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AJC Sync

Simply the best visual directory compare program available.

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Only $29

AJC Active Backup

Revolutionary continuous data protection, instant automatic file backup and archiving in real-time!

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M@rketing Solutions

Automatic Backup using AJC Sync with Windows Scheduler

Not only is AJC Sync extremely versatile for sync'ing directories, but I also use it to automatically backup my PC using the standard Windows Scheduler - I'll show you how......

  • Do you need to compare folders between two PC's on your home network ?
  • Would you like to schedule automated disk to disk backups so you don't have to insert backup media every day?

STOP PRESS: AJC Sync now allows you to easily schedule automatic synchronization with fully integrated support for the Windows scheduler. An easy to use wizard helps you setup your synchronize job to run at the times you define. You no longer have to follow my instructions further down on this page, because this feature is now built-in! However you might find my method of setting up automated backups interesting. I will also leave this page for reference by other people who want to learn how to use the Windows Scheduler.

AJC Sync lets you compare and synchronize two directory structures in a very powerful, yet simple way.

Genuine Customer Testimonial:
"I have used AJC for several years. The features I like the most are the simplicity and ease of use of the product. Once I established the various scenarios I wanted to use, its a point and click process.
I also use to product to backup my home files to a dedicated internal hard drive on my desktop PC. I am an armature photographer and have thousands of pictures on file that I don't want to lose.
I did try other products that I downloaded on a try and buy, but did not find any that are as easy to use as AJC."


I use it every day to automatically backup files on my PC from one hard disk to another, whilst also retaining older versions of the same file in a compact archive. The same method could be used equally well to backup your PC over your home network, or office LAN to another computer. It doesn't really matter, the important thing is to use two seperate physical storage devices as I will explain in a moment. Even USB Memory sticks are becoming a popular alternative.

Just as an aside, if you came to this page looking for Automatic Backup solutions, and are interested in an instant or "real-time" backup solution that monitors your file changes and archives them as soon as you Save them, you might want to take a look at my review of the latest product from AJC Software, called AJC Active Backup. Click here for continuous data protection using instant realtime automatic backup software. You might find it more suitable for your needs.

There are just a few important areas on my PC that hold information that is vital to me, and that I consider are critical to monitor and backup daily. If something goes disastrously wrong I can do a clean install of my operating system and programs, then restore daily use items from my backup area.

In my computer I have two hard disks;

  • My C: drive is a 20Gb disk for the operating system, program files and everyday documents, source code, internet web site pages, and so forth.
  • My F: drive is an 80Gb disk which I use for large files, such as music and videos - and it also holds my automatic backups.

I take the view that it is highly unlikely that both disks will develop a fault at the same time, and so I have set up AJC Sync to run a couple of different Projects to copy these important areas to the second hard disk F: in a new folder called "Backups". If my main C: drive goes bang, well I have my secondary copy on my F:\Backups folder. And if my F: drive goes bang, it doesn't matter because I still have those important files on my C: drive, so I'll just replace the F: drive with a new one and set it up the same way!

Since AJC Sync can accept command-line options to run its Projects I then let the standard Windows Scheduler run a "batch" file to kick-off the sync Projects at 7.30pm every day.

This means I can be lazy and not worry about inserting floppy disks, CD-RW disks or backup tapes every day.

Obviously I do make backups to removable media (I use DVD-R) every couple of months to be safe, but then its simply a case of backing up the whole of the F:\Backups folder to DVD disk in one go.

Easily retrieve old versions of your files!

This method of backing up my important files is an ideal solution for me, the key to which is made possible by the ability of AJC Sync to create an Archive of every file changed which holds different Revisions of all changes made to the files, thereby enabling me to get previous versions (using the free AJC Revision Archive Viewer) in case the following days automatic backup overwrites the file with a mistake.

Let me explain this a bit more. Usually by simply copying from one hard disk to another, if I didn't notice the mistake until a couple of days later, I would have been stuffed and lost the previous version of the file! That's why you normally should make backups to different removable backup media that are rotated on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, so that you can go back to the previous good copy of a file.

However, now that AJC Sync has the ability to automatically and silently make Backup Archives as part of its transfer process, I know I can retrieve an older version of the file if required, effectively making the requirement for using rotated backup media obsolete (apart from the occasional manual backup to CD/DVD).

That's why I don't need to bother with daily backups to external backup media every day.

Screenshot from AJC Revision Archive Viewer

The ability to store different revisions will be a boon in itself to software developers, or document producers, since the AJC Revision Archive Viewer also uses the AJC Visual Diff Tool to show differences between different versions of a file.

Screenshot from AJC Diff V2 Tool

All of these features are easily ready to hand from within the AJC Sync interface. By simply selecting any file in the Explorer, the Synchronize List or the History report, then right-clicking the file and selecting the View Archive action, you can see the previous versions of the file (as shown above), and compare them with the current version to determine what has changed, and then restore the older version if required.


How to set up the Automatic Backups

The following description assumes you have got AJC Sync and are familiar with using it.

Prepare the Archiving feature by starting Sync, then choose Tools > Options, and set the various Archive options as required, the most important being the Default Archive Location, which you should set as your destination backup folder, e.g. F:\Backups. Once this is set it will be the default for any new projects you create.

Next, the main starting point is to set up your AJC Sync project settings to perform the transfer of your required directories and files from your source disk (e.g. C:) to your destination folder (e.g. F:\Backups), and then test that it works as required.

In fact I preferred to create one project per major area to be backed up, but of course this all depends on how you organise your computers work areas. For example I backup My Documents and the majority of its sub-folders using one project, then a second project to backup my C:\Customers Work Area, and a third project to backup my main company related files, C:\Prior IT, and so on. Anyway you will hopefully get the idea. It gives greater flexibility over what is to be backed up, and what synchronization rules can be applied. [Update: In the latest version of AJC Sync you create Sync Pairs, one for each from and to location, which means you can have many pairs setup in one project.]

For example I backup most of the My Documents folder (C:\Documents and Settings\James\My Documents) to F:\Backups\My Documents (create the folder beforehand in readiness).

Note: When creating my Project Settings I chose to exclude the My Music folder because I have several hundred Megabytes of music MP3's which I don't consider necessary to check for changes and backup on a daily basis, because I can generally recreate these from my CD's and I back them up manually to DVD every 3 months or so. You should also consider whether there are certain areas you could exclude to reduce the amount of disk space used on your destination (backup) drive. Remember that excluding folders from the synchronization is done simply by right-clicking the folder and un-checking the Include Dir in Sync List option.

I will not go into great depth on the project settings here, since I have already given an overview tutorial on the previous pages, however there is one particular setting for each Project that you should disable. In the Project Settings screen (press CTRL+O), on the General tab, at the bottom is an option called Ask for confirmation when overwriting a file with an older version. You should un-check this option because otherwise when the automatic backup occurs it might display a query message and wait for you to answer, and at that time you might not be around to provide an answer! When you click OK to accept the project settings a message will be displayed asking that you are sure you don't want to turn this confirmation back on - just click No.

Make sure you Save your project to keep the new settings.

Perform a test run of the project to make sure it backs up all the required folders and files to the backup drive as you expected.


Creating a Batch File for Windows Scheduler to Run

AJC Sync can be operated using command-line options to tell it which projects to run.

[Update: Due to improvements in AJC Sync this whole section has become irrelevant and is much easier to perform without having to setup Batch Files, due to ability to add Sync Pairs into Projects.]

This makes it possible to create a backup "batch file" which can be run automatically by the standard Windows operating system Scheduler, at the required time, and at whatever frequency is required, e.g. run a particular project daily for files that are updated each day, and another project say weekly or monthly for other areas that are less critical.

Remember that AJC Sync only synchronizes files that have changed according to the criteria you specify.

To create the batch file start a simple text editor such as Notepad (not MS Word), then copy-and-paste the following text into it, make any required changes, and name and save the file where you can easily find it,
e.g. in C:\Program Files\AJC Software\AJC Sync
named with a suffix of .BAT, e.g. BACKUP.BAT

echo off
echo Backup of C: to F:
cd "C:\Program Files\AJC Software\AJC Sync"
AJCDirS.exe "C:\Program Files\AJC Software\AJC Sync\MyDocs.DSY" -SyncNow -Exit
AJCDirS.exe "C:\Program Files\AJC Software\AJC Sync\Customer Workarea.DSY" -SyncNow -Exit
AJCDirS.exe "C:\Program Files\AJC Software\AJC Sync\Prior IT.DSY" -SyncNow -Exit

The first line turns off displaying of the commands. Line 2 display the text of what it will do.
Line 3 changes to the default program directory where the Syncprogram lives.
Each of the remaining lines will run a Syncproject (.DSY file), and includes additional options to run the Synchronization immediately (-SyncNow), and when complete exit the program (-Exit).

Simply change these lines to use your project files (wherever you have saved them), and delete any of the lines that are surplus to requirements, then save the file.

Setting up Windows Scheduler to Run the Task

[Update: Due to improvements in AJC Sync this whole section has become irrelevant and is much easier to perform within the program due to its Schedule Backups wizard which adds the relevant entry into Windows Scheduler for you.]

On Windows XP and Windows 2000, the Windows Scheduler can be accessed in the Windows Control Panel, by clicking the Scheduled Tasks icon. Note: On Windows XP and 2000 by default you may not be able to run scheduled tasks unless you have seperate login accounts protected by passwords. You may have to use User Accounts in the Control Panel to set up an account and password for yourself if full login accounts do not yet exist.

Next, click the Add Scheduled Task icon, then when the wizard starts click Next for the first step of the wizard:-

Click the Browse button to find and select the Batch file you created, e.g. C:\Program Files\AJC Software\AJC Sync\BACKUP.BAT, then click Next.

Change the default name derived from the batch file of "BACKUP" to something more meaningful like "Daily Backup". Select the frequency you want to run the task, e.g. Daily, then click Next.

Set the Start Time, and choose when the task should be run. Leave the Start Date as it is. Click Next.

The User Name should be prefilled with the name of the account you are currently logged in as. Enter your account password and confirm it in the boxes provided, then click Next. Note that you must enter the password correctly for the Task to be able to run, and if you change any of the Task's settings in the future you must re-enter the password to confirm the changes are valid.

The Task is configured, tick the box to Open Advanced Properties if you want to check or change any of the settings, then click Finish.

Back on the Scheduled Tasks window you should now see the new task listed as Daily Backup. Right-click it and select Run to test that it runs correctly. You should see Syncstart, run a project, and exit, once for each project that you setup in the Batch file. If all seems correct, leave it until the actual real scheduled time on the next day, and make sure it works as expected then also.


AJC Sync

AJC Sync can be downloaded and used for a fully functional 30 day trial period before purchase, and is very reasonably priced (currently in the region of $29 with bulk discounts available too). Purchasing entitles you to free bug fixes and minor version upgrades, and support by email.

Buy Now or Download Demo

Click to buy AJC Sync

Click to buy AJC Sync


Click to visit AJC Software - Quality shareware software products

Whether you are simply looking for utilities to help in your everyday computer work, or if you are looking for excellent fast-selling high-quality affiliate software to promote, I am 100% certain you will be impressed with the products from AJC Software.

AJC Software provides a growing number of essential shareware products that have been developed with ease of use as a primary consideration, and yet these programs contain a number of professional features and options that set them above many other similar products in the shareware market.

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