PickSync is designed with the aim of handling data as safely as it can. It has been carefully tested – I have used successive versions for my own data (including constantly backing up its own source code!) on a daily basis for many years, literally thousands of times. It contains internal checks and it provides warnings of potentially problematic operations. The safety features are summarised below.
You can safely experiment with PickSync, without risking any accidental changes to your files, by using “Safe Mode”. When Safe Mode is on, all operations are simulated and NO changes at all are made to the contents of your hard disk (hitting ‘Go’ to refresh the display will confirm this).
So, for example, if a Copy or Move operation is selected, the grid will be updated – as if that operation had taken place – but no file will actually be copied or moved, and the contents of both the left and right folders will remain unaltered.
Safe mode, if on, traps any operations which may:
- Create a new folder;
- Copy a file or files;
- Move a file or files;
- Delete a file or files.
Each is merely simulated as explained above – and no changes at all are made to the actual contents of any folder. So long as Safe Mode is on, nothing you do in PickSync can damage your computer or files.
When not in Safe Mode, PickSync’s ‘Delete’ operation will by default move any deleted file or files to the Windows Recycle bin when possible. They can then be restored from it if necessary.
PickSync operates on files not folders. You cannot delete a folder using PickSync.
You cannot copy or move an entire folder with its contents just by selecting a folder row (but of course you can copy or move all the files within it individually, and can do so in one operation by selecting the entire folder contents and then applying Copy or Move).
Confirmation of operations
The Options tab allows you to choose whether PickSync will seek confirmation before carrying out operations of various kinds that move or change data.
The default options will provide a warning if any file is to be deleted or to be overwritten. You can turn these off, if you are confident that you know what you are doing.
You can also choose to be prompted for any Copy and/or any Move (even if nothing is to be overwritten), and/or if a new folder is to be created.
Mitigation of user error
In spite of all the above precautions, I cannot completely prevent user error. By design, PickSync is a powerful tool for copying and moving data. If you try to overwrite copies of your files, and give any requested confirmations, then PickSync will let you – it can only assume that that is what you intended.
PickSync is of course also dependent on the correct operation of your hardware and of your Windows installation (all copies moves and deletions are performed using functions within Windows).
However, the various features set out above, if used sensibly, mean that in general the worst that can happen as a result of user error is that data will be moved to an unintended location (but not lost), or deleted to the Windows Recycle bin (from which it can be recovered).
I therefore believe that PickSync is as safe with data as a tool of its kind can be. This matters to me – I have used it myself for many years. Nonetheless, because it will generally be impossible after the event to find the cause of any problem, it is still appropriate that a disclaimer in customary form (viz., no warranties whatsoever!) is contained in the licence under which you use it. You use it at your own risk. After all, these are the same terms under which I use it myself.