kelemvor

How To Duplicate This Setup? 3 Computer Sync

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My wife and I currently use SyncToy to sync our photos between our two laptops and my media server that stores all my pictures, videos, music, etc.

 

The way we currently do it is:

  • 1 person downloads the pictures from the camera
  • That person then runs Synctoy to sync the new pictures, deletions, renames, moves, etc up to the server
  • The second person then run Synctoy to download the new files and other changes to their computer

Problem is if both of us download pictures without syncing in between we then have person 1 syncs and uploads their changes, person 2 syncs and uploads their changes and downloads person 1's changes.  Person 1 then has to sync again to get person 2's changes, etc.

 

One main problem is this only works if we're at home since it's on our local network and it's a manual process to remember to run the sync.

 

I'm thinking I can install BTSync on all 3 computers (or even just leave out the server since it's just the middle man) in order to make this automatic.  Some questions are:

  • How does BTSync handle if a file moves to a new folder?
  • How does BTSync handle if a file gets its name changes?
  • How are file deletions handled?
  • How would this best work using the 3 computers or would I be better off to just use 2 and manually still use Synctoy as a 1-way sync to update the server as a backup every once in a while

Just looking for any opinionts on how to set this up or if it just won't work as well based on the changes, move, deletions, etc.

 

Thanks for any advice!

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  • How does BTSync handle if a file moves to a new folder?

From what I've noticed, it will delete the file in the old location and then make a new file in the new location (transferring the full content of the file to do this).  Not ideal by any means, but over a lan connection it's not that big of a problem to me.  I believe this is because of the way that BTSync works - it focuses on the folders and keeps them synced, rather than the individual files like synctoy.

  • How does BTSync handle if a file gets its name changes?

Sometimes the name change is done without a full transfer, and sometimes it seems that BTSync recognizes it as a delete and new file, thus it transfers the whole file again. I haven't found a way to reproduce one of them specifically; it seems pretty random to me.  Again, over lan this doesn't bother me much.

  • How are file deletions handled?

If a file is deleted from computer A, on computer B (and c, d, etc) it is moved to the .syncarchive folder by default (keeping the folder structure).  The files remain there for a determined length of time (I believe by default it's 30 days, but this is changable via an advanced option).

If needed, they can be restored by a simple copy/paste on computer B (provided computer B has a full-access key, which sounds like your use case; this restore will trigger a full transfer to other machines, as with any 'new' file).

  • How would this best work using the 3 computers or would I be better off to just use 2 and manually still use Synctoy as a 1-way sync to update the server as a backup every once in a while

I would personally just have BTSync on all three computers, and keep the server as a backup (it should keep deletions in its .syncarchive from both machines, so it would be a single source for restores, rather than having to check both computer A and B's .sycnarchives depending on who changed/deleted the file).  Additionally, if one of the computers had a hdd crash, a restore could be quite a bit faster (depending on network setup, as well as lan/internet connections), as BTSync would be getting the files from both other sources instead of just one other computer.

On the other hand, you could just set Synctoy as a scheduled task to run 1x/day or the like, which would accomplish something similar (though without real-time updating).

 

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Overall, I do think this would be something useful to you.  I use it for something similar with documents, and it works quite well thanks to the real-time updating (and with less hassle than synctoy, which I used previously). Before you use it on your main folders, I would test it with a temporary folder, just to make sure it all works right and as you were expecting. 

 

Also, when I switched over from synctoy to BTSync, I just made sure the folders were all synced and then added them to BTSync with the same full-access or read-only secret.  It then indexed them (which took a while, due to the TBs of information I had to sync), and was ready to go - it didnt transfer anything across during the indexing process (though it looked like it was, it was really just scanning, as there was no network activity).

 

Good luck!

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So, one other question.  Since all my computers currently have the same files, can I just pick one to share, give the key to the others, and point them at the existing folders and with BT Sync figure out that all the files are the same and not do anything?  Or should I delete all the files from 2 of the computers and let them sync them over from the master to get started?

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