Backup Files Regularly with Just One Click Using FreeFileSync Open Source Software

Image credit: https://freefilesync.org/

Use of computers have become part of our everyday life. In fact, PCS has become our office space for work, study, entertainment, shopping and a lot more. In the process we create a lot of files in the computer. Some are pure junks that needs to be deleted immediately or whenever not needed. However, there are other things that are important to keep for future references. For example, our CVs, Invoices, payment details and etc. So, for these documents, backing it up in an external drive becomes necessary. In the event, our PCs have technical issues, damaged, get lost or etc., we can still have our most important files to keep us going. This article will discuss a simpler way to back up the important files using just one mouse click using the FreeFileSync open source software.

Organize Your Folders Well in My Documents Folder.

For any backup plans to work smoothly, it is important to organize your folders in your Documents folder in the PC. Organizing folders depends on the personality and our routine way of life. Some are more organized and neat, while others might be messy with files save all over the PC. Rule of thumb is to put and organize all folders within the My Documents Folder than the desktop. Desktop should be only for temporary folders or documents. If you are the sort of person who keeps most of the work on the desktop, then when it comes to backing them up might be a problem for you. Another options are to safe pictures in Pictures folders, movie files in Videos folder, and audio/music files in Music folder. Windows Operating system has those main folders created by default to get files organized.

Identify the Folders to Back Up

Not all files needs backing up, so it’s good to identify folders which needs back up on a regular basis and any file that is worth backing up or important, store them in those folders. For example, if you are working on a particular project, then create a Project folder dedicated to that project. All files that are for related to that project can be stored in the folder so that it’s easy to back up.

Have a Dedicated External Drive for Back Up.

Since back up serves as a storage space, it is good to invest in a good external drive device than small flash drives that are small in size. Good external drive will do. Also, that external drive should not be used for everyday copying of files between devices. Back up external drive should be separate from one that is used regularly for copying and sharing files.

Label Your External Drive for Back.

Every time a external drive is connected to the PC, Windows assigns it a drive name, by an alphabet. For example, E:/ or D:/ or F:/ depending on the number of external devices connected. Drive letter C:// is default drive name for the PC’s hard disk.

Double click on This PC icon on desktop, and right-mouse click on the Drive letter of the External hard drive. Click on Properties, and name the drive (eg, MyBackup or etc) and click Apply button. Click OK to close dialog.

This will make windows operating system recognize the external drive by its name eg MyBackup and then a drive letter.

Download Open Source FreeFileSync Software

  1. Go to https://freefilesync.org/download.php and click the link with the Windows logo icon. There is also the version for Mac OS and Linux. Depending on your PC operation system, select the link. For most Windows will do.
  2. Once the download is completed, double click to install it. (Note: your PC logged in user account is type Administrator) to install software. Otherwise, if it is standard user, you need to login in with administrator user account type.
  3. When installation is complete, you are ready to set up your back up batch command on FreeFileSync.

Create Back up File Sync Batch Command.

  1. Before you launch FreeFileSync, create a new black folder on the External Driver to be the backup folder.
  2. Launch FreeFileSync. The screen interface will look like the one shown below.

3.    The screen has two file path boxes. Left is where you click and drop your documents folder (eg Project1 etc). Click Browse and locate the folder that needs to back up. On the right path box,               click Browse button and locate the backup to folder on the External Drive.  These two folders are now paired for back up.

4:    Then click the Synchronize (Two way <==>) command. To check the result, minimize FreeFileSync window and open the backup folder in the external drive folder.

6:      Click Save As and  it will show Save a Batch Job dialog box. Check Run minimized. Leave the Auto-Close unchecked if you want confirmation notice to popup. This will run the backup                    action  with the screen minimized and once completed it will close automatically. Click Save as… button. Then name the file a good name-eg Project1 backup and click save. Leave the default             location to desktop and click Save.

7:      Close the FreeFileSync Window. The Batch command icon will show on the desktop with the File Name. This is your one click back up button.

Testing Your Backup Command.

Put some additional files into the folder in your PC or do some changes an existing file in it.

Then close the folder. To backup the changes to the backup folder, simply click the Backup batch command icon you have just created on the desktop. Automatically, the changes are backed up nicely.

Final Word

The FreeFileSync site has nice video tutorials to start off. Watch them for further information on how to use it. Also, it’s good idea to run the back up before you close off each day in a typical work place situation. Several backup commands can be created for different back up requirements.

Only caution is once the Folders are paired for back up, don’t move the folders around. By doing that the file path is changed. This means you have to edit the command by right mouse click and click on Edit with FreeFileSync, and select the folders again to accommodate the change.