Frequently asked questions about Create Synchronicity

Daily use

Should I use the setup, or the zip file?

If you want a portable application, then you should go from the zip file. Otherwise, using the setup is very easy, and requires no particular knowledge.

How can I create a new profile?

To create a new profile, click the "new profile" icon, and input the name of the profile you'd like to create.

Should I change the advanced options?

The default values for the advanced options are normally perfectly suited for regular use, and therefore should need no changing.

How do I change Create Synchronicity to my language?

There is a languages list in the about/settings menu (blue link in the top-right corner of the main window).

How can I rename a profile?

Right-click a profile to rename it. Alternatively, you can press F2 while it is selected.


I get an error message when running the installer...

Depending on your version of Windows, you may need admin rights to install Create Synchronicity using the installer. If you do not have such rights, simply use the zip file.

The program just won't run!

You need the .Net Framework, at least version 2.0, to run Create Synchronicity. It is pre-installed in Windows Vista, and Windows, but some version of Windows XP don't have it.
Some users have reported problems when only version 4.0 of the Framework was installed, in particular messages such as "Unable to find a version of the runtime to run this application".
Should this problem happen to you, you'll need to specifically install the .Net Framework, version 2.0 (Windows Update suggests an incorrect download). Sorry for the trouble, and thanks to users for reporting this.

The installer fails when updating to a newer version

Please make sure that no instance of Create Synchronicity is running, including any scheduled one. Look for a tiny, double-arrowed icon in your task bar (Create Synchronicity icon (16x16))

How do I submit a bug report?

There's a dedicated page for that :)

Create Synchronicity won't manage to check for updates.

This problem usually happens when you haven't selected a default internet browser.

I get a "path too long" exception

The actual error reads:

The specified path, file name, or both are too long. The fully qualified file name must be less than 260 characters, and the directory name must be less than 248 characters.

Windows does not support paths longer than 260 characters1, but backing up your data involves creating a file with a path longer than 260 chars. The problem (usually) is with the destination. For example, if you backup C: to D:\My Backup Folder, then C:\My\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Long\Path\To\File.txt, which is a valid file (252 characters long), has to go to D:\My\Backup\Folder\My\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Very\Long\Path\To\File.txt, which is not valid (269 characters long).

1There is a way to bypass the path length check when calling the relevant system APIs (using the \\?\... path format), but bypassing these checks is unsuitable for a number of reasons: First, Windows doesn't handle long paths correctly (which, incidentally, is partly why some system paths were shortened Windows Vista (s/Documents And Settings/Users/). Second, Windows Explorer cannot create, delete, or move any file which path is longer than 260 characters (try it!). Third, the \\?\... hack disables a number of security and sanity checks on file paths, letting you create files with names containing forbidden characters (e.g. \), thus introducing security risks. For more info, see this discussion on the tracker.

Final note: Some other synchronization applications indeed implement the mechanisms to bypass the system-enforced checks. This threatens the integrity and reliability of your backups, and is hence not wanted in Create Synchronicity.

Scanning isn't as fast as I'd like!

Check your anti-virus: it might be monitoring disk accesses, and hindering Create Synchronicity. Also, if you are syncing to your local network, check its latency. Switching to Gigabit ethernet or Wifi/n might help.

Typical scanning speeds range from 500 to 5000 files/s on a local drive, and 20 to 100 files/s on a NAS.

Two-way mirrors

Many users have suggested that a two-ways mirror function would be a great addition to Create Synchronicity. It would probably be, but there are extra factors to be considered:

I must say I feel quite uncomfortable about two-way mirrors.

Indeed, Create Synchronicity was created and designed in the aim of building a rock-solid syncing application. When writing this application, my main concern has been to ensure maximum security. In this aim, I have put a set of preventive measures in place to avoid accidental deletions, which include the facts that the deletion-related functions are never called on the source side.

Implementing a two-ways mirror function would require violating this design principle. It would imply modifying critical parts of the application, which is of course feasible, but would introduce lots of risks. And after all, keeping backups, as well as syncing, is about providing you with security and ease-of-use.

I had a very painful experience myself with a two-ways mirror once, which basically deleted half of my files; hence my reluctance to implement a function which could potentially delete unsaved files.

Essentially, the way Create Synchronicity has been created is to avoid this, and the two-ways sync feature is thus unlikely to make it in Create Synchronicity; sorry!

Can I email error logs to myself?

Starting in version 6.0, yes, with a little extra work. From the current build page, download the Scripts package, and unzip it to your installation directory. This will create a scripts directory, containing a mail.bat file which you will assist you in setting up your email alerts. Just double-click it to get started.

For the record, user BigEdDude suggested a nice workaround for those who use Windows Task Scheduler instead of Create Synchronicity native scheduler:

There is a free program out there called SendEmail.exe for windows that allows you to create a command line batch job to send an email to yourself (or anyone else) and you can attach the log file to that email. I added this batch file as the second action to the task scheduler after my backup action. The backup runs and then the log is emailed to me.

Personal note: You can also use a post-sync script directly from Create Synchronicity. Also, instead of sending full logs, you can use errors-only logs.

Further questions

How do I ask for new features?

Add a feature request to the tracker.

How can I know where my configuration settings are stored?

The default behaviour is to store configuration files in your installation folder (usually C:\Program Files\Create Software\Create Synchronicity).

However, if Create Synchronicity cannot write to the installation folder, it will try to store settings in your Application Data directory (C:\Documents and Settings\[UserName]\Local Settings\Application Data\Create Software\Create Synchronicity\ in Windows XP, C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Roaming\Create Software\Create Synchronicity\ in Windows Vista/Seven)

Finally, if conflicts arise, Create Synchronicity will give priority to the installation folder over your Application Data folder.

How can I contribute to this project?

There are many ways to contribute to this project.

I'm a system administrator or a power user. Anything I should know?

Yes. If you want extremely fine-grained control over which folders get mirrored or not, you may need to read these explanations.

When mirroring a folder, the folders included for cleanup deletions are all the right folders. This means that if you have the following tree:

o A (contains f1.abc, f2.def, f3.ghi)
   x B
   x C
   x D
   o E

where A and E are unchecked, while B, C, D are checked, you will end up, regardless of the original situation, with

A (containing no files)

on the right side.

The folder labeled E will be deleted on the right side: having unchecked A only means that you do not want its files to be synced.

If you however wish E to NOT be deleted, then you must manually specify it by editing the configuration file, located either in the installation directory, or in your local settings folder (see previous question):

  • Find the "Destination folders to be synchronized:" line.
  • There, add all the folders where Create Synchronicity should search for potential files to remove, optionally followed by a * to include subfolders. In the previous example, if you want folder E to not be deleted, but but not otherwise change the syncing behaviour, you would input the following: ;\B*;\C*;\D*
  • Note the preceding semi-colon ;, indicating the empty entry, indicating that the root folder is to be synced too.
  • An easy way to achieve this behaviour is to copy-paste the Source folders to be synchronized: list, prefixing it with a semi-colon.

How do I keep posted about updates?

There are two read-only mailing lists for Create Synchronicity: synchronicity-updates, announcing major updates, and synchronicity-commits, listing commits.

Who can I write to?

You can write to me directly at createsoftware@users.sourceforge.net. Should you encounter problems with this address, use createsoftware.proxy at gmail.com.

Further questions

What is meant with "File hashing, various comparison options"? I was hoping for something like Delta-block copying, using locally stored Hashes to compare and copy only changed parts of files.

Create Synchronicity doesn't have delta-block copying. The comparison options are loose file timing and DST adjustment; file hashing is meant for people who want to avoid copying a file without making sure that it has indeed been updated, without using file dates.

You may post a feature request regarding this feature on the sourceforge tracker, but I doubt it will eventually be implemented, since it would require keeping additional information on each files, and would significantly slow down the scanning process. Plus, it would require writing data to the left folder, which is not really wanted in Create Synchronicity.

Copyright (c) Create (Clément Pit--Claudel) 2012
Tags: backup, archiving, data, synchronization, synchronicity, open source
I have a blog, code crumbs. Also of interest: YiXue Chinese Dictionary, a Chinese Dictionary for Windows Phone.