Any Mac user living in a mixed Mac, Windows, and Linux PC office environment knows the problems of file backups. It’s one thing to backup files on your Mac to an external disk drive, but it’s something else again to backup files when there are Macs and Windows and Linux PCs.
Here’s a quick look at a free tool which has been around for years, but does the deed with a bag of useful features. It’s called FreeFileSync, and if you have a need for cross platform backups, this is the one to try first.
FreeFileSync is open source and uses the standard source and target visual paradigm to setup a backup or file sync. Multiple configurations are easily setup and handled, and though the interface smacks of a typical Windows look and feel, it works, including drag and drop, file browsing, and options for individual files.
While it’s easy to get lost in the extensive feature set, basic file sync is fast and easy. Drag and drop files to setup the source. Select the target destination. Click Compare to compare the files (if needed). Select a few synchronization settings. Click Synchronize to begin the sync process.
While that setup is mostly standard for file backup and sync apps, FreeFileSync is loaded with options, many particularly useful for cross platform environments. It comes with 64-bit support so it’s fast, locked files can be copied, and it’s smart enough to detect renamed files and folders, or those that have been moved. It even handles symbolic links.
NTFS security permissions are easily handled, as is full Unicode support. And, it locks a sync job when multiple backup or sync jobs are running agains the same network share. FreeFileSync isn’t a way to clone a Mac’s hard disk (there are plenty of options for that), but is superb for use in an environment with Macs, Windows and Linux PCs.