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Synchronizing same folders where one side was renamed.

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  • Synchronizing same folders where one side was renamed.

    Hi. -Obligatory apology for potential repost...- I've looked and I cannot find this topic, covered already.

    I have two backup drives where I keep backup copies of all of my photos. I use BC regularly to sync new changes to these drives and it works very well. I love it!

    My problem is that I had the bright idea to go through my source photos (3rd drive) and rename some of the folders containing significant events.

    Comparison now looks like this:

    So, while both sides are still the same, excepting the folder names, BC doesn't think so. Is there a simple way to give it hints or have it do the renaming on the right side to match the left? If not, does anybody else know of a tool that will?

    I understand that I could just tell BC to synchronize it but it wants to delete the existing files (already on the right side) and then copy them back with the modified folders. This is way more I/O than I want to put the drives through and I have around 74k (363 GB) files so the sync would take FOREVER! And that's per drive. Remember, I have 2 backups.

    I would sincerely appreciate any help with this. Thanks a ton!

  • #2

    You could use our BC3 Pro feature, Alignment Overrides, in the Folder Compare's Session menu -> Session Settings, Misc tab. Create a new alignment. Since direction is important, please be sure your longer (titled) names are on the left, then define this Regular Expression:

    x Regular Expression enabled

    If you are currently running Std edition, you can follow this KB article to test this feature:
    Aaron P Scooter Software


    • #3
      Thanks, Aaron! I've upgraded to a Pro license and my compare now looks like this:

      The problem is that now when I try to sync the right side, either using "Update Right" or "Mirror to Right" both options result in "Nothing to do!" prompt.

      Is there a way to get it to rename the folders on the right for me?

      Unrelated question: Is there a way to make BC run as admin when using context menu options?


      • #4

        Sorry, the Alignment Override is designed to mark the folder/file names as an equal pair, and the Sync command is not designed to copy just the file name from one side to the other. The goal of the Alignment Override is to align items to determine if they really are equal or if there is a difference and sync items within the folders. This would allow to keep your directories up to date, but does not rename the folders in the destination; that would have to be done manually (or by syncing the entire folder). It also lets you verify if a folder could be deleted and replaced without issue: in the above screenshot 2011.04.23 appears to have orphan (unique) data on the right side that you may want to verify if you were going to delete the entire folder and replace it with the left folder.

        Adding the ability to then 'touch' the file/folder names and copy them from one side to the other is on our Customer Wishlist, but is not a currently supported feature.

        For the second question, yes: if you go to the Program Files\Beyond Compare 3\ folder, right click and select Properties on Bcompare.exe. Go to the Compatibility tab and mark to Run as Administrator. You should now see UAC prompts whenever you run BC3 (from the context menu or otherwise).
        Aaron P Scooter Software


        • #5
          Disappointed... I'm still going to have to do this manually. Perhaps I'll try to write a Perl script or something. Thanks for the help, I guess...


          • #6
            Although BC3 can't help you (yet), this feature is available in FreeFileSync since v5 (currently v5.2). I use both these programs regularly, BC3 for detailed comparison and for interactive syncing, and FFS for automatic syncing. They each bring different strengths to the task, and they compliment each other well.
            FreeFileSync since v5 can recognise moved/renamed files and instead of deleting old and copying new will just move/rename the target - much faster. You do have to have previously sync'ed the location so it has a db of original files to see what has moved, so won't help you this time, but very handy for any future renaming you do.
            FFS is available at

            Edit: Having come to BC3 from WinMerge for its powerful file comparison capabilities, I hadn't explored (or even realised) there was a separate sync function to the folder compare. I will have to investigate a bit further, but I suspect as soon as BC3 incorporates move and rename I will be using BC3 only. Will just have to convince a few others to cough up the money to buy it too (I currently build the FFS batch sync's for a group of us).
            Last edited by Dougal; 17-Apr-2012, 12:23 AM. Reason: Uninformed position when posting :)


            • #7
              Thanks, Dougal! I'll take a look at FFS. I appreciate the recommendation. I've finished manually syncing them now but I'm sure I'll rename more folders down the line so something that can accomplish this will be nice.

              I also used to use WinMerge. Still do, at work, as I only have a personal license for BC3. BC3 was so much better, I coughed up the dough for it, but good to know about alternatives. Especially free ones. Thanks, again!


              • #8
                If your work allows it, a BC3 personal license does allow you to install BC3 on multiple computers (as long as you are the only user of the software).

                License Key: Per-User License Key section.
                Aaron P Scooter Software


                • #9
                  BC is fenomenal tool for comparison. I use it also for sync. It is very painful to know that it can't detect renamed folder. E.g. i have 1.5 TB of pictures on original drive synced witj my external backup drive. I rename a folder on original drive and BC wants to delete all of 1.5 TB on my backup drive and copy again 1.5 TB to external drive, instead of simple and fast rename.
                  It's a shame, so I decided to help BC to become better, and just because of that I registered to this forum.

                  "Folder renamed" and "Folder moved" detection algorithm:
                  - Folder with that name exists just on one side
                  - On the other side there is a folder with different name, but with all files and subfolders exactly the same
                  - automatically detect a rename, but give a user the per-folder choice to configure is it really a rename or not
                  - first execute renames, and after all renames are done, proceed with usual compare and sync algorithm


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the suggestion. This is actually a fairly large project to properly implement, and it is something on our Customer Wishlist to detect and handle. We won't be able to get to it soon, but it is something we are aware of. Thanks for the feedback.
                    Aaron P Scooter Software


                    • #11

                      I spent some weeks to trial various sync tools, and discovered FSS on my own, before reading this thread here. I'd like to say that FreeSurfer is perfectly right in my opinion, up to the implementation details, which appear perfect to me, especially in view of the fact that they do NOT suppose the existence of a database.

                      I now know virtually all of the tools available, even exotic ones, and I've read a lot of things concerning BC in this respect. All people are unanimous, everywhere in the web: BC is absolutely great (and in my opinion, the graphical representation of folder compare within BC is the best on the market), BUT your stance of "people could write a script of their own" in order to use BC for automated / half-automated synching" is unacceptable (since most people ain't able to do it, knowledge-wise or time-wise), and does HARM your business.

                      At the end of the day, file compare is mostly for developers, almost all of which probably own BC, since it's so incredibly powerful (even if I systematically bum my head at its limitations, without even trying to do so)... but the REAL market is with synching... even me acknowledging that more and more synch jobs being done cloud-wise, I would predict, though, that BC, with a little (optional) automatism, could get a very nice market share of the sync tools market...

                      Especially considering that with the graphical representation (and going with it, the real comparing job), you already did 3/4 or more of the work needed ; a little bit scripting of YOUR side, and implementation of it in order for customers to have easy access to it, would not be that difficult, it seems to me, but greatly enhance your customer base.

                      And even for the renamed "folders / files" detection, that wouldn't be too difficult, it seems, the way I imagined it, and the very way FreeSurfer, preceding my hint, has stated it, with half-automation, i.e. dialog boxes in the kind of folders "c:\path\x seems to be to 90/100/50... [i.e. depending on the percentage of "different" files] p.c. (!) identical to "d:\path\y - did you rename/move it? Yes/No", with "Yes" triggering automatic renaming/moving of the corresponding structure within the target.

                      Technically, btw, it does NOT seem to be that difficult, please refer to this FSS thread which gives highly interesting details :


                      As a conclusion to my various trials, I must say I'm VERY disappointed by the commercial offerings, especially ViceVersa Pro is 60 dollars, PLUS a 25 dollars trigger tool which should be included, and NOT having any rename / move detection, in spite (!) of maintaining a db (which is incredible)!

                      The same goes for the 55 dollars SyncBack Pro, which is a rather minor offering, in spite of a lot of (sham?) raves not justified in any way in my opinion; it seems to have a unique feature, back-up of mail accounts, but then, it does NOT retrieve mails out of folders within Pop3 accounts (which would have been a really exceptional thing indeed), but for IMAP accounts, you can do the same with lots of freeware, no 60 dollars needed for that.

                      In both cases, the 35 dollar versions are heavily crippled - so much that there isn't any interest in buyint them, as I see it.

                      Not any of the 20 to 40 dollar offerings are worth the effort, considering there's FSS, for free, and just imagine the versioning features of the 60 dollar programs, doing thousands (or more) of unnecessary file replicates, just because they don't "see" the archived "originals" have just been renamed / moved within your source structure : for 60 dollars, they create total chaos (let alone for disk space, let alone for delta inability (cf. monster db's like the Outlook one).

                      In fact, and in my several-months' experience now, versioning is good for special folders (with their sub-folders), for "active" files (i.e. your "own" files you work on), but isn't that helpful for myriads of external reference files of various sources (and where the problem lies not in working on them, but precisely in renaming and moving them), hence the need for two different archiving strategies, archiving of "active" files, frequent and with versioning, of reference material, infrequent and without versioning, and perhaps, applied to the second group of files, an infrequent "total snapshot" as intermediate archives "in case of".

                      So what do I do, in practice? For my active files, it's frequent use of FSS, and for "the grand total", it's ViceVersa FREE, since I like its graphical representation of comparing the whole stuff second-best (after BC, but where any half-automatic proceeding is missing for the time being), and then, I do manual renames / moves of renamed / moved folders / files, running the VV Free Compare window again and again, up to the point where I leave it to VV to do the remaining, automatic, "real" synch job.

                      This way, I have a good, quick look at renames / moves of thousands of items, instead of having it all done automatically and "behind my back", but I'd like to have better (half-) automatic processing indeed, as stated above.

                      For people wanting to buy such sw, I recommend "Super Flexible", but for me, I prefer my current scenario described above (VV Free being 1.05, vs. VV Pro being in version 2.5, I can't see any real difference for me there (and in VV's update politics, there is no clemency either, cf. their forum on this subject), whilst the free version of SyncBack, e.g., is potentially dangerous (no UTF-8)

                      - but I would very much like to have some more functionality within BC, and happy to discard both FSS and VVF for doing my work within BC.

                      And I'm sure most current BC users would happily agree, with many newcomers buying BC for that very principal use, file comparison coming as a nice good-to-have-also for them.

                      Most of the necessary work implied seems to be done already, so...

                      EDIT : Some more info (and links) here :


                      EDIT 2 :
                      I didn't bother to add a list of numerous sw's I didn't consider anyway but having trialled GoodSync 8, I now read brand-new GoodSync 9 is out, with the following new features, delta-copying AND folder / file rename ( / move) detection (and correct processing then ; whilst e.g. SyncBack only has got file (i.e. not the much more important folder) renaming detection, and in most obscure settings, only available for some kind of jobs). The only - persisting - problem with GS thus is price, since I'm certainly not going to shed out 30 bucks PER COMP (! (see their license)). (BTW, SuperFlexible (Prof. 60 $ plus VAT, and yes, they also have crippleware at... 35$- ain't there any laws against this?) is in 6 beta now, under the name of Syncovery - which doesn't change anything to its GUI (problems).)

                      So, GS and SF/Sy seem to be the "serious" commercial offerings of the moment (VV being very special (and likeable in my opinion) in its GUI, but far too greedy, and not good enough in the absence of both delta and correct renames/moves processing).
                      Last edited by purchase; 08-Jun-2012, 08:48 AM.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the feedback. It's still a larger project than it looks like, but I'll be sure to add your notes, suggestions, and examples to our Customer Wishlist entry. Our solution is not to make our customers perform scripting, but it is the best workaround we can offer at this time.
                        Aaron P Scooter Software


                        • #13
                          <<'touch' the file/folder names and copy them from one side to the other is on our Customer Wishlist, but is not a currently supported feature.>>

                          Another BC v3 owner is waiting for this feature in the wish list to be implemented soon... = )
                          Thank you.


                          • #14
                            Thank you, Aaron, for considering these. I know cloud solutions are taking a big share of the global synch market, but BC takes too tiny a share from that same market, as for now.

                            I gave up on every other program for synching but for ViceVersa Free - the clarity of its compare window is so outstanding that I don't touch anything else for this anymore (and as for "versioning", here and then, I do a manual backup of the archive: not good, but better than nothing).

                            The reason why I don't buy VV Prof: It's not the price (60 dollars), it's not the update pricing (high), it's not the absence of delta copying (my Outlook db isn't that big yet), it's an answer from the developers in May of this year, to a paying user of the program: They said, with respect to "smart" processing of folder renaming / shifting (= for the time being, VV considers all these files then as "new" and the files that are very well there, in renamed / shifted folders, as "deleted = to be deleted in the archive"), that they didn't know how to do it, whilst other contenders (of which I mentioned three here) of course do it, and some have been doing it for years.

                            Thus, when the developers of the most expensive of the "normal" (non-corporate) synch tools pretend, in May 2012, to not know how to process renamed / shifted folders in any intelligent way, instead of having introduced such a functionality years ago (or at least working on such a functionality), I'm not buying.

                            And so, my hopes for this go with BC - and of course, that would be a major upgrade, and many users would be happy to upgrade - or even, make it three versions instead of just two; normally, I'm agains such splitting up (see xplorer2 and their new "Ultimate" version: it's a shame), but for such a very special add-on, it would perhaps be justified - on the other hand, many BC users would only update but not upgrade then since they use lesser synch tools and would continue to do so if BC would do it only in an "Ultimate" or whatever version. And then, my idea was, the normal prof. BC version, WITH such a function, would get many NEW customers... ;-)


                            • #15
                              <<'touch' the file/folder names and copy them from one side to the other is on our Customer Wishlist, but is not a currently supported feature.>>

                              ANY NEWS 16 months LATER, PLEASE? Any plans? Or just have to use ANOTHER sofware for that? =(