ChronoSync 3.0 full review

Whether you need to back up your Mac or synchronize files among multiple Macs, Econ Technologies’ ChronoSync 3.0 will help get the job done. On Jaguar, Panther or Tiger, it duplicates and restores data with surgical precision.

ChronoSync’s drag-&-drop interface lets users easily designate source and target volumes, then match or duplicate individual files, folders, local drives, networked drives, and even files stored on iPods. ChronoSync lets you save and schedule multiple custom syncs – for example, one to back up the hard disk on the first of each month, and another to sync the Address Book and Office documents between your desktop and laptop every Friday. You can simply copy files from one drive to another, or match files between two drives.

It takes just a few clicks to schedule a saved sync. The scheduler appears as an icon in your Mac’s menu bar, and runs one-time, daily or weekly syncs, even when ChronoSync is not running. Synching files is reasonably fast. A first-time manual sync took 13 minutes 30 seconds to compare more than 78,000 files and transfer a gigabyte of data. A subsequent scheduled sync found no changes from the previous run, and took only seconds. ChronoSync’s help files are thorough and well written, offering clear solutions for any problems.

Version 3.0 offers impressive capabilities for customizing syncs. “Blind” and “biased” syncs let you specify which duplicate files on each volume get deleted during a sync. The new data validation feature ensures that your information has transferred correctly. Version 3.0 also adds Rules, which let you easily match files by name, extension, file size, or last-modified date, among others; it’s a lot like creating a Smart Playlist in iTunes. You can even trigger a sync automatically every time a file size or modified date changes within your source or target.

The enhanced Analysis view lets users compare the contents of their entire source and target volumes, down to last-modified dates and makes it easy to include or exclude specific files with a few clicks. It was sluggish when I first ran it on my 1GHz iBook G4, but worked much better on subsequent runs.

While the program is logically organized and easy to use, it lacks the visual polish Mac fans have come to expect. Several icons look rough-edged and dull, but it’s a minor complaint given ChronoSync’s overall quality.

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