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Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive

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Thank-you for your interest in Sync for SkyDrive.  Following all the feedback from version 1, 2 and 6 I’ve finished release 7 (version number 7.0.0.2 in the store)  and submitted to the Windows Store where it will be available here:

 Windows Store - transparent

The tool is not free, but it is at the lowest price point I can make for the Windows Store (from the UK).

The purpose of the tool is very simple, to enable you to synchronise chosen folders from Microsoft SkyDrive to a Windows RT (or Windows 8) device.  While I would like this to be something that happened automatically, the processing time required does not fit into the Microsoft allowed timings for a Windows RT/8 device for battery consumption, so this is still a “user initiated process”.  While Windows 8 has a synchronisation tool for the desktop, Windows RT does not, so here is my offering in this space.

How does it work

The tool scans chosen folders on SkyDrive and the matching folders on your Windows RT device and draws up a list of differences.  You can then choose which of these files to sync across.  The first time this happens, if you have manually copied down files from SkyDrive, then the file with the latest time/date stamp will be seen as the most up to date and the application will sync it for you.  Once the initial sync has taken place the application will match the files and highlight and updates, new files or files deleted.

There is one SkyDrive Restriction to be aware of, while the application can download any file you have on SkyDrive, it can't upload files greater than 100MB.  Should you select a file > 100MB to be uploaded, a warning will be displayed and the files will be de-selected.  It also cannot download files with a .url extension, again due to a limitation put in place by Microsoft.

Warning

This tool will be overwriting files in the process of it’s actions – this is after all what syncing an update does.  While every attempt has been made to ensure that this is not damaging, no responsibility is taken if data is lost through the use of the tool.  Having said that, no-one has reported data loss.  If you think you are experiencing this, please contact me immediately!

Discussion forums

I have opened up 3 forums to enable discussions in a more structured way.  You can find there here:

The first run

You will initially be asked to confirm that you are happy for Sync for SkyDrive to connect to SkyDrive.  If you have any concerns about privacy, please see the privacy statement below, however information flows from your device to SkyDrive and back again, over the internet.  No information is sent to me what so ever, unless you send me a log file via e-mail.

The steps we need to go through are:

1 – Choose the local folder to hold the synchronised files from SkyDrive.  In the screen shot below, once you press OK, you will be presented with the standard Windows RT/8 file picker.  The folder you wish to use needs to already exist, so if you have not created an ideal location, do so in Windows Explorer on the desktop first

A - 1 - 1st Run Folder Selection

2- Complete the options on the first run screen.  This looks like the screen below.

Screenshot (151)-a

This explains that you need to select the folders to always synchronise.  If you choose to use the Sync Now functionality, these are the folders that are sync’d.  You then select the folders to Sync (shown below).  There is then an option to run the catch-up tool.  This will scan all folders for files that have the same name and file size on your local device and SkyDrive and mark them as synchronised.  The reason for this is because every time you download a file from SkyDrive, it gets a new date/time stamp on the file, so it appears to be different.

The second option you can choose is to use the fast scan feature.  This wills scan folders much faster, but will not detect deleted files, or files updated using the SkyDrive web apps.  For many people this is just fine, so turning this option on will always catch updates and new files.  Click Close and you are done with this screen

3 – Click the folder to sync.  By default, only the root folder is selected.  To select single folders, click on them once.  To select a whole folder tree, double click on it.  To collapse a part of a folder tree, right click or tap and hold on a touch device.  The folder will be shown in italic when it has been collapsed.

A - 3 - inital folder chooser  A - 4 - Folder Selection

4 – Click the File View tab on the left hand side to bring up all the files.  By default this will show the root folder.  To see all files in all folders, click the <all folders> folder name at the top of the folder list.

That is it, things are now set up.  The files shown have either only exist on your local device or SkyDrive or have different date/time stamps or file sizes, so are presumed to be different.

To get going quickly, pull down the app bar from the top and select Sync Everything.

Using Sync for SkyDrive

To use the application, click each folder with bolded folder names.  These have updates in them.  You will see the files in that folder that can be synchronised.  To select a file, tap or click it.  To select all items in a group, double tap the group title. To select everything in that folder, swipe or right click at the top or bottom of the screen to bring up the app bar and then pick Select all local (or SkyDrive) files.

You can select files in each folder as the selections are remembered and then once you are ready to sync, simply select the sync option from the top app bar.  The Sync options all display a drop down menu with two options.  The bolded ones will select all files, all local files or all SkyDrive files, irrespective as to whether you have selected them or not and start a sync.  The lighter options will perform the same action, but only on files that you have selected.

sync - 7Sync plus menu

Faster start-up scanning

As mentioned earlier, the start-up scanning time for Sync for SkyDrive can be increased by enabling the fast scan functionality found in the Options menu.  Once turned on, this will impact all start-up scanning.  By default this will perform a full scan of any folder you click into still.

rapif file scanning

Catch up functionality

If you have already downloaded any files from SkyDrive they will report as needing to be synchronised.  This can be a slow experience if you have to copy all these files back to SkyDrive so I’ve re-introduced the catch up functionality that was in the first version. This compares the file sizes of files and if it is identical, will remove the files from the synchronisation list.  There are four options when you press the catch up button, located on the bottom app bar.  This gives you the choice of catching up:

  • all files on the system (the same as the first run experience)
  • all selected files (ones with a tick or check-mark in the top right corner)
  • all files in the current folder (note that if you are in the all folders view, this will impact all files)
  • all selected files in the current folder (same note as above)

catch up

Seeing all the folders, not just ones with updates in them or set to synchronise every time

show all folders One of the features that has been asked for it the ability to see all folders, not just the ones with updates.  This has been made possible now on the bottom app bar.  Under the folder list will be the option to Show all folders or if they are already displayed to Show updated folders.  This means that even if a folder is not set to sync, providing the option to Full scan when viewing folder is set in the options page, a scan of the folder and the ability to sync files is still possible.  This is great when you want to do a one-off sync of a folder.

Sync Now start screen tile

Sync Now Settings tab If you want rapid synchronisation and to be able to start the application and have it simply sync everything, then there is now an option for you on the Settings menu.  Select Add Sync Now Pin to start screen
Enter a name for the new icon and press Pin to Start
Pin Name
The new Sync Now option will now appear on the start screen and when pressed will start the application, complete the scan and perform the sync without any user interaction.
Sync Now Start Screen

File Groups

You can change the default behaviour for any file by dragging it from either the Local or SkyDrive column to the other.  When you do this, the behaviour will change as below:

From Will become
New file Delete the new file (please check the text to ensure you understand whether the file will be deleted on SkyDrive or the local store)
Updated file Restore the file with the earlier date, overwriting the newer file
Delete file Copy the file from the local drive or SkyDrive to replace the file that was deleted in the other location

The screen shot below shows many different file groupings where several of the items above are shown:

Default file groupsnon-default file groups

If you pick a folder with many files in it, greater than 100 in any particular grouping of files, then you will only be shown 100 files due to performance reasons.  If you wish to show all the files, you can drill in by clicking the symbol.  Once you have finished making changes, click the to get back to the list.

Other user interface features

To make navigation easier I’ve included the following features:

  • Double tap a folder name – will select all the items in the folder when in folder selection mode
  • Right tap a folder to collapse it
  • Folders which are in bold have changes in them
  • When a new folder is discovered, it will pick up the synchronisation status of it’s parent, so if it is in a folder that is marked for synchronisation, it will also be marked for synchronisation
  • When in file mode, double clicking a group heading will select / deselect all the items shown under it.  If the list is limited to 100 files, you will need to drill in before you can select all

Settings menu

settings-7

The first settings menu allows you to:

  • Access the options screen below
  • Show mini-tutorial will highlight the key features through a short slide show
  • Add a Sync Now tile to the start menu.  This will start the application, scan all selected folders and immediately start a sync operation
  • Change the location where the files are synchronised to
  • Link to this web page
  • e-mail me suggestions or bug information
  • Show the permissions and the version number of the application
  • See the Privacy and trademark information
options

You can change various items of the program through the settings menu. The items allow you to:

  • Some files have a 1 second time difference.  This can be automatically ignored by Sync for SkyDrive.  By default this option is on and I would recommend leaving it this way
  • Picture file sizes shown on SkyDrive do not accurately show the actual size of the picture.  I’ve reported this to Microsoft, however they do not have a timeframe to change this.  For this reason, if a file is reported as a picture by SkyDrive, Sync for SkyDrive ignores differences if file size.  Without this, you will start to see integrity warnings when copying files
  • You can hide the warning dialog when you are doing a synchronisation if you do not want to see this information by turning off the Warn before overwriting files option
  • You can Enable fast scanning from this page and this is discussed above
  • Enabling Full scan when viewer folder will perform a full scan if fast scanning was enabled or the folder is not normally synchronised.

For performance reasons, there are three other options.  They are:

  • Keep application active while syncing which tells Windows RT/8 not to swap the application out.  Since the application will always perform a scan when starting to ensure the latest information is loaded, this stops it from re-starting your synchronisation process when left due to this.  By default this is on.
  • The option to Drag /drop all selected items will drag all the selected files rather than just the item you are dragging.  If you are doing lots of dragging and dropping of files, select the files and drag when this is on and all selected files will move
  • If you are having problems with the application, select the Enable detail logging option.  This is off by default.  If you turn this on, please contact me for the location of the file and be aware that logging has a performance impact.

Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy is very simple.  The application only shares information between SkyDrive and the application.  No information is shared with me or anyone else by the application.  If you send me a log file, which you can inspect, file names are in the log file, but no actual data.  If you have any concerns, please do not send me a log file, however the only use of this file will be to look for the exceptions.  This file will not be shared with anyone else.


Posted Mon, Mar 25 2013 11:20 PM by David Overton

Comments

Andrew Macaulay wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Wed, Mar 27 2013 5:36 PM

Looks good so far. A couple of minor piece of feedback at this point:

Is there a way to provide some status info as a Live Tile so you can decide whether to do sync?

Can you use a slightly different icon for the Sync Now tile and allow the text on it when the smaller size tile?

David Overton wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Wed, Mar 27 2013 9:06 PM

Andrew,

I'll see what I can do on the icon for sure.

On the "Do I need to do any sync's" I can but try.  As a WinRt developer, I get exactly 1 second every 8 hours to perform background tasks.  I'm not sure SkyDrive will respond in those times, but it is on the list.

Thanks

David

Dave Jewell wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Thu, Mar 28 2013 2:16 AM

Loaded version 7 this morning and now it will not sync. Looks like it's scanning but never finishes. Let it run 30 min but never finished which used to take 12 min. Also the store does not show that I own the product any longer. Please help.

David Overton wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Thu, Mar 28 2013 7:02 AM

Dave,

thanks for the feedback - that is not ideal.  I'm very sorry that you have hit what sounds like a bug on my behalf.  Could you do 2 things.  First contact me at admin@davidoverton.com.  I will give you some instructions on how to grab the log files.  Could you also fire up options, turn on fast scanning and re-run the product. It is possible that in building fast scanning I've somehow upset the non-fast scanning.  I'm very happy to send you a private build to diagnose the issue further.

Thanks

David

Montastic wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Fri, Apr 5 2013 2:22 AM

Hi David,

I've been using new version but I see some issues.

i) I don't see changes I make on my desktop Skydrive folder - I deleted a couple of directories (and they don't show up on my other computers or online) but they keep showing on this app. I see it in the folder list.

ii) I don't know how to select syncing of only certain Skydrive folders. There is an option of selecting Skydrive folder but it doesn't seem to work. I want to sync a folder on Surface to a particular folder in Skydrive. I don't seem to be able to do this.

I really wish the selection of folder/files was easier than this. It just seems very confusing.

Thanks!

Tom Boland wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Sat, Apr 6 2013 3:08 AM

Is there any way to force it to look at the SkyDrive to clear out its cache for deleted files? I deleted 218 files from the SkyDrive and Sync for SkyDrive still thinks those files are there. It creates a list of the 218 files that it always wants to copy and always fails.

I don't know how to tell it NOT to do a Fast Search on  loading the program.

David Overton wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Sat, Apr 6 2013 11:10 AM

Montastic,

Thanks for contacting me.  Happy to delve deeper over e-mail - admin@davidoverton.,com.  On the two issues:

1) a "deep" scan of the parent folder (i.e. a full scan o the folder when fast syncing is turned on) should only show sub-folders that exist on SkyDrive or your local system.  If you are saying that the folder does not exist in either, but still appears, this is definitely a bug.

2) The folder sync structure is 1:1 i.e, the skydrive root folder links to the local root sync folder and all folders match under there.  I can't sync different folders to non-related locations.

Please e-mail me and we will get to the bottom of this.  Whether it is a bug or usability problem, I want to solve this.

Thanks

David

David Overton wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Sat, Apr 6 2013 11:12 AM

Tom,

if you click in a folder, the folder is given a full scan, detecting any deleted items.  If they have previously been fully sync'd between the two systems then the sync function will want to match this.  If they don't exist on either system, then this is a bug.

Please let me know here or via e-mail at admin@davidoverton.com

Damien A wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Tue, Apr 9 2013 12:48 PM

Hi David,

Experiencing the same issue as Tom explained above, deleted folders/files from SkyDrive are not detected.

David Overton wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Wed, Apr 10 2013 11:02 AM

Damien, Tom,

Thanks for the feedback.  Fast scanning does not detect deleted folders.  To turn off fast scanning, go to the settings charm, select options and then scroll down and turn off fast scanning.

I'm improving the features of fast scanning to include some methods around this.  If you e-mail me at admin@davidoverton.com, or use the link in the application settings page to e-mail me, I'd be happy to share a test version with you.

Thanks

David

FRJ wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Tue, Apr 23 2013 2:54 AM

I'm having two issues...

1. The software seems to check/scan my folders 'forever'. I shut the programme down after several hours. Left it so long as recently added several 100's of pictures.

To help resolve this, I've de-installed and re-installed. But eventually end up in the same place.

2. If the above process works, it is now crashing mid process. Have also selected only a few folders, but doesn't seem to make any difference.

Help!

Previously with only minor changes it was fabulous.

Francis

Ryan wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Tue, Apr 23 2013 3:59 PM

Hello,

Is there any way to log out of the currently used SkyDrive account from within this app? I can't seem to find the logout option.

Thanks.

-Ryan

David Overton wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Tue, Apr 23 2013 11:12 PM

FRJ and Ryan,

Can you e-mail at admin@davidoverton.com so I can get some more information from you and debug these.

FRJ, you can try turning off rapid sync to remove the changes in sync if it used to work.

Thanks

David

Renata wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Fri, May 10 2013 12:17 PM

Dear David,

I have the same problem as FRJ on Windows RT. It used to work, tried reinstaling and rapid sync button but no luck. It won't allow me to view / select folders and continues to process 0 files.

Thanks,

Renata

Mario wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Tue, Jun 18 2013 5:15 PM

Dear David,

I'm having some issues when I add a new folder in the sync location on my Surface RT. The app won't find it. How can I fix it?

Thanks in advance,

Mario

Kathryn wrote re: Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive
on Sun, Sep 22 2013 10:22 PM

Hello,

I installed the "try" version and it won't let me give my permission to let the app access my information. I keep pressing "yes", but it just keeps telling me "unable to connect with correct permissions". Any suggestions? Thanks!

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