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MORE GUIDES

How to Backup Specific Files & Folders

1. INTRODUCTION

2. USING ASSISTANTS

3. THE NARROW SCOPE APPROACH

SELECT FOLDER AS TARGET

USING SEPARATE TASKS

ADDING TASKS TO A TASK CONTAINER

4. THE BROAD SCOPE APPROACH

THE 'EXCLUDE' COMMAND

AUTO-EXCLUDE NEW ITEMS

USING RULES

PARENT PATHNAME RULE

5. USING A COMBINATION OF METHODS

6. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

CHRONOSYNC EXPRESS HELP

GUIDES

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

1. INTRODUCTION [top]

ChronoSync Express is designed to be flexible. It can meet the needs of any synchronization or backup strategy, no matter how simple or complex. In some instances your needs may NOT be as simple as backing up one folder to another folder. You may, for example, want to backup many different folders throughout your hard drive or perhaps backup one folder but not backup some of the folders contained within it. ChronoSync Express can handle any scenario you have and there are various methods that allow you to exclude or include folders.

ChronoSync Express is a document-based application. This means that to create a backup or synchronization task, you create a synchronizer task document to define that task. All of the settings — targets, options, rules, etc. — are saved within each defined task document.

This document-based approach offers fine-grain control over your synchronization and backups. You can create as many or as few synchronizer task documents as desired. The scope of a synchronizer task can be a single folder with just a few files or an entire hard drive with millions of files. Multiple tasks can specify the same source for a backup operation but different destinations. Tasks can be chained so that the output of one is the input for another. Multiple tasks can also be combined in a single task container and behave like a single task — the possibilities are truly limitless.

This guide will present a variety of techniques that build upon the document-based concept. You can use one or a combination of the methods listed below to narrow down your backup scope using ChronoSync Express.

2. USING ASSISTANTS [top]

Using a creation assistant will help you get your backups configured and running quickly and easily. Assistants guide you through the process of configuring a synchronizer task to achieve a specific goal. This helps to quickly get your task configured with the required settings without being exposed to the optional settings that could be overwhelming.

You can view the creation assistants by choosing 'Use a setup assistant' on the ChronoSync Express Organizer window. ChronoSync Express provides a handful of creation assistants. The one best suited for backing up specific files and folders is the 'Multiple Folder Backup' assistant. This assistant will create a synchronizer task that will backup multiple folders that you choose and copy them and their contents to a single destination.

Creation Assistants

3. THE NARROW SCOPE APPROACH [top]

The Narrow Scope Approach focuses on configuring synchronization and backups to scan a very specific set of files and folders. You typically will setup multiple synchronizer tasks and combine them or run them individually.

SELECT FOLDER AS TARGET [top]

If you want to synchronize or backup all your personal documents or files you would simply select the folder they are contained in as the target. This is the method you should use for synchronizing a single folder.

Select file or folder to sync

USING SEPARATE TASKS [top]

If you wish to synchronize multiple folders, use separate tasks for each folder you wish to backup. For example, instead of creating one task for your Home folder, perhaps you want to create three: one for "Documents," another for "Pictures" and a third for "Desktop." Each task can be run separately.

ADDING TASKS TO A TASK CONTAINER [top]

If you created three tasks for your "Documents," "Pictures" and "Desktop" folders (as mentioned above), you could add them to a single task container so all three behave as one. A task container will run multiple tasks as one. This is a really convenient and clean way to keep track of multiple tasks.

Put individual documents in container to sync as one

4. THE BROAD SCOPE APPROACH [top]

The broad scope approach targets a a very large set of files and folders to synchronize or backup. It typically includes many more folders than you actually want to scan, so you will add conditionals such as rules and/or exclusions to narrow down the set of files that actually get processed.

THE 'EXCLUDE' COMMAND [top]

You can permanently exclude any file or folder pair by selecting it in the Analyze panel and choosing the "Exclude" command from the "Actions" menu. The exclusion will be saved with the ChronoSync Express task document and the excluded file/folder will be skipped every time a backup is performed. When a folder is excluded, all the files and folders contained within it are likewise excluded. For example, if you wanted to backup your entire Home folder but did not want to include your “Music” folder, you could select your home folder as one of the targets and then exclude your “Music” folder from the Analyze panel. Read the tip Excluding A File Or Folder for all the details.

Can exclude files

AUTO-EXCLUDE NEW ITEMS [top]

When using the "Exclude" command to restrict items from your backup/sync, you may want to think about how new items added to the target folder will be handled. Do you want any new items saved in the target folder or any subfolders automatically backed up/synced? Most times, this is the desired behavior but you may have instances where you know new files or folders will be added but you don’t want to include them in this sync. You can use the 'Auto-exclude new items' option.

Consider your Desktop. Maybe you keep a few folders on the Desktop that you use regularly and sync these folders regularly with your laptop. However, you also use the Desktop for temporary items, and have other files and folders that you don't want to sync to your laptop. In this case, you can create a task that targets the two Desktop folders and use the "Exclude" command to limit the sync to only the important few folders. Next, on the "Options Panel" in the 'Special File/Folder Handling' section enable "Auto-exclude new items." In this case, you also enable "Only at root level." With these options set, no matter how many new files or folders you add to your Desktop, only the important folders will be synced. Also, with "Only at root level" enabled, any new files or folders you add to your targeted important folders will also be synced. Without the "Only at root Level" option, any new file or folder in the entire Desktop tree will be automatically excluded.

Auto-exclude files

USING RULES [top]

You can create rules which allow you to include or exclude specific files and folders from a backup. If you just want to backup all your Photoshop (.psd) files to an external hard drive no matter where they are located on your Mac, you could select your entire Mac’s hard drive as one target and a folder on the external hard drive as the other target. You could then create a rule to only backup Photoshop files — all other types of files will be skipped.

Note that rules can slow down a task noticeably because each rule must be evaluated for every file and folder encountered in the sync tree.

Use rules to filter files in the sync

PARENT PATHNAME RULE [top]

One important rule type to become familiar with when trying to narrow down your scope is the 'Parent Pathname' rule. Using it will allow you to copy specific folders that are located inside your target root.

Suppose you wish to copy a folder called "Family" located directly inside the root of the Pictures folder and all its contents, both files and folders. Select the Pictures folder as your source target and create the following two "Intermediate" rules below and connect them with "Or".

The "Name" rule will include the actual folder in the target. Use the "Parent Pathname" rule, using "File and Folder contains", for the folder you want to synchronize — this will include all files and folders within the folder you want to synchronize.

5. USING A COMBINATION OF METHODS [top]

Say you want to backup your entire Home folder but do not wish to backup your entire "Library" folder, just the "Mail" folder inside of it. This can be accomplished by creating two tasks and then adding them to a task container. First, you would create a task to backup your entire Home folder, excluding the "Library" folder via the "Exclude" action. Second, you would create another task to backup just your "Mail" folder. Finally, you could combine both tasks in a single task container. This way your "Library" folder gets completely excluded but the "Mail" folder still gets backed up. Furthermore, any new folders added to your "Library" folder would not get backed up so you would not have to modify your exclusions in the future.

Container document containing 2 sync documents

6. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG [top]

For most people, the above methods will work flawlessly for backing up or synchronizing multiple folders. However, we live in an imperfect world and sometimes things just don't work out as expected. If you encounter any problems following this tutorial, here's some tips that may help you get back on track:

CHRONOSYNC EXPRESS HELP [top]

From the "Help" menu in ChronoSync Express, you can try some of the following search terms (minus the quotes):

"Task Containers"
"Using Rules"
"Targets"
"Exclude"

GUIDES [top]

Check out the following guides that give examples of various ways to narrow the scope of your synchronization:

TECHNICAL SUPPORT [top]

Contact our technical support team and just ask! We don’t mind — we're here to help!