.0.

    SyncToy continues to require .Net 1.1, it doesn’t accept .Net 2.0.

    I do not get out of this Catch22 situation. Sloppy, MS!

  14. MSDNArchive says:

    Thomas – you can download .Net 1.1 from here:

    You can run .Net Frawemorks 1.1 and 2.0 on you machine side by side so there is no need to unistall 2.0 to run apps that use 1.1

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