SyncToy Windows 10/11: How to Use SyncToy for Backup

What is SyncToy Windows 10/11? This article helps you learn about Microsoft SyncToy and see a SyncToy alternative.

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Updated by Daisy on Feb 22, 2023
Written by Tracy King

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What Is Microsoft SyncToy Windows 10/11?
How to Use SyncToy?
Attention! SyncToy Not Working Issues
Is There a SyncToy Alternative? See Replacement to SyncToy
People Also Asked: SyncToy Windows 10/11

What Is Microsoft SyncToy Windows 10/11?

SyncToy was a freeware tool in Microsoft's PowerToys series that provided an easy-to-use graphical user interface for synchronizing files and folders in Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 10. -

Microsoft SyncToy is a utility that allows users to synchronize files and folders between two locations. It can be used to synchronize files on a local machine, network share, or remote server.

SyncToy can be used to create backups, synchronize files between multiple computers, or keep two folders in sync. It supports one-way and two-way synchronization and can be used with any storage device, including external hard drives, USB flash drives, and cloud storage services.

SyncToy is included with all versions of Windows starting with Windows Vista and is available for download from the Microsoft website.

SyncToy Download

Note: SyncToy downloading was discontinued in January 2021.

If you go to the official page and try to download SyncToy, a 404 error pops up! Microsoft no longer offers SyncToy downloads, and the SyncToy 2.1 Version is the latest one.

synctoy no longer available

Fortunately, it is available to download from CNET.

Click the green button and install SyncToy.

Confirm the following prompts:

  • Read Microsoft Sync Framework 2.0 Core Components agreement and select the "Accept" button.
  • Check "I have read and understand the warning above" and click "I agree".
  • Browse to choose the installation location. Start to download and install.

Then open it and check how to use SyncToy in the next part.

How to Use SyncToy?

Quick check: First, select the source and destination directories to use SyncToy. Then, select the desired synchronization option from the options menu. Finally, click the "Synchronize" button to start the process.

Detailed guide:

#1. Check SyncToy's Panel
#2. How to Create a Folder Pair

#1. Check SyncToy's Panel

When you open the SyncToy app, it presents a simple interface containing three concepts:

  • Left Folder - the folder you want to backup.
  • Right Folder - the backup location where you want to store files on it. (e.g., USB flash drive and external hard drive)
  • Create New Folder Pair - Make backup progress between the left and right folders. It is also seen as a "What-Where" backup rule.

synctoy interface

#2. How to Create a Folder Pair

Step 1. Click the "Create New Folder Pair" button.

create new folder pair - 1

Step 2. Click "Browse..." to choose the folder you want to back up.

create new folder pair - 2

Step 3. Click "Browse..." to choose the location. Here I select my external USB drive. Click "Next".

create new folder pair - 3

Step 4. You will see three SyncToy actions in the next panel. Select one action and click "Next".

synctoy actions

  • Synchronize - In synchronize mode, files are copied in both directions. So if a file is added or changed in either location, it will be updated in the other location. 
  • Echo - In echo mode, files are only copied from the left folder to the right folder. So if a file is added or changed in the left folder, it will be updated in the right folder. However, changes made in the right folder will not be copied to the left folder. 
  • Contribute - In contribute mode, files are only copied from the left folder to the right folder. No deletions.

💡Which mode should I check?

  • Do one-time and complete backup from the local computer to an external device - Echo.
  • Sync data file between two computers - Synchronize.
  • Back up data file except for deleted files - Contribute.

Step 5. Name your folder pair and click "Finish".

create new folder pair - 4

Step 6. The next panel will show the details of the backup - folder name, targeted source & destination, and SyncToy Action.

create new folder pair - 5

You can click "Change options" to decide on file inclusion and exclusion.

create new folder pair - 6

Step 7. Final Step, click the "Preview" and then "Run" button.

create new folder pair - 7

Video Tutorial - How Does SyncToy Work

In this video, this YouTuber shows the primary usage of SyncToy and how to sync folders with this free Microsoft software.

02:24 - Basic information.

04:12 - Start to create a new pair.

Attention! SyncToy Not Working Issues

#1. SyncToy Not Copying All Files

One issue that SyncToy users may encounter is that SyncToy does not seem to be copying all files from one location to another.

  • Reason 1 - the folders you are trying to synchronize are not set up correctly.

SyncToy can only synchronize two folders on the same drive; it cannot synchronize across drives. In addition, the folders must be available when SyncToy is run; if one of the folders is located on a network drive that is not currently accessible, SyncToy will not be able to copy the files.

  • Reason 2 - some of the files in the folder are being excluded by SyncToy.

SyncToy default excludes specific files, such as system and temporary files. However, it is also possible to add custom exclusions. If you think this might be the problem, you can check the SyncToy log file to see which files are being skipped.

#2. SyncToy Not Syncing When Run As a Scheduled Task

SyncToy can work with Task Scheduler to set a scheduled backup.

synctoy schedule

But sometimes you may encounter the issue: SyncToy Task Scheduler not working. We recommend you check your setup options one more time.

Well, these two issues may let you down. Why not look at a SyncToy alternative and start an essential and automatic backup?

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Best Free SyncToy Alternative Software for Windows 10/8/7

If SyncToy cannot work or fails to sync files on your Windows 10, 8 or 7 PC/laptops, relax, best free SycnToy alternative software - EaseUS EverySync is available to help now.


Is There a SyncToy Alternative? See Replacement to SyncToy

EaseUS Todo Backup, a free backup software, is a reliable and user-friendly backup software that can back up systems, files, disks, and partitions in all Windows versions. You don't have to worry about data loss issues with password-protected backup technology.

Additionally, EaseUS Todo Backup provides flexible backup options, enabling copy your data in a schedule to deal with "SyncToy Not Syncing with Scheduled Task".

Free Download EaseUS backup software:

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Step 1. To initiate a backup, click the Select backup contents option.

create file backup step1

Step 2. There are four data backup categories, File, Disk, OS, and Mail, click File.

create file backup step2

Step 3. On the left, both local and network files will be shown. You may extend the directory to pick the backup files.

File backup

Step 4. Follow the on-screen instructions and choose a location to store the backup.

File backup step4

Click Options to encrypt the backup with a password in Backup Options, then click Backup Scheme to specify the backup schedule and start the backup at a certain event. There are also other additional choices you may choose to tailor the backup process to your requirements.

Backup options

Step 5. The backup may be stored on a local disk, EaseUS' online service, or NAS.

file backup step4

Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables customers to back up data to a third-party cloud drive as well as its own cloud drive.

If you want to back up data to a cloud drive provided by a third party, choose Local Drive, scroll down to add Cloud Device, and then add and log in to your account.

Backup to cloud
You can also choose the EaseUS cloud drive. Sign up for an EaseUS Account, then click EaseUS Cloud and log in.

backup to easeus cloud

Step 7. Click Backup Now to begin the backup process. The backup job will be presented as a card on the left side of the panel after it has been finished. Right-click the backup job to handle it further.

File backup step7

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People Also Asked: SyncToy Windows 10/11

1. Can I still use SyncToy with windows 10?

Yes, you can. SyncToy is still compatible with Windows 10.

2. Has SyncToy been discontinued?

The last major update was released in 2021, which may be outdated for some users. SyncToy downloading is no longer available from the Microsoft website.

3. What has replaced SyncToy?

Several different applications can perform some of the same functions. For example, FreeFileSync is a free application that allows users to synchronize files between two locations. There are also paid programs like GoodSync and ChronoSync that offer more features and customization options. 

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 10 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions to resolve Windows & Mac data recovery, data backup, partition management, data transfer, Windows update issues, etc.

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