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I periodically encounter issues with software vendors, or problems with the function of programs. It has always seemed to me that awareness of my experiences may assist others when they are looking at possible purchase. But I have never found any forum where these experiences can be posted. Would a category in this site fill that need?

 

(My current issue was a painful odessey with GoodSync, a heavily promoted product from the makers of RoboForm. It took me a total of 54 asynchronous communications over a period of 3 weeks with a dysfunctional help desk to get the damn thing set up. If Siber Systems knew that this experience was being posted somewhere, it might give them more incentive to fix their documentation and help desk functionality. This would be good for Siber, and good for the potential purchasers.)

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I admit I did consider a number of times throwing in the towel. I persisted 1) because I could not find any other product which did what I wanted to do, (automatically backup my wifes laptop to the external hard drive on my desktop) and 2) after awhile it became a challenge to make the damn thing work.

 

I did write to the head honcho at Siber telling him of the odessey, and my analysis of the roots of the problem.(Inadequate and/or absent documentation and help files, locking in to a single help desk person, who in my case clearly did not speak English as her first language.). He thanked me politely, but made no comment.

 

Final evaluation of GoodSync - it does work as advertised. It is good product. But it is nowhere near as easy to use as they imply, the cheerful promotional video omits an enormous amount of essential detail, and ferreting out this detail is an incredibly painful process, as there are *no* help files, scant documentation, and a hoplessly dysfunctional help desk process involving asynchronous communication with an individual whose English is not always understandable.

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Yep, lots of information. But no useful instruction. Here is what is listed in this document on setting up an automated backup;

 

Each synchronized pair of folders is memorized in a Job.
Job also has a set of options that control various aspects of synchronization process.
Each Job has a name that is requested when Job is created.
When you start GoodSync for the first time, initial nameless job is created for you automatically.
GoodSync memorizes list of Jobs and all their parameters per computer.
Jobs can be created, deleted, renamed, analyzed and synced. All job commands are in the Job menu.

  • To create a new Job, select Job -> New.
  • To switch between Jobs, click Job tab.
  • Analyze, Sync, and Stop button are related to the current Job.
  • To delete a Job, select Job -> Delete.

For GoodSync, backup is a regular synchronization that happens to be one-way. Only changed files and file deletions are propagated to backup folder. This is how you setup a backup:

  • Create an empty backup destination folder. Backup destination folder must not be located on the same disk as source folder. It can be on removable disk (USB disk or portable hard drive) or another computer.
  • Let GoodSync do the first backup by synchronizing backup source folder to backup destination folder.
  • After that, whenever you want to backup, just sync backup source folder to backup destination folder.

You can select multiple folders to backup or sync, starting with GoodSync ver 9.

Multiple folder selection is turned into Filters that enforce copying only the selected folders.
So to understand what the result of your multiple-folder selection is, look into what Sync Folders are and into Options -> Filters.

(Does this last make sense to you? I couldn't make head nor tails of it. I put it down to having been written by somebody whose native language is not English.)

 

OK. Just how does one proceed to set up an automatic backup of folders from my wife's computer to the external hard drive on my desktop? Well, to begin with, one has to set the originating folders in the laptop, in Windows, to Share -> Everyone (No mention of this in documentation, nor exactly how one goes about doing so.) Then one has to be aware that one cannot backup the entire Users folder. (Why? I have no idea. But again, this is undocumented). Furthermore, despite the instructions on backing up multiple files, one cannot back up two different folders in the same job ("because these are two different Shares"). Be nice if you were to tell me this, and that it is easily managed simply by creating multiple jobs, one for each folder. Now let's get down to the actual process of selecting files to be backed up. In truth, after countless hours of noodling around, creating and deleting jobs, I still do not fully understand how to do this. When one clicks on the Browse button, one gets a tree structure from which to choose, but this tree has a whole raft of files which do not appear in the Windows Explorer display. Excluding these files suddenly removes most of the files which one does want to backup. Leaving them in causes the software to throw multiple errors, (ascribed by the Help Desk to my "trying to backup the entire Users folder".) None of this process is documented, and no instructions are given as to just how to do the simplest setup.

 

I will not belabour all the other barriers I encountered. Suffice it to say that the documentation is hopelessly inadequate, and the Help Desk personnel unable to explain what needs to be done. It took 20 email communications (no means of synchronous communication is provided), to get to this point. Getting to the point of a timed backup took a further 34 messages back and forth, and again the issues are undocumented, and the Help Desk are unable to either understand what the problems being experienced by the user are, nor to explain how to fix them. I think that an experenced IT person would probably be able to decipher the instructions, but a reasonably savvy amateur like me will struggle,and an average compute user like my wife would never get through it.

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Actually The information is quite complete and I understand it just fine.

 

http://www.goodsync.com/support/faq#backupdiskc

 

Q: I am getting 'Access Denied (error 5)' error. What to do?
A: The error message "Access Denied (5)" comes from Windows, GoodSync just relays it.
It means that GoodSync cannot write file (or create/delete/read file or folder),
because it is prohibited disk, folder, or file permissions.

(1) If you are writing to Windows share, then do this:

(1a) Share on Windows 7 and Vista (read-only by default!):
Allow authenticated users to make any changes to the share:
- In Windows Explorer right-click folder or disk that you want to share and select 'Share...'.
- Click 'Advanced Sharing' button and agree to proceed.
- Check 'Share this folder' checkbox.
- Click 'Permissions' and in the 'Allow' column click 'Full Control'.

(1b) Share on Windows XP:
Allow authenticated users to make any changes to the share:
- In Windows Explorer right click folder or disk you want to share and select 'Sharing and Security'.
- Click 'Share This Folder' and enter Share Name.
- Click 'Permissions' and in the 'Allow' column click 'Full Control'.

(1c) Share on a NAS device:
Use instructions supplied with this NAS device.
Usually it is done in devices's web-based GUI via browser.

(2) If you are writing to a Windows disk, attached directly to your computer:

(2a) The new and easy answer is: use GoodSync ver 9, it can usually do it automatically.
It runs elevated server that is automatically called to perform file operation that requires elevation.
So Access Denied error will not result and no user interaction (such as in UAC elevation) is required.

(2b) If your permissions are too hard even for elevated GoodSync server, then
You should set permissions so that GoodSync can change files and folders on the server computer:
- Files inherit permissions from their folders and folder inherit permissions from their folders.
- So you need to find the folder that controls permissions of your folder, usually it is the top folder.
- Right click this folder in Windows Explorer and select Properties, go to Security tab.
- Select the group or user for which you want to change permissions.
- If you want to give permission to everyone, then select the Everyone group.
- Check Full Control box in the Allow column, this would allow to do anything with the folder.
- Click OK and agree to change permissions of all files and folders inside.
- If you cannot set permissions from Windows Explorer, you must take ownership of file/folder first.

An easy way to verify that you set permissions correctly is to use Windows Explorer running on the client to modify/rename/delete files served by the server. Once you can modify/delete files using Windows Explorer, GoodSync will be able to do the same. Note that you should be able to do this operation in non-elevated mode, that is, there should be NO shield next to the operation that you do in the context menu. Shield next to the operation means that elevation to super-user mode is required.

Q: What is your recommended way to setup Folder Sharing?
A: Windows Folder sharing is somewhat confusing and Vista made things even more complicated.
We have found one setup that is easy to do, yet you get decent security:
- only users who have account on your server computer will be able to see any shared resources.
- everybody else will be denied access.

This is how to proceed:
* Step 1 for Windows XP:
Ban users who do not have account on server computer:
- Right click 'My Computer' icon on desktop, select 'Manage'.
- Select 'Local Users and Groups' -> 'Users' -> 'Guest'.
- Right click 'Guest' and in 'Properties' check 'Account is disabled'.

* Step 1 for Vista:
Ban users who do not have account on server computer:
- In Start menu right-click 'Computer', select 'Manage'.
- Select 'Local Users and Groups' -> 'Users' -> 'Guest'.
- Right click 'Guest', select 'Properties', in there check 'Account is disabled'.
- Vista Home: Use Control Panel -> User Accounts to disable Guest account, because Manage may be disabled.

* Step 2 for Windows 7 and Vista:
Allow authenticated users to make any changes to the share:
- In Windows Explorer right-click folder or disk that you want to share and select 'Share...'.
- Click 'Advanced Sharing' button and agree to proceed.
- Check 'Share this folder' checkbox.
- Click 'Permissions' and in the 'Allow' column click 'Full Control'.

* Step 2 for Windows XP:
Allow authenticated users to make any changes to the share:
- In Windows Explorer right click folder or disk you want to share and select 'Sharing and Security'.
- Click 'Share This Folder' and enter Share Name.
- Click 'Permissions' and in the 'Allow' column click 'Full Control'.

* Step 3: Add share to GoodSync job:
- Open GoodSync, go to the job that syncs with the server computer.
- Click Browse button on the server (remote) side of the job.
- Drill down to your server and then share on it.
- If server does not appear, Enter your server name into Browse dialog like so: ServerName
- If ServerName does not take, try local IP address (may be dynamic): example: 192.168.1.22
- Enter share's UserID and Password (same as your UserID, Password on the server) into the Browse dialog.
- Click Go to verify visibility of the share and OK to confirm.

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