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Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
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Screenshot (32)It has taken a while to get there, however this project is now complete.  I’ve managed to write a tool that keeps my SkyDrive and my Windows RT slate in sync.

I’m now going through the process to publish this in the Windows Store for all to use and enjoy.

[updated 8th Feb 2013]
I've received a lot of feedback about the colours, gradient fills, rounded corners etc.  I am working on a minor update that will change the colours and then a major update that completely change the layout, work on a folder by folder basis.

[updated 12th Feb 2013]

To see what the next version will look like and the feature changes, please look at my change log post.

[updated 25th Feb 2013]

The next version has finally been submitted to Microsoft.  Details can be found here.

What does the tool do?

The tool scans a chosen set of folders on your hard disk and compares these to a corresponding set on SkyDrive.  It then notes any where the file date or size is different, or where they only exist on one system (either as an updated file on your local storage or SkyDrive).  It then presents these in a list which you can either choose to Sync up.

How long the sync takes depends on how much data you have and the speed of your network, however to boost performance the system kicks of several copies at once to maximise your bandwidth.

As scanning SkyDrive is a slow process, a local two sync file will be placed on your local storage to speed up the sync and Simple SkyDrive Sync will use these to improve performance as best as it can.

As the whole process will take some time, there is an option in Simple SkyDrive Sync to keep the screen active.  This will stop your Windows 8 or Windows RT device from going to sleep or suspending the application.  If the application is suspended, it will need to start the process again as the file information will be out of date.

Privacy information

Since I have no need of data about you, the system only communicated with SkyDrive from Microsoft and therefore I will collect no information from you.  Should the system crash, Microsoft will share any logs, however these will not have any of your data or information within them.

User Interface explained

The application has two columns of files, representing those on your local storage, in green and SkyDrive in blue.  If a file exists in both locations then it will be placed into the column where it has the later file date.  Files can be moved between the columns by selecting them and then dragging and dropping them.

Control of Simple SkyDrive Sync is via the application bar which can be shown by either right clicking near the top and bottom of the screen or swiping down from the top or up from the bottom.

List Controls

List Controls List Controls - SkyDrive

The list controls are at the bottom of the screen and are shown above.  The first four controls allow you to select all the files in the column, only those that exist locally, only those that exist on both SkyDrive and your local storage or clear any selections already made.

The last control enables you to tell Simple SkyDrive Sync that even though the dates are different, these files should be considered the same.  This information is saved and used when you next load Simple SkyDrive Sync.  This tools is particularly useful if you have been making a manual copy of the files between your computer and SkyDrive as the file dates will be different, even though the file sizes will be the same.

You will notice that the buttons appear twice.  They correspond to the column they are under, so either the local or SkyDrive files.

Sync control

Sync Controls

There are three sync option, to synchronise all selected files, the first option, only those selected in the left, local storage, column or to only those in the right, SkyDrive column.  To Sync means to copy the files from the current location to the other. 

As SkyDrive and Windows Store Applications do not allow for the changing of file dates, the uploaded and downloaded files will not have the same date.  Simple SkyDrive Sync uses the same technique as the “Fix date for similar files” to hide these files from you in the future.  SkyDrive has a known issue where image files may have the wrong file size showing compared to the downloaded file size, so if the file is a photo as classified by SkyDrive, these will also be hidden if the name is the same and they are in the same folder.

During Sync

Screenshot (34)You will notice that the files that are going to be synchronised go green and the a brighter green as they are actively being transferred.  Status information is shown at the bottom of the screen and a progress bar above each column indicating how many files have been moved.

 

 

 

Settings Panel

SettingsThe settings also have a number of options, including e-mailing me for support or with suggestions and to tweak some of the system features.  I’ll let you enjoy the discovery process with those yourself, however you should not need them much

 

 

 

 

 

 

First run experience (it will be slow)

The first experience will require a full scan of SkyDrive and your local storage.  Before this can take place you will need to choose a folder where the files will be stored and accept the permission request for Simple SkyDrive Sync to access and update SkyDrive.

Once this is done an initial scan will take place, but be warned, the first scan is slow.  On a fast desktop, after this initial scan the software will complete the scans and information load in very short time.  When I run this on my Windows Surface device, it takes 15 minutes to scan my 10GB of files on SkyDrive and become useful (after the first run).

To get things moving, I recommend that you install this and get it to scan your system – allowing it to run until you have the two columns (green for your local drive and blue for SkyDrive.  All files with the same date, time and size are automatically removed. 

 

scanning

You now have two lists of files that are either only on your local disk or SkyDrive.  If the file is Yellow, then this only exists on one system, if white, this exists on both, however there are differences.  I would recommend that you carry out the following actions:

  • Select all files in the local store (green) column that exist on SkyDrive too using the “Select local files on SkyDrive & locally” button.  These files are in this column as they have the latest date.  Now, select “Fix dates for similar files” and all those with the same file size will be removed from view and be presumed to be the same.
  • Select all files in the SkyDrive (blue) column that exist on SkyDrive too using the “Select local files on SkyDrive & locally” button.  These files are in this column as they have the latest date.  Now, select “Fix dates for similar files” and all those with the same file size will be removed from view and be presumed to be the same.
  • Select all the files that are only stored on your local store using the “Select files only on local drive” button
  • Select all the files that are only stored on SkyDrive using the “Select SkyDrive files only” button
  • From the top bar, select “Sync”.  This will now start the file transfer process between SkyDrive and your local computer.  This will take some time if you have many files or have used plenty of storage
  • Now examine the files left.  These exist on both SkyDrive and your local store, but have different file sizes.  Select each file if you are happy for it to be the master copy.  If you think Simple SkyDrive Sync has it wrong, leave the file unselected for now as the drag operation takes files selected.
  • Once you are sure these files are all correctly selected in both columns, press “Sync” again
  • Finally you have the files in the “wrong” column.  Select them and drag them across.  Press “Sync” again and they will be updated and removed from view

Now, when ever you run Simple SkyDrive Sync, only the new changes will be shown and simple using select all in each column and Sync will bring you bang up to date!

Troubleshooting

The only issue I have seen to date is if the cache file gets corrupt.  Look in the folder you chose to sync with SkyDrive and you will see the two cache files.  Delete these and a full scan will then take place.

 

I hope you enjoy the application, hopefully it will be in the Store soon.

 

David

 

Other screen shots:

Screenshot (27) Screenshot (32) Screenshot (33)Screenshot (29)


Posted Fri, Feb 1 2013 3:23 AM by David Overton

Comments

Bob Colclough wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Tue, Feb 5 2013 5:09 PM

Hi,

This will be a great boon to many people if it works smoothly.

At first glance the only problem will arise if I update a SkyDrive folder file, and then shut the PC down. Later if I do not have WiFi access there will be different results depending if it is an office file.

If it is an office file type, the RT will use a cached copy, which is great. If it is not an office file then the user will retrieve an out of date copy.

The Microsoft solution if they ever produce it (!) will maintain sync with the local copy at all times whilst there is an active link.

Is this analysis correct or am I missing something here?

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Tue, Feb 5 2013 6:34 PM

Bob,

you are of course right about the gap between the cache that Office documents use and what I'm offering.

To make it easier, I'm proposing that you simple create a folder somewhere to store all your files and then, as a rule, don't use "Access on SkyDrive" from within Office, but instead use the folder that this sync's too.  The nice thing is, run the application again and it will re-sync.  As the Office on Windows RT runs on the desktop, I can't interact with it from a Windows RT store App.

I'm working on an update right now to speed up the local drive scanning.  I think I've almost got it working.  At the moment it is very robust and always assumes it knows nothing about the local drive.  I've added a cache, just like the file used for SkyDrive and I'm using date selection on the file scan.

If I get this working, then I may be able to get background sync working too if the application is allowed to run on the lock screen, so it would update SkyDrive and the local disk every 15 minutes, however, given that the application will have 1 second of cpu time, the amount allowed by Microsoft, I may never get this feature off the ground, which is why, at the moment, it needs to be on and running to sync the files.

I hope that helps, but if not, do contact me.

Anonymous wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 8:57 AM

Hello David, I do hope that you could consider using colors that would be more appealing to the eyes :) Hopefully in the next version maybe?

Rob wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 9:01 AM

Great idea,

But please stick to the MS guidelines for the UI. The colors are horrid!

It looks like a color blind picked the colors for the UI.....

again, great idea!!

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 9:04 AM

Two comments on colours.  Well, I've toned them down a little, however the purple is the MS default!  I will harmonise it a bit more.

If I get a chance, I'll allow theme packs for the colours, so you get to choose.

Thanks

David

Simon wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 9:43 AM

Hi there, I'll give a try to this app, however, my main usage would be to access files stored on my home server and shared to my skydrive account thourgh the sektop skydrive client and the "Share the files of my computer" option.

I have way too much files on my server to upload to Skydrive, and just want to be able to access them.

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 9:48 AM

Simon,

thanks for the comment.  At the moment I'm focusing on SkyDrive sync.  Once this is settled down, I can look at network sync.

Before I do that I want to complete support for recognising when a file has been deleted (it will be seen as a new file in 1 location today) and selective folder sync.

Both of these would be just as useful if I get time to deliver a network folder sync tool.  Thanks for the heads up

Raagi wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 2:51 PM

Great app,

I'd like to use this to sync to my SDcard which is mounted at the root of my C drive as a folder [C:\SDCard].  I can't seem to see this folder in the primary 'select your local folder screen'.  

Any ideas why not?  

Thanks!

Raagi

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 3:15 PM

Raagi,

I'm glad you like it.  I'm toning the colours down and unfortunately slowing down the SkyDrive scan to ensure files are not missed, which happens sometimes at the moment.

I just use the standard file picker, so access to any folder is governed by Microsoft and not me.  Do you have access to this folder in other applications, besides the desktop versions of Office?  Does doing this make the indexer cover the files, such as pictures, as this is something I was looking for, but never found a solution to.

Thanks

David

Ashwin wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 4:00 PM

It is difficult to manage when the cache lists every single file.  If there was a tiered view that allowed you to sync at the folder level, it would be much more manageable.  For example.  I have 3 computers going to Skydrive. However I just want to sync 2 of them.  All the files from that third computer still get cached in the Simple sync and show up on the right sight of the screen.  If I could filter out certain folders to not sync rather than have to consider each individual file it would help a lot.

thanks so much for doing this  This issue is one of the biggest problems

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 4:06 PM

Ashwin,

I'm working on selective folder sync right now. :-)

Thanks

David

Robert wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 7:39 PM

Hi,

I just posted a link to this page on the XDA forum in this thread:

forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2102817

I had wanted this so bad and I am trying your app right now. I would love to have folder sync though instead of selecting files. That way, I can pick a folder on my SkyDrive that I want to be synced on my Surface.

Add that feature and this will be golden!

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, Feb 7 2013 8:13 PM

Hi Robert and thanks.  I'm working on toning down the colours, making the file selection more robust and yes, folder selection.  I've been battling with some niggles for the last day or so, but hopefully I'm through the worst of it.

Christopher wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Fri, Feb 8 2013 10:16 AM

Hi,

This app was the one i was waiting for, and i'm looking forward to use it daily.

I totally agree about the choosen folder sync which is a necessity. About the [C:\SDCard], i usually use FileBrick to browse my files and dont have any problem reaching the folders on my sdcard (but no sync with libraries files anyway) : hope i'll do the same using your app.

About sync and deleted files : must we do a manual erase of the residual file or is there a way to make a rule (the file in A is deleted, the file in B is untouched since last scanning so file in B is erased) ?

Thanx for your hard work.

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Fri, Feb 8 2013 10:39 AM

Hi Christopher,

Besides the UI re-write I'm working on, changing the application name so as to avoid any Microsoft TM issues, detecting deleted files is also in the build I'm working on.  These changes are going to take a few days to come through though, probably in 2 or 3 stages releases.

Thanks

David

Cliff wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Fri, Feb 8 2013 1:35 PM

Absolutely love the concept.  However, before buyting it, I will need the ability to select a Skydrive folder to sync with.  With nearly 9,000 files on Skydrive, selecting individual items is far too labor intensive.

Again, I love what you have done and I am very eager to purchase your app when folder selection is available.

As an aside. on my Surface RT I found that I could get through the intal scan with the RT plugged in.

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Fri, Feb 8 2013 1:43 PM

Cliff,

I'm glad you like it.  Just one quick comment (folder sync is coming) - What do you mean that you could get through the initial scan with the RT plugged in?

Thanks

David

Andrew wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Sat, Feb 9 2013 1:12 AM

Hi David,

Thanks for addressing this critical issue with Windows RT.

I am using the trial version but  the app seems to freeze on the scanning screen. It makes it through "Upgrading Skyfile File Info" but then doesn't commence the next task. I have restarted the app multiple times and also rebooted my Surface RT. Any ideas what could be causing this problem? I am keen to see it working so I can purchase the full version.

With thanks,

Andrew

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Sat, Feb 9 2013 2:26 AM

Andrew,

There are two things here.  At the moment, no fault logs have been sent to me by Microsoft, so I can't diagnose it.  If you are reasonably technical, then in control panel, under report problems, you should hopefully see some error reports.  These need to be sent to Microsoft, or if you can see the error logs for any instance of my application, please feel free to attach them to an e-mail and send it to me (david@davidoverton.com).

I have had to do some extensive re-work of the SkyDrive scanning, making it slower, but hope to publish a newer, less colourful interface over the weekend with this new code, so please try this.  I will extend the trial period to 30 days then too, so it should enable you to continue to see updates.

Once this is done, I will be re-writing the interface to be a "by folder" process, making the whole application more fluid as scanning will only do selected folders, thus making startup faster.

Please do let me know if you have any more information.

Thanks

David

Kevin wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Sat, Feb 9 2013 6:50 PM

Thanks very much for this - very much needed!.

Can I suggest a tweak to the text of the top buttons that indicate the synch direction? I interpreted Synch SkyDrive To Local as meaning that SkyDrive files that do exist would be synched to the local folder where they do not exist. Effectively I was seeing "to" in the sense of "copy to". Although this is a valid interpretation of the phrase, the button actually means change the SkyDrive folder so it contains what the local folder contains; another valid interpretation of the button label text.

I was only using a test file on SkyDrive to see if it would appear on the local folder so it didn't matter that the SkyDrive file disappeared because it wasn't on the SkyDrive folder. but synchronization is always a bit scary because of the scope for synching the wrong way and I'd hate to make that mistake with my real SkyDrive files. So I wondered if there's alternative button text that is less ambiguous. Maybe "Make SkyDrive match Local" or "Change SkyDrive to match Local" or  some such.

Hoping the idea helps.

Kevin

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Sun, Feb 10 2013 12:47 AM

Kevin,

thanks for the feedback.  I will see what I can do.  Since I'm changing much on the UI at the moment, it will go into the mix.

David

Ashwin wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Mon, Feb 11 2013 3:50 PM

I for one hope you make a ton of money from this effort! This is one of those show stopper issues keeps my RT from being my go to device.

One trick, I haven't tried it yet but will, for getting initialized and getting around the selecting a subset of files from your entire Skydrive library is to:

-copy the files /folders you want to sync to an external drive

-place this set of folders/files on your RT in the desired sync folder location

-Run the tool

-and select the sync all the files on the RT to same files on Skydrive.

I am hoping this automates the process for selecting what to sync for just starting out.

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Mon, Feb 11 2013 3:55 PM

Ashwin,

folder based sync is coming.  I will post a blog post on it in a moment!  Also the tool will have to change name as using SkyDrive in the name quite like that is not acceptable.

Thanks

David

Bob wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Tue, Feb 12 2013 3:59 AM

Is it possible to perform an autosync from the RT pictures library to a predetermined Skydtive folder. This way the application simply runs in the background and photos the user takes will automatically sink to skydrive via Wi-Fi.

Thoughts....

Btw - it looks like a great app and if the app is built to perform as described above I'll definitely buy it!!!

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Wed, Feb 13 2013 6:51 AM

Bob,

I'm taking things one stage at a time.  Right now I'm coding chosen folder sync, so you can choose a subset of folders to sync with SkyDrive.  Once I've got this done, I will start work to see if the code it short enough to be able to run in background.  We get 1 second of CPU time as a background process and I'm sure that you can see that is not long to do much!  However, once the folder sync is complete, it is on my wish list.

Thanks

David

David wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Wed, Feb 13 2013 2:40 PM

Hi David

Thank you so much for creating such a great tool!!!

How do we get a download - this will be the perfect utility for my Surface RT!

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Wed, Feb 13 2013 2:57 PM

David,

I was asked to change some branding by the Microsoft SkyDrive team, so the tool has been temporarily removed from the store.  I expect to re-release early next week with new branding and improved functionality.

I'm sorry for the delay.

David

David wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Wed, Feb 13 2013 3:28 PM

Branding - that's okay (I guess).

This will be so much better than connecting to my home network and running xcopy?

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Wed, Feb 13 2013 6:48 PM

David,

It will be capable of updating files both ways and work anywhere, not just at home.

I hope that helps

David

Jim wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Mon, Feb 18 2013 2:11 PM

Hi David.  Do you have an ETA on when the updated app will be released?  I checked the store today and didn't see it.  Thanks for making this happen!

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Mon, Feb 18 2013 7:48 PM

Jim,

I hit a problem with scalability in the update which means I having to code in some extra functionality.  I'm hoping to have it done in a day or so, then submit the application to the Microsoft store, which can take between 6 hours and 6 days!

Thanks for your interest.

David

Sean Kenney wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Sun, Feb 24 2013 5:59 PM

Hi David,  Sounds like a great tool.  You last post (2/18) indicated you would have the changes uploaded soon.  Has it been uploaded and are we just waiting for it to be published?  Thanks for you work on this app.

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Sun, Feb 24 2013 7:48 PM

Sean,

I'm about to remove one additional feature that I could not get working (collapsing groups of information in file view) and then I'm on to my final test runs.  If all goes well I will be able to push to Microsoft for their approval tonight!

I'll be sure to publish an update here when it is back in the store.

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Mon, Feb 25 2013 11:52 PM

I've submitted the next version to Microsoft, so hopefully things will move forward quickly.

Thanks

David

Dusan wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Fri, Mar 1 2013 7:43 AM

Hi, i have installed trial of your app on my WinRT machine.

The first time it started scanning all folders but never asked for my account or where to store files locally... Is this a bug?

Dusan wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Fri, Mar 1 2013 7:45 AM

Also whenever i open the "change local folder" option on WinRT the app crashes

David Overton wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Fri, Mar 1 2013 8:10 AM

Dusan,

that is not correct.  Could you turn on detailed logging in the settings (Settings Panel, then pick Settings and at the bottom is detailed logging).

Once this is done, run the application and either exit once a reasonable time has passed or if it crashes.  Then go to "%homepath%\AppData\Local\Packages\3726DavidOvertonAssociate.SkyDriveRTSync_yfb55kzvf8mya\LocalState" in Explorer and you should see the log file.  Please send that file to admin@davidoverton.com.

Thanks

David

Peter wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Mon, Mar 18 2013 3:54 PM

I'm eagerly awaiting for this to reappear in the MS App Store. Is there any update? Thanks!

Simon wrote re: Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT
on Thu, May 9 2013 1:27 PM

Hi David,

it's a very important feature to sync my SkyDrive to local storage on my Surface RT, as I do not have WLAN at work. So I wolud be very happy, if a version of your App was in the store.

Are you still working on it?

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