I would be very interested to hear how you use PickSync. You can leave a comment below.
To get you started, here is a short list of suggested applications:
- Backing up your ‘My documents’ folder (with or without subfolders), or other chosen folders, to a separate hard drive, a USB drive, or a USB stick. Be selective, choose the changes.
- Copying modified documents from home to work, and vice versa, using a USB stick or USB drive.
- Rearranging collections of media, e.g. of downloads, photos or MP3 files, on your hard drive – create new folders and shuffle or rename your files.
- Transferring photos from camera memory to hard disk.
- Renaming those photos – to add a descriptive filename to a group of them all at once – while you transfer them.
- Selectively copying from a smaller disk or USB drive to a larger one, or (more selectively) from a larger to a smaller one.
- Pick your best photos to copy into a new, more selective, folder. Open a Picture Viewer window, use the down arrow key to scroll through the main folder, and use the ‘C’ key to copy the ones you most like into another folder with a single keystroke. Much faster than drag-drop.
- Combine IE favorites onto a USB stick that you can use to synchronise the favorites, or any selected group of favorites, from all your computers. Each link is a separate file, stored by Windows in C:users[yourusername]favorites. Open that folder on one side of PickSync and copy across whatever links you choose, then copy back all or selected links to the favorites folder/subfolders on your other computers.
- Find and remove duplicates (see the sample application below).
And indulge simple Paranoia (or prudent precaution? – prevention is better than cure!):
- Paranoia (1) – check up on your usual backup program, or check a folder copy operation which you performed using Windows Explorer. Did it copy everything, did it miss anything? Did it change any file names?
- Paranoia (2) – maintain a separate local backup of your critical files/folders, in case your cloud-based service loses your data.
- Paranoia (3) – maintain a separate local backup, in case iTunes somehow deletes your media on your computer (you tried to sync to the wrong device?), and it then helpfully also ‘updates’ your iDevice to empty: or you accidentally let Dropbox simultaneously delete ALL copies of a file from all your PCs .
Anyone who does not completely trust cloud storage should use PickSync for local backup!
(Try Googling “cloud data loss” now – then come right back here!)
PickSync is particularly useful for incremental backup – you have a large collection of files to save, but only a few of them will have changed between backups. PickSync lets you review differences between the current versions and the most recent backup, and copy across only those that are needed.
You can of course do many of these things the brute force way, running two separate instances of Windows Explorer and dragging across. Sometimes that may be the most straightforward way. However PickSync is for power users; it gives you detailed information and fine control over what is moved.
Better than Windows Explorer (1)
The dual folder display provides much more functionality than just two instances of Windows Explorer. The side-by-side aligned view enables immediate detailed comparison by eye of the contents of two folders. Unless the folders are nearly empty or almost identical, that is too hard and too error-prone in Explorer.
Use the ‘Fave Folders’ (Favourites) button to save pairs of frequently-used folders, as pairs, for reuse.
The ‘Faves’ (Favourites) button allows the immediate selection of a pre-stored pair of folders – up to 100 such pairs can be saved.
Any or all of the suggested applications above can be set up with such a pair, and then used daily or as often as desired.
Sample application – Finding and removing duplicates
Sometimes identical copies of files end up in more than one folder and you may want to find or remove one of the copies. This can easily be done, as follows:
- Open, on the left side of PickSync, the folder containing the potentially unwanted duplicates.
- Open the folder with the copies you want to keep on the right side.
- In the main panel, use the drop-down menu to select ‘Identical’ files, and click ‘Go!’.
- The grid now displays all the duplicated files, and only them.
- Select the unwanted ones on the left.
- Right-click, select “Delete”, and after a confirmation dialogue, they will be gone. (Alternatively, if you want to check, select “Move To”, and create a temporary folder in which to place them).
This procedure will leave in place all files in both folders that are not exactly duplicated in the other.
Try this in ‘Safe mode’ (see the Safety Features page), if you want to understand it first without risking your data.
Better than Windows Explorer (2)
Simply for browsing files, PickSync has some other incidental but very useful advantages over Windows Explorer:
- The comprehensive Filtering options (simple wildcard filtering for file name in the Main tab, and more fine-grained date or size filtering in the Filter tab) make it easy to zoom in on hard-to-locate files (find those needles in the haystack).
- The Filtering options also help quickly list all files of a particular kind.
- The Search tab provides further search options within the list of files.
- By selecting All subfolders, you can easily generate a complete list of the files in a folder and all its subfolders at the same time. (You can then save that list as a text file, see below).
- You can save a list of the files shown in the grid to a text file, as shown on either or both sides (tab separated), with or without dates/sizes, with or without subfolder contents. This can be printed or edited externally, or easily copied into other documents.
If you have more than one PC (a desktop and a laptop, or a PC and home and another at work), or if you have a USB stick or USB hard drive, then you will find PickSync useful, if not indispensable.