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If you want to sync entire folders worth of content on a regular basis, but aren’t interested in Dropbox or similar clients, you really should check out Grsync. This hands-on piece of software works on almost any computer and can do almost anything. It can also do a lot more than simply sync your files.
Grsync Is Cross-Platform
Are you using Linux? Installing Grsync should be easy, then. Just find the package “grsync” in your package manager. Users of Ubuntu (and Ubuntu’s many versions) can simply click here to install grsync.
But this program isn’t just for Linux users. There are downloads for Mac and Windows as well.
Note that both of these ports are unofficial, meaning they are done by different developers than the original Grsync. Both feature a similar interface to the Linux version, however, as seen above.
Grsync Includes Many Features
We briefly explained how to use Grsync before, but it’s worth getting into a bit more detail. This program can do a lot. Let’s take a look at the main interface.
Source and destination explain themselves – the source is where your files come from and the destination is where they will end up.
The first checkbox, “Preserve Time“, can be a big deal. As you may know, your computer keeps track of when a file is created or edited. Frequently, when you’re backing up data, this time is replaced with the time of your backup; not very useful. Click this box to keep all times accurate. You can also keep the permissions identical to before, which is very useful for security purposes. The “Owner” and “Group” also pertain to permissions, if you didn’t know.
Do you want the files in your source to completely overwrite the destination? Check “Delete on Destination“.
“Windows Compatibility” is somewhat misnamed but very important if you’re syncing to a FAT32 drive; check this box to ensure no file names are too long for FAT32 drives to handle.
But Wait, There’s More
There’s more to discover here, of course, but how interested you are will depend on how geeky you are. Don’t check anything you don’t understand.
Keeping symlinks working is important if you’ve created any, so that’s good to have around. Running a checksum is a good way to ensure the data is accurately transferred.
Are you editing files you don’t have permission for? Be sure to check “Run as superuser” to ensure everything will transfer properly. You can also execute commands before and after the sync is completed.
Want to discover what the other checkboxes do? Hover your mouse over them for a pop-up explanation.
I’m always happy when I find a program as useful as Grsync, and I hope you guys enjoy it too. Let me know if this guide is useful to you, and feel free to fill me in with any other tips.