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Backup

ZSKSoft Synchronizer helps you carry out the backup procedure conveniently. Let us consider the two typical cases:

 

Backing Up Selected Files and Folders

Imagine that you need to create an archive file for a large project; that file should include a great number of files and subfolders that contain other numerous files and subfolders that also contain... Basically, the project is quite large. But you don't need to archive the entire project - you want to exclude some folders, files of certain types, etc. - basically, you want to choose what exactly should be in the archive. There you find out that many archivers, even pretty good ones, offer very poor selection tools. As a rule, they support inclusion/exclusion of files by mask, but should you need to include in the archive some clean-cut folders, you will find out that it's much simpler to write a custom BAT file, from which you will call the archiver program several times adding the folders one by one to the archive. No words are said about viewing in advance what will be included in the archive and what will be left out of it: set a file mask, create the archive, see what you have got, if you see wrong files - modify the mask, create the archive again... That's the 21st century technology, you know.

With ZSync the same operation goes easy. Create a scheme, where one point will be the project folder, and the other point the ZIP archive with the proper name. It runs especially easy from the command line:

zsync.exe MyProject MyProject.zip

Since such ZIP archive does not exist yet, ZSync will initially suggest you to copy the entire project contents to it. Drag the unnecessary files to the "Off" category, files of unnecessary types - to the ".Off" category. Along the course of the process, you will instantly see what is planned to be included in the archive at any given moment. By clicking on another category tab, you can see what will be excluded; files/subfolders that were excluded by accident can be moved back right there. Having made sure that you have selected exactly what's needed, click on the Synchronize button.

If you are going to create similar archives in the future, save this synchronization scheme, then the next time you will not have to configure anything. Just pay attention: if you need to create a new archive and not update an existing one, in the scheme properties under the Settings tab, deselect the Save state option. This way ZSync will remember the "clean" scheme: project folder name, archive name, excluded files and folders. If it also remembers the files' states, here is what will take place: when you want to create a new archive, ZSync, seeing that such archive doesn't exist, will "think" that all the files and folders have been removed from it, so they should be removed from the project as well. There is a special bright blue colored label made for marking the "deleted" state and the "delete" action - should anything wrong be planned (the entire project is in blue - ZSync is going to delete everything in it!) you must be able to see right away and promptly interrupt the process. Simply open the project properties and switch the archive flow from outgoing to incoming - now changes can go only from the project to the archive, and not the other way around. The plan will change right away.

This terrifying example should demonstrate you how important it is to configure the scheme flow promptly. This is a good habit, which will insure you from misunderstandings of such kind. If in this example, before saving, you had set the flow properly but have forgotten to deselect the Save state option, ZSync would have warned you but also would have suggested the proper action plan. Please remember: ZSync is a very powerful tool; if you configure it improperly, it may even become dangerous. To avoid that, be accurate configuring your schemes and don't forget to cast a glance at the synchronization plan, especially before carrying it out for the first and the second times.

 

Regular Project Backup

If you want to have a backup copy of your project constantly - create and configure the scheme as described above and run it on a regular basis. Since the archive file will always be stored in the same place, you may leave the Save state option selected. What concerns starting the program on a regular basis, there are many tools for that - starting with WINDOWS' Task Scheduler and a pile of other programs that can be easily found on the Internet. If you are interested, you can find the program you like, and if you are lazy or busy - simply place the scheme shortcut to Windows' Startup folder (Start/Programs/Startup). This way, when you come to the office, you will immediately see what has changed during yesterday and will set yourself ready for the foregoing achievements; and you will always have a backup copy that has been actual as of not more than one day. Certainly, it is more pleasant psychologically to make a backup copy in the evening, before leaving the office, to be sure that the day worth work result will not get lost. The simplest solution for this is starting the scheme manually before leaving the office. If one day you forget this or are too busy for this (urgent after-hours business, hopefully, pleasant), the morning Startup will trigger. You can configure archiving to two ZIP files at once: one on your computer and the other one on the server - great that ZSync lets you do this easy, by simply adding another point to the scheme. Then, should your computer break by an accident, there will be a backup copy on the server; if the server breaks by an accident - your copy will still survive. Well, the most reliable solution is creating two schemes: one runs the morning backup to two ZIP files from the Startup folder, and the other one runs the evening backup to two ZIP files, which is started manually. It is usually enough to have a morning backup to a single ZIP file on the server.

ZSync allows you to include the special macros to the ZIP file name - <yyyy>, <mm>, and <dd> - to add current year, month, and day to the file name. For instance, if the file name on the point properties appears as MyProject-<yyyy>-<mm>-<dd>.zip, the archive will be called, for instance, MyProject-2004-11-07.zip. Using this feature, you can organize storing the version history; sometimes it happens to be very useful. Just remember, as it has been mentioned already, to properly configure the flows and deselect the Save state option.

 

Notes on Backup File Formats

At the present moment, ZSync can work only with the ZIP format; in the future, support for the other popular formats should be added as well. However, this does not make a serious limitation since ZIP is de-facto a standard and the most popular format; therefore, if you have created a ZIP format backup file, you can be sure enough that you can find an unzipper program for it just about everywhere. On the other hand, current hard drives' capacity is so great that the minor loss of compression compared to the modern formats does not make a somewhat significant issue.

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