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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > "File Synchronization" is EVIL!

"File Synchronization" is EVIL!
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Nov 17, 2000, 06:37 AM
 
I bring you a tale of woe, and a warning...

I had a deadline, a big one. Had to pull an all-nighter to meet it, and after 36 hours in front of the screen (not kidding), I made it.

Because I was working all night, I had to stop my tape-backup from running (interferes too much with work). Oh I sure wish I hadn't!

Just before I emailed my completed document off to the people desperately waiting for it, I let "File Synchronisation" do it's automated thing: synchronising my desktop-based "work" folder with its counterpart on my PowerBook. This way I have the safety of two copies of everything, even if they haven't been backed up to tape yet.

Well, "File Synchronisation" (which was set to synchronise the two folders, like I've been using it since it was first available) decided to replace my new document with the really old one on the PowerBook. Gone, no trace, even with the unerase tools I tried.

Why, why WHY? ! *$%@!!

Is it gone forever? Any suggestions at all from anyone?

Can I ever trust File Synchronisation again? Is there any tool out there that I _can_ trust (CopyAgent only will copy hourly, not when the files are different).

Help?

Chas
     
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Nov 17, 2000, 09:59 PM
 
Oh my god! I so feel for you, man.

My only suggestion would be this:

Do you run stuff like Norton? FileSaver *might* have a copy.

FileSync is not bad. BE SUPERBLY CAREFUL about the arrows. The arrows are key. You must select *which way* you want the syncing to occur. You probably had it both ways (default) in which case it probably reached the old file and copied that over before it got the new file. FileSync can't handle big folders either.

That's my only suggestion. Another would be: email askus@macaddict.com. Buz Zoller will get you on your way if there is a way for him to get you on!

good luck and *ouch*

------------------
it's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything
"Do not be too positive about things. You may be in error." (C. F. Lawlor, The Mixicologist)
     
chasg  (op)
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Nov 18, 2000, 12:06 AM
 
gorgonzola,

Thanks, you told me some stuff I didn't know (though not about Norton, all those utils didn't find anything, bummer). And I thought I knew everything :-)

I thought (stupid me!) that File Synchronization would look at both versions of a file, and synchronise the _newest_ one, it's a no-brainer to me <duh> (it was set to sync both ways).

I just quickly scoped out the FSync's Help menu, no mention of how it choses which file to use as "master" (or did I miss something?)

I am in the middle of my second all-nighter of the week, redoing the work that I lost <sigh>

I have installed an app that I think (if it works properly) will protect me from just such an evil event: Aladdin Flashback. I ignored it when it came out (thought that my clever File Synchronisation system made it unecessary <duh again> )

I do miss my simple synchronisation utility though, I've already forgotten once to copy my files over to my PBook and went home without them (at least I got a night off :-)

Thanks again for the valuable info. Do you think that Buz would be up enough on FSync to be able to tell me definitively which version of a file it's supposed to treat as "master"?

chas
     
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Nov 18, 2000, 01:36 AM
 
If you have TechTool Pro, you may be able to get the file back.
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Nov 18, 2000, 04:08 AM
 
I doubt it. I was under the impression that FSync writes over the old file - I can't imagine it would "delete" it and write a new one.
Just my reckoning by logic, it may be wrong.

Cipher13
     
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Nov 18, 2000, 02:58 PM
 
Hey, you're probably right. If the file is not deleted, it can't be recovered. However, I've used the TechTool trash cache to recover deleted files in the past, and I thought it might be worth a try.
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chasg  (op)
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Nov 18, 2000, 05:21 PM
 
Thanks for the suggestions.

I've confirmed that TTool, DiskWarrior and Norton couldn't find anything. I agree with Cipher13, FSync probably write directly over the file.Bye bye.

Anyone have any idea how FSync choses which file is "master"? (other than the sensible and logical choice of the newest one).

btw, Cipher13, how did you post so many times since the spring? Woah!

Just coming down off the second all-nighter. I hate 'em. I better get rich from all of this (I want a Cube and 22" Cinema Display. Oh, and a LearJet :-)
     
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Nov 19, 2000, 12:54 AM
 
Now I'll be afraid to ever try out File Synchronization...

Sounds useful, but I guess it's too buggy!


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Nov 19, 2000, 03:38 AM
 
File Sync is junk, Macfixit covered it and the alternatives back in April/May
     
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Nov 19, 2000, 05:10 PM
 
Checkout shareware Synchronize or Retrospect or something. Archive, don't just synch. Backup and have a couple. I have two disk drives for backup (and multiple volumes on each) along with Zip. And Zip can be set to archive changes or changed copies. Some programs backup and archive or track changes also.

I always use coffee break to quit, reload or reboot, walk around and get some air. It is too easy to crash etc. Or run tape, and most tape systems have archive capability, plus rotate a group of tapes. EVEN DUPLICATING a file is a decent "backup" along with dragging to another folder/volume.

No help now. If it can happen, it will. Synchronize to another volume or disk drive can update a set in two minutes on 400MB. Check versiontracker and of course macintouch and macfixit for reviews, reports, or such. Has ability to keep all copies, easy to use and understand.

Gregory
     
Bobby
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Nov 22, 2000, 09:26 PM
 
When I got my iBook I wanted a way to set up file syncing with it so I could tranfer files easily from one to the other as needed. I found the file sync included in OS 9 would run out of memory when trying to copy a lot of files over. I came to the conclusion within 5 minutes of using it that it was in no way a reliable utility. I looked to 3rd party programs as a result...

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Nov 23, 2000, 09:20 AM
 
Connectix has a program called CopyAgent that might do what you want . It will synchronize folders, among other things.

It also works over a network, a boon to me as I use it with a Snap Server connected to my Cube via a 100BaseT connection. And I'm glad I had a backup, as my Cube recently died and Apple had to replace it with a new unit.

Agent69
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chasg  (op)
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Nov 23, 2000, 02:37 PM
 
Great dialogue! Thanks guys!

I'd like to add to this thread by noting that in today's Macnn is a mention of PowerOn's Rewind. Kinda like Flashback for your entire machine. Think I'd have to buy a new, really big, HD to deal with it though (if it's anything like Flashback :-)

Agent69, thanks for the pointer to CopyAgent. I actually have been using it since it was recently announced here, but the only problem with it's synchronisation capability is that it'll only copy hourly, daily etc (you can manually get it to sync, which is exactly how I'm now using as my preferred sync utility). I was using it (until I abandoned the evil FileSynchronisation) just as a copy enhancer (I really missed "smart replace" from copydoubler, glad to have it back).

I liked FileSynchronisation because it had a "sync when different" action. It seemed to sync, when set to "automatic", whenever it discovered files were different. That's what I really want, and I'm willing to take a bit of a performance hit (to the network, and to my two machines) to get it.

Any of the utils mentioned in this thread do this? (I've dl'd most of them, but haven't read their docs thoroughly enough to see if any of them'll do this).

Chas

ps. gregory, good tip about backing up. I do backup to tape daily (even have a fireproof safe to keep the archived and off-day's tape in). The dumb thing I did was stop the tape backup on the night in question because I was still working. Now I'll always let it go (and take a bit of a nap :-)
     
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Nov 23, 2000, 05:31 PM
 
No problem. I manually run CopyAgent once a day. I try not to run anything in the background not needed, because Mac OS 9 is not the most stable OS in the world.

I have to admit to not backing up. I had gotten away from doing it because for the longest time, I didn't have anything important enough to worry about. Now I have big collections of MP3 files, along with a few important Office:2001 files that I use, not to mention my email.

I know that a lot of people aren't made of money but I really recommend that everyone develope some kind of backup system or stragedy, even if it's just using an iDisk for a few important things. After all, you never know when your brand new, 450Mhz G4 Cube with the Radeon Card will go up in smoke on you.

Agent69
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Nov 30, 2000, 02:37 PM
 
Keeping up-to-date backups is always a good idea. Because I've been burnt by File Sync also, I'm very careful with it. I backup my most important file, a Quicken db, to ZIP before using FileSynch on its folder.

I don't have my Mac PB in front of me, so I can't say this for sure, but I know there's a button to the left of the "Sync" button. Probably labeled something like "Examine". Using this has saved my bacon a few times already.

The main problem I have with File Sync is that the arrow interface is not exactly the most intuitive.

[This message has been edited by denim (edited 11-30-2000).]
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