SyncToy is a free folder synchronization utility that allows you to effortlessly keep all of your data up to date with a single push of the button. In the day of thumbdrives, external hard drives and other portable devices, this type of software should be built into any Operating System. At least Microsoft is offering it as a free download. Once installed, SyncToy allows you to create Folder Pairs, which are two folders that SyncToy will keep synced. So if you have an external drive you take to work each day, you can map it as a network drive and select a folder on your computer to sync with it.
Once the folders are setup, all you have to do is push a button and the synchronization begins. There are three modes you can use to configure how you sync the folders. The first is synchronize, which copies changes in both directions. This is what most people will use, as this makes sure all of the data is the same in both locations. The second option is Echo, which copies changes one way only. The last option is Contribute. Contribute mode copies changes one way just as Echo does, except files that are renamed are copied to the destination drive without deleting the previous versions.
SyncToy is not as automatic as it should be. Microsoft has other options like Live Mesh, that tracks changes in folders and keeps files synced without any action on the user’s part. But for those looking for an easy to use utility to keep files in order, SyncToy is for you. We would like to see something like this built into Windows in the future, as mobile devices are becoming more common, but for now SynToy is free and easy to install.