2BrightSparks: Newsletter. September 2012


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Welcome to the September newsletter from 2BrightSparks. In this issue, find out about how to get the latest updates to SyncBackPro and SyncBackSE, read about how digital archives are becoming increasingly important, and get technical guidance using SyncBackPro.

If you have any suggestions on what you might like to see in future issues of this newsletter, drop us a line with your suggestions.

V6 and SyncBackPro V6
are Updated

SyncBackSE V6.2.0.15 and SyncBackPro V6.2.0.15 are now available. For those who already have V6 installed, do not uninstall/re-install, or you will lose your profiles and settings. Simply install 'over the top' of your current installation.

SyncBackPro V6 is a free upgrade for all customers who purchased a full or upgrade Pro license on or after 1st January 2011.

SyncBackSE V6 is free for all customers who purchased an SE license on or after 1st January 2010.

The following upgrade prices apply to those who purchased a license outside the qualifying periods. This may apply to you if you have paid for multiple licenses over a long period (volume discounts also apply):

SyncBackPro > SyncBackPro V6 = $15

SyncBackSE > SyncBackPro V6 = $20

SyncBackSE > SyncBackSE V6 = $10

Note that the number of upgrade licenses you choose may not exceed the total number of existing licenses you own.

Check whether you qualify for a Free Upgrade Today!

Download SyncBackSE V6

Download SyncBackPro V6

Note that this is not an upgrade to SyncBackSE and SyncBackPro from SyncBack freeware

Review the full list of changes for SyncBackSE & SyncBackPro

Why charge for the upgrade?

V6 offers substantial advantages over V5.

We continue to invest thousands of man hours actively developing and supporting SyncBackSE and SyncBackPro with new features, updates, and fixes.
We pay for powerful new components used in V6.
We pay for additional services every month.
We offer free resources: article updates, site improvements, an open forum, and freely available downloads.
We provide free support ticketing for current version licensees.

Can I use a V6 serial number with V5?

Yes, as long as you use the latest version of SyncBackPro/SE V5.

I am using V5 but would like to try V6. Can I?

Yes, but note that you cannot have V5 and V6 installed at the same time. When you install V6 it will upgrade your existing V5 installation (including its profiles and settings) and make a backup of your original V5 profiles and settings in case you later want to go back to using V5. You then have 30 days to trial V6.

After trying V6, if you decide not to upgrade, then you can uninstall V6 and install V5 (you must install the latest version of V5, which at this time is When V5 is installed it will restore your original settings and profiles. Older versions of V5 (including V4 and V3) do not know anything about V6 and so will not know how to restore your original profiles and settings. This is why you must install the latest version of V5 to ensure your profiles and settings are restored.

Do I have to upgrade from V5 to V6?

you are free to continue to use version 5, the latest versions of which can be downloaded using the following links:

Download SyncBackSE V5 | Download SyncBackPro V5

SyncBackSE, SyncBackPro, and SyncBack Freeware

There are three versions of our backup program: "SyncBack" which is freeware, and "SyncBackSE" and "SyncBackPro" which are commercial programs.

Compare the freeware and commercial versions

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Digital Archiving
Mike de Sousa, 2BrightSparks

The last ten years have seen a revolution in the way information is recorded and stored. Governments, non-profits, businesses and individuals have switched in ever increasing numbers to the paperless office.

There are great advantages of adopting the digital creation, dissemination and storage of media. The digital office is for example more efficient and environmentally friendly than its predecessor, but it also brings with it new challenges. The growing mountain of all that invaluable data has to be securely and reliably stored over the long term.

This article investigates the increasing importance of digital capital, and explores the purpose and advantages of digital archiving.

Digital Capital

Capital: A valuable resource of a particular kind...

Although most of us are familiar with the term "financial capital" (money that is used to help make products or deliver services), and to a lesser extent "cultural capital" (non-financial social assets which may for example be educational or intellectual), discussions about "digital capital" are less frequent, despite its increasing importance.

Digital capital requires the ownership of digital media including:

Computer-generated documents

Digitally scanned materials
Source code
Computer graphics
Computer animations
Digital photographs
Digital sound recordings, music, and video etc.

Put simply, digital capital includes anything of value that can be created, used, or appreciated on any kind of computer device.

Although Digital Capital can have business value (e.g. legal documents), its value may also be exclusively personal (e.g. digital family photos). In other words, the value of digital capital is defined by its owners, be they business people, government and state employees, or individuals.

The Difference Between Backups and Archives

Backups are primarily for files that are currently being worked on. In contrast, digital archives host the permanent and secure storage of files that are not going to change and only need to be accessed infrequently.

As digital capital has value, we want to protect ourselves against its potential loss. For digital files we work on or access frequently, we back up. Backups are great for those occasions when something goes wrong, either with technology, or because of user error. Backups ensure financial documents, marketing plans, emails and more are always on tap. Whatever you are working on, whether it be a creative project, or a spreadsheet, all can be copied or recovered quickly and easily with a program like SyncBackPro.

There are a thousand and one ways people configure their backups. Some like a simple approach so that at the end of each day they will copy any new or modified files onto their external disk. Others choose a more complex and risk-sensitive method of copying multiple versions of new or modified files so that they have the option to revert to an earlier version of a document they have been working on.

Most backups are retained for a few days or weeks as later backups supersede previous versions. In summary backups are convenient, quick, and facilitate disaster recovery.

For digital files you are not working on or that you do not need to access quickly there is an alternative to backing up. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime.

Digital Archives are storage systems consisting of records in digital formats that have been selected for long-term preservation on grounds of their enduring personal, cultural, historical, or evidentiary value.

Digital archives consist of evidential materials, legal documents, and creative media (eBooks, music, photos, movies) etc. which are stored in a way which allows their reliable retrieval over a very long term (years or even decades).

The access speed to a digital archive can be slow, but archive media will have an extremely high level of reliability as compared with backup media which can be less robust. Data integrity for a digital archive is maintained over the entire period of the archive's existence.

It is important to understand any legal and compliance requirements that your data is subject to. Many organizations and individuals point to their backup as if it were the same as an archive, forgetting that their backup is rotated every 6 months, so their "archive" is never older than 6 months. This may represent a failure to abide by your organization's obligation to a legal archival requirement, so make sure you check this issue in the near future.

When to use an Archive rather than a Backup

Let's take two examples of when saving an archive would be appropriate. In the first, an employee moves on from your organization. You should keep a permanent record of their contract, profile, emails, and work files as you may at some point in the distant future need to retrieve them - perhaps for legal or administrative reasons. In the second example a photographer has thousands of stock images that are no longer presented in their current portfolio, but nevertheless form part of the body of the photographer's output. In both examples, the files are not in current use, but are of value and importance.

It is therefore easy to see how important it is to carry out a digital audit now and again (perhaps at six monthly or yearly intervals depending on the scale of your organization) in order to ensure the documentation, information and media you produce remains available long into the future.

An Integrated Approach To Protecting Data

Backup and archive solutions should therefore both form part of an integrated system of storing and protecting your digital capital. Remember that backups and archives perform different functions, so the storage media and individual systems will most likely vary. By rationalizing your data protection with this in mind you can archive significantly faster backup and recovery times, and ensure a higher protection of your most valuable data as archives.

I hope this article has provided food for thought, and that you will consider providing feedback to us about your digital archives. We would like to hear from you about how you archive, and what you would like to be able to do when archiving. Perhaps you might like to have the ability to review detailed reports about your archive. We want to understand how archives form an important part of how you protect your digital capital or, how you would like them to.

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Digital Archives: Have Your Say!

We want to know how digital archives are important to you.

As the article above has hopefully made clear, archives differ from backups which are primarily for files that are currently being worked on. In contrast, digital archives host the permanent and secure storage of files that are not going to change.

Do you use digital archives? What do you most want from an archive? How important is archive reporting? What kind of reports would you like? We very much look forward to hearing from you about these and any other comments you might have about digital archiving.

Email Us or Visit the Forum with your comments and ideas.

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SyncBackSE/Pro Technical Tips
David Wilkins, 2BrightSparks

Suppressing the Differences window / Shortcuts / Command-line Switches

It is quite common for support tickets and forum posts from new users to ask how to suppress the display (after scanning) of the Differences window (the profile's list of proposed/intended actions). We have a Knowledge Base article on the subject.

Another way to do so is to run the profile in Unattended mode. Not counting automated Background methods of triggering a profile by the program while it is open (Periodic, on Change, on Insert, etc), which can be set not to prompt you, this generally means via a command-line trigger (such as a Scheduled Task, or a batch file). However, one command-line trigger method you may not have considered is by using a shortcut. Simply drag a profile (or Group) to the Desktop to create one. This will (if double-clicked, etc) run like any other command-line trigger, which by default run as if no-one was present. Thus, by default no prompts are made (situations you have set the profile to Prompt you about will likely be Skipped if so) and no Differences window will be displayed.

Note that a shortcut - like any command-line trigger - will always start, use & generally close afterwards a separate instance of the program to run the profile/s with. (Bear in mind there might not BE an instance of the program open already, and/or it may be run in a special 'no interaction' session, such as in Vista-and-later via a Scheduled Task - see our March 2011 Newsletter
). You cannot interact with those profiles launched via a shortcut using a different instance of SE/Pro that was/is already open.

If you do create a shortcut, you have the opportunity to easily leverage command-line switches to modify the behavior of the program and/or profile/s. Simply right-click the shortcut > Properties > Shortcut tab (usually visible by default) to see the command-line. Click in it to change the mode from Overwrite (Windows default) to Insert. (If you do not, you will likely find the highlighted text disappears as you start typing: if so, click Cancel to close the shortcut unchanged, and try again). Exactly what switches to use depends on what you want that particular shortcut to do (versus what is available, obviously). Bear in mind you can use multiple shortcuts to trigger different profiles/Groups, or you can use multiple shortcuts to trigger the same profile/Group but with different behavior. For example:

One common/popular requirement is to run a profile (or Group) and then close down the PC, or tell it to sleep. You can do this easily using a shortcut, whereby you would change the command-line from

"C:\path to\SyncBackPro.exe" "Name Of Profile Or Group"

to one of the following

"C:\path to\SyncBackPro.exe" "Name Of Profile Or Group" -hibernate

"C:\path to\SyncBackPro.exe" "Name Of Profile Or Group" -standby

"C:\path to\SyncBackPro.exe" "Name Of Profile Or Group" -shutdown

Note the interim space and leading hyphen/dash. Note also the quotes around the preceding text strings, which are vital if the text contains spaces (by default SE/Pro always use quotes anyway).

What your PC will actually do if the -hibernate switch is used depends on your Power settings. Your PC may be configured to allow Hibernation or only to Sleep, Hybrid Sleep , etc. You may need to experiment: not all power-related switches are guaranteed to work on all PCs. All of the above switches should be the last entry on the command-line, as (once invoked) nothing that comes later will be processed.

So, you could have two shortcuts, one that runs the profile/group and then hibernates the PC, and one that simply runs the profile/Group and then doesn't (it simply exits). And so on. Bear in mind you can edit the shortcut's name to anything you like, including hints as to what that particular shortcut will do.


Help > Search > 'command-line' (without the quotes) > top hit

for more background. Note that all switches have an interim space & leading dash/hyphen ( -switch ) and if followed by a value, this should have an intervening space and then the value ( -switch NN ). Do not use an = sign (thus, -switch=NN will not work)

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Lucky Draw Winners

Every month, ten lucky winners who complete the SyncBackSE/Pro survey forms receive a free license for OnClick Utilities. The link to the survey is contained in the order confirmation email. We will even allow you to transfer your license to friends or family if you've already got a license. Good luck!

To date, 900 lucky people have already received free software from us just by simply completing the survey, so what are you waiting for?

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Until Next Time

Thanks for reading! Like/don't like this format? Let us know.

If you have any suggestions on what you might like to see in future issues of this newsletter, drop us a line with your suggestions.

The 2BrightSparks Team.
2BrightSparks Pte Ltd.

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