ChronoSync is one of those tools that’s been in the Mac community for a long time (rightfully so). It’s been a little while since I got the chance to really tinker around with ChronoSync so I thought I’d do a little article on what I got to find during my tinkerations. To get started with ChronoSync, go to their website at http://www.econtechnologies.com/chronosync/overview.html. Next, we’re going to walk through the most basic of setups (and you can get all kinds of complicated from there if you’d like!).
Once you’ve downloaded, ChronoSync, run the installer from the disk image that was downloaded.
Then walk through the installer, basically following the defaults (unless you’d like to install to a volume other than your boot volume).
Once the installer is finished, open the app and register the product.
Once registered, you’ll see a nice screen giving you a few options. We’re going to create a single plan (synchronizer document) to backup a single source to a single target. To do so, click on the option to “Create a new synchronizer document”.
At the Setup screen, you have a right and left column. When I used to do a lot of manual migrations, I would always always always line up my source on the left and my target on the right (or invariably you risk data loss by copying in the wrong direction), so the workflow in ChronoSync has always made sense to me. Because a lot of the data I use needs root access, I’m going to select “Local Volumes (Admin access)” in the “Connect to” field and then use the Choose button to select my actual source. Repeat that process in the Right Target section of the screen.
The default action that will be performed is to backup from the left to the right targets (the term target referring to the folder, not that it’s a source or target in the backup operation). Click into the Operation field to bring up a list of the options that can be performed between your left and right targets.
The option I’m selecting is “Synchronize Bidirectional” as this is an article about syncing data. The other options are pretty well defined in the manual, but it’s worth mentioning that the Bootable Mirror options are especially useful. Once you’ve set the type of sync, you can also use the Options menu to define some pretty granular settings for your sync. For the purposes of this sync, which brings over server shares, I’m going to leave Conflict resolution set to Ask User and use the custom option under the Special File/Folder Handling section to enable the “Verify copied data” option and “Preserve Comments” option. Note that if you’re doing this on servers and would like to stop a service (such as postgres) before a sync and start it after, you can use the scripts section of this screen. You can also configure notifications, sending emails when syncs have errors, or every time there’s a sync.
Click Rules to build inclusion/exclusion rules (for example, I don’t often sync things like operating system and software installers since I can just go download them again, pretty easily). Click Archive in the sidebar if you’d like to remove files based on a trigger (e.g. if it’s been removed from the source, archive it, etc).
Next, you can simply click Synchronize to run an immediate sync of the files and folders you’ve defined in your Sync Document. Or, you can click Add to Schedule to define when you’d like to run your Synchronization Documents.
There, less than 5 minutes and we’ve got a pretty advanced sync going. Use the Log button to see how everything went. And remember, always verify that the archives and backups are running on a good schedule. For example, I like to have at least a weekly cadence to make sure that media one each side of a sync can still open. It helps me sleep better.