Answers to General Questions or Problems asked frequently by users
Q: Why are my files copied over and over again ?
I just synced my files with a disk connected over the network. When I sync again, the same files are going to be copied again. What's going on? They shouldn't be copied again - I didn't make any changes.
This problem is due to the modification times of the copied files actually being different after the sync. When the sync is run again, the file modification times really are different - maybe by only a few seconds.
You can see this most easily by clicking on a file pair in the Files to Copy window. At the bottom of the window, you'll see the modification time of the two files, with the time difference shown between them.
This problem occurs on Mac OS X due to a deficiency in the AppleShare Client. The AppleShare Client offsets the file modification time by the difference in time between the two computers. This does not happen when sharing files with Mac OS 9.
Another cause of this problem is that some file servers, notably some Windows servers, store file modification times to a resolution of 2 or more seconds. Macintosh file modification times are stored in seconds; a file modification time that is an odd number of seconds will be reported to the nearest two seconds. The default settings in the sync setup will cause Synchronize! X Plus to copy the file again.
Comparing Files in the Options menu provides a means of compensating for this. Here's how:
1. Use the Options menu to choose Comparing Files.
2. Check the modification time difference is > box.
3. Enter a number of seconds which is slightly larger than the time difference between files which were the same, as shown in the Files To Copy window.
4. Click OK.
If the modification time difference still appears to be different, this time by some number of hours, use the modification time difference is not an exact multiple of one hour setting in the Comparing Files options.
File permission errors occur when OS X decides that the operation attempted is not allowed to the current user. Synchronize! X Plus reports the error, it doesn't generate it.
How file permissions work
File permissions are read only, read and write, write only, or none. Any file or folder can be given these permissions.
File permissions work on three levels - owner, group, and everyone. They are checked in this order. First, the current user is compared against the owner of the file. If they are the same, then access is allowed based on the permissions for that user.
Next, the group of the current user is compared against the group of the file. If these are the same, then access is allowed based on the permissions for that group. If the groups match, it doesn't matter what permissions are allowed or not allowed for "everyone".
Finally, if all other tests fail, permissions for "everyone" are used for access to the file.
Enclosing folders can also affect file permissions
But this isn't the end of the story. The same permissions tests are also performed on every folder that the file is nested within, and if there is a difference, the most restrictive permissions are assigned. This means that a file with "Read and Write" permissions in a folder with "Read only" permissions will be assigned "Read only" permissions!
In order to figure out where the permissions problem exists, you need to check the permissions for the file AND the permissions for all the folders that enclose that file.
An "admin user" does not have unlimited access to remote files
Setting up a user as "allowed to administer the computer" has no effect on the file access that a user has. An "admin user" is *not* allowed to access to any arbitrary file on a remote computer. Rather, that user, just like any other, is allowed access to only those files which match the file permission rules. This is different than Mac OS 9. Many people assume that the behavior of Mac OS 9 carries forward to OS X - it doesn't.
How do the Copy files and Don't copy files options work?
The Copy only files settings are checked for each file first, then the Don't copy files settings are checked. For example, if you set Copy only files to "whose names contain "xxxx" and Don't copy files to "files whose type is TEXT", a text file called "Sync me xxxx" would not be copied.
In the Finder, navigate to the Synchronize! X Plus application.
Control-click on Synchronize! X Plus. Choose Open Package Contents.
Open (double-click) the Contents folder.
Open (double-click) the Shared Support folder.
While holding down the Option key, drag AutoSync to the Applications folder. You can put AutoSync anywhere you like, but Applications is the location AutoSync in normally installed in.
Double-click AutoSync in the Applications folder. This opens it.
Set AutoSync to be opened at login.
1. Use the Apple menu to choose System Preferences.
On Mac OS X 10.4.x (Tiger) through 10.6 (Snow Leopard):
2. Click Accounts.
3. Click the Startup Items or Login Items tab.
4. Click +.
5. Navigate to the AutoSync application and click Add, or press Return.
On Mac OS X 10.7.x (Lion) and later:
2. Click Users and Groups.
3. Click the Login Items tab.
4. Click +.
5. Navigate to the AutoSync application and click Add, or press Return.
When I sync with an iDisk, why does Synchronize! X Plus always want to copy all the files?
Synchronize! X Plus uses the file modification date to determine whether files are the same. Unfortunately, iDisk uses WebDAV to host the files, and WebDAV does not preserve file modification dates. Instead, WebDAV attaches the time of the last write to the file as the "modification date", even when the contents of the file may not have been changed.
When Synchronize! X Plus scan folders while determining what to copy, it finds that the modification date of the files on the iDisk are different, and so it wants to copy the files again.
A solution is to sync with or backup to a "disk image" on the iDisk. A disk image stores the contents of a disk in a single file, but when it's mounted, the disk appears on your desktop.
Here's how to create a disk image:
Open Disk Utility (it's in the "Utilities" folder, inside the "Applications folder).
Click the icon named New Image at the top of the window.
Enter the name you want for the disk. This is the name that will appear for the disk on your desktop.
Choose the size of the disk image. If the "Image Format" is "read/write disk image", the entire disk image will be written as part of the initialialization. If you choose a very large size, it will take a long time to initialize the image. You can shorten the time by setting "Image Format" to "sparse disk image".
Note that you can encrypt the disk image. If the disk image is encrypted, access is not allowed unless a password has been supplied. In the dialog for mounting the disk manually, you can choose to include the password in your computer's keychain so that the disk image can be mounted automatically on your computer.
When the disk image has been created, it will appear as a disk on your desktop.
When the disk is on your desktop, you can copy files to it, and their file modification dates will be preserved.
When you're done with the disk, you should eject it. This closes the file that is used to store the contents of the disk.
To re-mount the disk image, double-click the file. As part of your sync or backup, you can have Synchronize! X Plus open the disk image automatically by choosing it in the "Start Options" under "Before synchronization, open the file".
What issues might I run into when connecting to a Windows Server?
There are a few things to keep in mind.
1. File modification times may be off by one second.
Some Windows servers store file modification times to the nearest 2 seconds, while Macintosh computers store file modification times to the nearest second. When the file modification time on the Macintosh is odd, the file mod time on the Windows server will be even. This will cause Synchronize! X Plus to decide to copy the file again on subsequent syncs, because the mod times are different. You can see this by clicking on a file in the Files To Copy window - the file mod times and file sizes are shown near the bottom of the window.
To fix this problem:
a. Use the Options menu to choose Comparing files.
b. Check the modification time difference is > box.
c. Enter 1 for the number of seconds.
d. Click OK.
This setting will cause Synchronize! X Plus to consider any files whose modification times are different by less than two seconds to be the same.
2. Windows servers don't allow some characters in file names.
An example of this is the carriage return, or 0x13. The carriage return character is part of the name of every folder icon file (the actual name is "Icon\r"), and you will notice an "error renaming a file" when these files are copied.
The solution is to check the icon files box in the Don't copy files options.