Backup Your Digital Pictures to another Computer Using Synchronization

April 2, 2012

The previous article went through the steps required to synchronize your Documents folder contents to another computer on your home network. The next step is to do the same thing with your digital pictures folder, sometimes referred to as “My Pictures”.

Again, the easiest way to do this is using synchronization software. It already has the features to properly check for the changed files. The tutorial which follows shows how to setup a synchronization job using GoodSync Pro. This is the license version of their software which lets you synchronize unlimited files.

A background overview on why synchronization is an effective way to backup your important computer files can be found at Using File Synchronization as a Backup Option.

A Tutorial on Creating a Two-Way Synchronization Job

The tutorial that follows will describe the steps required to make an exact copy of your “Public Pictures” folder, with all of its subfolders and files, to another computer on your home network. Once the initial copy of this data is completed, it will then verify this data from each computer on a weekly basis, making sure that both sides have the same pictures.

The Home Network Environment

Verify free hard drive space available on the destination computer

As with the previous tutorial on synchronizing the documents folder, you need to verify that there is enough free space on the destination computer’s hard drive to hold all of the pictures you’re planning to copy. The process will not work if there is insufficient available free disk space.

Determine where to store the replicated data on the destination computer

With the digital pictures job, we’re going to use a different approach than what was used for the documents. As you may recall, we’re synchronizing between my desktop computer and my wife’s laptop computer in our home.

With the documents folder, we each had our own data with no overlap. I synchronized my user documents from my desktop computer to my same username on the laptop. This way I could login to the laptop and see the same documents. Likewise, my wife would not have to search through them to find her own documents.

Digital pictures are different in that we share the same photos. There is no reason to make a complete copy of all of the picture files in her “My Pictures” folder and copy them to my user’s “My Pictures” folder. Instead, we’ll make use of the “Public Pictures” folder so that we both see the same digital pictures.

Copy the Pictures from “My Pictures” to “Public Pictures”

The first step is to copy all of the folders and pictures from the “My Pictures” parent folder to the existing “Public Pictures” parent folder. Both are under the “Pictures” library, but the folders are in different physical locations.

“My Pictures” would be found physically under the user who is currently logged in. Whereas “Public Pictures” would physically be found under the “Public” user, which is an area of the hard drive shared by all users created on the computer.

Change the Default Save Location for the Pictures Library

The second step is to change the default save location for pictures so that by default they are now saved to the “Public Pictures” folder instead of “My Pictures”. Making this change saves us from having to move any new folder we create when pictures are uploaded from the camera.

In the future, new folders created under the “Pictures” library will be in the public folders physical. However, this doesn’t eliminate the ability to create folders specifically under the “My Pictures” parent folder.

To make this change, right click on the “Pictures” library and select the “Properties” option. Once the window opens, select the “Public Pictures” folder, then click the “Set save location” button. The check mark will now appear next to the “Public Folders”, indicating this is the default save location.
Change the Default Save Location for the Pictures Library

Setup GoodSync Connect

Like the documents synchronization job we’re going to make use of the GoodSync Connect option for synchronizing with another computer on our home network.

Technically speaking you could synchronize with another computer without completing this step. However, you would have to understand how to change security permission on the destination computer in order for your sync job to access it properly.

Fortunately GoodSync Pro has a special kind of connection called “GoodSync Connect” which accomplishes this for you. It takes all of the pain out of having to understand Windows security and how you need to configure the security settings between two different computers.

All that’s needed is to follow the instructions at: GoodSync Connect Tutorial.

Create a New GoodSync Job for Pictures

This will be a “Synchronize” job meaning changes from both sides are replicated. This setup allows me to upload new pictures to my computer, in which case they will be replicated to my wife’s laptop. The reverse will happen when my wife uploads new pictures to her laptop.

If you know for sure that change will never be made on the destination side then the “Backup” or one-way option may be best.
Create a New GoodSync Job for Pictures

Configure the “Left Side” of the new Pictures Synchronization Job

After clicking the Ok button in the previous screen you’ll be presented with an empty job. Click on the top, left Browse button to begin configuration of the left side.
Configure the Left Side of the new Pictures Synchronization Job

Then select the “My Computer” option in the left navigation pane, and scroll down on the right until you find the public pictures folder:
Find the public pictures folder

Configure the “Right Side” of the Synchronization Job

Configure the Right Side of the Synchronization Job

This time on the left side pane select the “GoodSync Connect” option. Since you have already installed and configured GoodSync Connect per the link above, you should see both of your home network computers on the right side pane. Select the destination computer.
Select the destination computer

Navigate down through the folder structure of the destination computer until you find the folder you want to replicate your data to, which in our case will be the “Pictures” folder under the Public user account:
Navigate down thru the folder structure of the destination computer

Both Sides of the Synchronization Job are now Configured

You should now see the navigation path for both sides of the transfer. The next step is to click the “Auto” button so that we can configure this job to run automatically.
Both Sides of the Synchronization Job are now Configured

Schedule this Job to Run Automatically

After clicking on the “Auto” button. Click the “Logged In Mode” option to schedule a new job. As soon as you do this the next screen will pop up – select the “Logged In Mode”.
Schedule this Job to Run Automatically

Click the “New” button to define a new schedule:
Click the New button to define a new schedule

Set the frequency and time of day as needed, click “Ok” when finished:
Set the frequency and time of day as needed

You will be prompted to enter your username (should display by default) and password for the job to run under:
You will be prompted to enter your username

The final schedule settings will display. Click the Save button to continue.
The final schedule settings will display

Analyze Both Sides of the New Pictures Synchronization Job

Back at the main job screen you’re now ready to click the Analyze button. This will scan both sides of the job to see which pictures need to be copied to the other computer.
Analyze Both Side of the new Pictures Synchronization Job

Synchronize the Digital Picture Files

Once the Analyze process completes, you will see a list of the image files and the direction they need to be copied. The “Sync” button will now be enabled, Click it to do the initial synchronization process. Depending on how much data you have it may take some time.

Synchronization Process Complete

That’s it! You now have the same digital pictures on both the desktop and laptop computers. Next time it will run automatically at your scheduled time. Check it periodically to make sure there are no problems.