Microsoft Releases Free SyncToy 2.1

cloud sync feature resized

Update: Microsoft no longer supports this software and it’s no longer available to download from Microsoft.

Late yesterday, Microsoft released a new version of its Freeware SyncToy utility – version 2.1 (build for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.  Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available for free download.

The latest release includes significant upgrades which should be able to meet all your PC “sync” needs.  I downloaded the tool and had it up and running and syncing a few of my folders in just a few minutes.  It looks like I’ll be needing to re-think my whole Robocopy system backup workflow.

In taking a look at the tool, things are very straightforward.  After install, you will be presented with the option to Create a new Folder Pair.

Microsoft SyncToy Create new Folder Pair Screenshot

Although an SYNC can operate in both directions, all one-way syncs will be done LEFT to RIGHT.  Keep this in mind as you create your Folder Pairs.

Microsoft SyncToy Create new Folder Pair - Choose Left ad Right Folders Screenshot

Once you create your Pair, you will need to decide what type of sync you want to create.

Microsoft SyncToy Choose Sync Type Screenshot

When selected, each of the options Synchronize, Echo, and Contribute will give you a short explanation as shown above, but the Synchronize is a FULL sync between both folders.  Echo will sync all changes from the Left folder to the Right folder (including renames, new files, and deletes) and Contribute is the same as Echo. However, deletes on the Left will not sync to the right.

After you choose a sync type and name your new folder pair, the main menu will return where you can run the sync for the first time or modify additional settings to customize the sync.

Microsoft SyncToy Main Menu Screenshot

Like I said earlier, the new SyncToy interface is simple to use and very intuitive.  I highly recommend this tool to our groovyReaders since it offers several different options for syncing data – both locally and to network shares! Too bad Microsoft didn’t bundle this with their latest OS Windows 7…

For existing SyncToy users, here’s the list of Bug Fixes and Improvements included with SyncToy 2.1

SyncToy2.1 is powered by the latest synchronization engine from Microsoft Sync Framework 2.0 and provides better performance and robustness. The new features and improvements included in SyncToy 2.1 release are:

  • Better Performance: The speed of file copy operations is significantly increased across the board.
  • Improved Robustness: Much more resilient to transient network and file system errors and better error reporting which pin-points which file the sync failed on in case there’s a fatal error that stops the sync.
  • Folder pair configuration backup: Folder pair configuration is automatically backed up under %localappdata%microsoftsynctoy2.0. User can replace SyncToyDirPairs.bin with the backup copy to resolve last saved configuration.
  • Bug Fixes:
    • Fixed the data corruption issue when using SyncToy with NAS drives.
    • Fixed the issue that prevented uploading files to SharePoint when using SyncToy 2.0.
    • Fixed the issue that prevented delete changes from being synchronized when the sync option is set to “Echo”.
    • Fixed the UI issue where reported file time were off by the difference between local time and UTC when destination is a FAT volume.


The major new features and improvements included in previous SyncToy 2.0 release are:

  • Dynamic Drive Letter Assignment: Drive letter reassignment will now be detected and updated in the folder pair definition.
  • True Folder Sync: Folder creates, renames and deletes are now synchronized for all SyncToy actions.
  • Exclusion Filtering Based on Name: File exclusion based on name with exact or fuzzy matching.
  • Filtering Based on File Attributes: The ability to exclude files based on one or more file attributes (Read-Only, System, Hidden).
  • Unattended Folder Pair Execution: Addressed issues related to running scheduled folder pairs while logged off.
  • Folder Pairs With Shared Endpoints: Ability for folder pairs associated with the same or different instances of SyncToy to share end-points.
  • Command line enhancements: Added the ability to manage folder pairs via the command line interface.
  • Re-Architect Sync Engine: The SyncToy engine has been rearchitected to provide scalability and the ability to add significant enhancements in future releases.
  • Sync engine is also more robust insomuch that many single, file level errors are skipped without affecting the entire sync operation.
  • Sync Encrypted Files: Sync of Encrypted files works when local folder and files are encrypted, which addresses the common scenario involving sync between local, encrypted laptop PC folder and remote, unencrypted desktop PC folder.
  • 64-Bit Support: SyncToy now has a native 64-bit build (x64 only) for 64-bit versions of Windows.
  • Folder pair rename
  • Sub-folder Exclusion Enhancements: Descendents created under excluded sub-folders are automatically excluded. Usability improvements for the sub-folder exclusion dialog.
  • Folder Pair Metadata Moved: Folder pair metadata removed from MyDocuments to resolve any issues with server-based folder pair re-direction setup.
  • Setup Improvements: Integrated setup with single self-extracting archive file and no extra downloads if you already have .NET Framework 2.0 installed. Enabled silent install for the SyncToy Installer file (see readme.txt file for more information).


Microsoft SyncToy 2.1 Download Page [via]



  1. Elize36

    Very cool tool, I've been using it for years.

  2. ShockerSH

    I saw this for XP years back but never thought it was worth grabbing. Now however since it looks like you can sync your files with a network drive this would be perfect for backing stuff up. Will be playing with it tonight for sure.

  3. ShockerSH

    Is the network backup a new feature? I assume most ppl just backup to an external usb drive.

  4. MrGroove

    Sent from my mobile

  5. MrGroove

    Elize, how have you used it in the past? I see it as mainly a tool
    for backup but would love to hear about more use cases! Perhaps like
    a local dropbox? Password sync?

    Sent from my mobile

  6. AlexMVP

    I'm happy with GFI Backup. FTP up to my host provider all free :)

  7. albri

    Is there any way one can echo all but exclucding a single folder and subfolders/files

  8. Derrick

    Not that you want a list of alternatives to your suggestions…I’ve used the freeware addition of SyncBack from 2BrightSparks for some time now ( and it does everything I want it to. I can schedule several different backups to run in different intervals when I choose, have it display a report of everything it does, even backup to CD-R. I think it’s worth a look and perhaps some readers might also get some mileage out of it.

    • MrGroove

      I’ll take a look and thanks. Some of my favorite software has come from tips from readers.


  9. Pinkie Maenaga

    Anyway keep up the fine blogs.

  10. Yanozik

    Still no schedule backups built in??

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