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Time Machine backups can help you recover from disasters that would otherwise mean lost time and data. But sometimes just archiving your Mac’s files isn’t enough -- that’s where applications like Folders Synchronizer come in. While it delivers much more flexibility than OS X’s stock backup options, it lacks the polish of other less-expensive programs.
Folders Synchronizer is designed around rolling your own custom data transfers (called “sessions”) to suit your needs. Just pick a source and destination drive to begin. Sessions can be backups, where changes move one-way from source to destination, or syncs, where changes are mirrored in either direction. Either session type can be archival (never deleting files) or exact (deleting data as necessary).
Custom backup settings are edited in a sidebar and available in a pull-down menu.
After deciding on these basics, Folders Synchronizer offers many more options. Sessions can exclude or include certain files, sync on recurring schedules, run AppleScripts before or after sessions, and more. Other handy options include batch-copying multiple files and folders with a click, moving files to the Trash instead of deleting them, and automatically organizing backups into subfolders. You can also make bootable copies of your Mac’s hard drive, although this requires you to log in as root, or relaunch the application with root privileges through a preference setting. Either way, it’s clunkier than the cloning in rival backup app SuperDuper, which costs $10 less.
There are other rough edges as well. Two default sync and backup sessions are included, but we would have liked more preset options to choose from, especially for basic tasks like cloning drives. Designing sessions from scratch requires skipping among multiple panes to edit settings. Worse, the hard-to-follow instruction manual makes understanding those settings too difficult for new users. With a little patience, more advanced users can work out what to do easily enough -- but you shouldn’t have to.
The bottom line. If you’re looking to move beyond Time Machine, Folders Synchronizer’s numerous options could be your go-to backup solution—but SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner deliver more bang for your backup buck.
Mac OS 10.5 or later
Wide range of options to build custom backups and syncs. Makes bootable clones of your Mac’s HD.
Hard-to-follow instructions. Skimpy preset backup options.