Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility



File synchronization utilities help you keep updated copies of files or folders in two or more locations, such as different computers, network drives, USB drives, or online storage. While a file sync utility could be used as a simple backup tool (called one-way syncing), its real power lies in keeping an identical set of working files in two or more locations.

An example of this would be keeping current versions of the same data files on both your home computer and office computer (two-way syncing). File sync utilities keep track of which files you create or change, or even delete in one location, and can create, change and delete those same files in the other location.

There are a lot of contenders in this category, but only a few stand out based on the criteria below.

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Rated Products


A well designed and easy-to-use sync program

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
Very easy to understand and use "straight out of the box."
Very few filter options, no ftp, no auto sync, very sparse help.
Read full review...

Allway Sync  

A very well rounded product with a filter, rule set and loads of features

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Very robust set of filters and rules, support for FTP.
Monthly file copy limit of 40,000 files, no support for copying locked files.
Read full review...

Honourable Mentions

  • SyncBack supports file compression and can verify file integrity after job completion.
  • Synkron had a lot of votes for this one in the comments section.
  • File Synchronizer is good if you are looking for a minimalistic or simplistic utility.


Related Products and Links

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This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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Average: 4 (142 votes)


I have been a FreeFileSync user for a long time. No more. Synchredible is great. Enough so that I bought the premium version in order to support the developer.

FreeFileSync has been updated to version 8.10 (2017.03.11).

I can also vouch for the free version of Synchredible; it truly is incredible and can handle tremendous folder trees without choking as so many of the other programs do.
Many of these programs can handle a few hundred files in a very few folders, but then start making big mistakes the more you throw at them.
I was also able to download and install Synchredible without getting any undesirable hitch-hikers in the process.

FreeFileSync 8.7 has been released (2016.12.06); the full changelog may be found at .

FreeFileSync suits my needs. I find it easy enough to use and it has a pretty simple and intuitive GUi. I've used it on and off for years and always keep coming back to it. I like it so much I donated $20 to the developer.

Unfortunately that payment does not include upgrades. If I do upgrade to any future versions it reverts to the bundleware version, so I'm sticking with version 8.3 indefinitely.

It's a pity they don't just provide a "Pro" version that includes all future upgrades.

Added:- If the pop-up nag to update annoys just add the following two lines to the host file:

Happy update/calling home to mother-ship blocking:)

FreeFileSync is excellent - at least six stars. My MalwareBytes identified OpenCandy as a PUP, but I agreed to install anyway. In practice, no open candy, no malware. But quite why I don't know. As a precaution, I took a registry backup before installing. But this time, and the last two or three, there has been no click-off malware button during the install, and nothing untoward has installed. Actually the program is so useful, that I will go back to donating for each new version - not very much I admit, but I do donate more for major upgrades, eg, when FFS goes to version 9. I am looking forward to the day when Zenju can give OpenCandy the flick and just rely on donations.
Sorry CANCEL THAT - my normal morning MWB scan found:
PUP.Optional.OpenCandy, C:\Users\Admin\AppData\Local\Temp\is-7Q1NL.tmp\OCSetupHlp.dll, , [9d20b1482376ab8ba2b3512123e1ce32]
Encouraging is that it doesn't seem to have done anything, but I have anyway deleted it. I will also post to the FFS forum. I have therefore reduced my FFS rating to 5 stars.

The application Unchecky is quite useful in helping to deal with PUPs (such as OpenCandy) that may be included with an application one would like to install. During the installation process, it helps steer one along the path to the options (if they have been provided) to deselect the PUPs that may have been bundled with the app. It also writes exclusions to the HOSTS file, preventing the PUPs from phoning home ( The app automatically updates itself.

Also extremely useful (in many ways) is the venerable WinPatrol, as another commenter has mentioned (

Both are highly recommended (if not essential) for every Windows box, IMHO.

FreeFileSync has now become a malware site. Unless you make a donation when downloading the program, you will get an anti-virus program installed without any notification or way to opt out, and a search bar. If not for Winpatrol, I would not have know the anti-virus and search bar where being installed. Please stop recommending this software.

It is now common practice for freeware programs to come bundled with unwanted components. This is why we have an installer warning message next to the download link and publish articles such as this.
When you run the installer it is necessary to block any outgoing connections in order to prevent these from downloading additional material although the fact this is happening is clearly stated during the install process.
You can easily make a test install first using one of the freeware programs such as ToolWiz Time Freeze. MC - Site Manager.

I would add a third to this list that gives the other two a run for the money with its free version:

Though only garnering an Honorable Mention, SyncBack Free has been updated to version (2016.03.16); VirusTotal reports it to be 100% clean.

FreeFileSync has been updated to version 8.0 (2016.03.15). (The Windows executable downloaded from the developer's site [] received three detections for OpenCandy by VirusTotal.)

According to, "All versions of FreeFileSync after 6.2 are broken and can't be run from other apps. This prevents packaging, use of the base portable version with the PA.c Platform, use of the local version with a scheduler, use of the local version with an alternative start menu, etc. Details are in this bug report from March 7, 2014" ( VirusTotal scans version 6.2 as clean.

Allway Sync 'n' Go is my personal choice for a file/folder synchronization utility. Pluses are it runs portably, it has plenty of customizations to sync jobs, runs automatically in the background or on a scheduled basis, has a pleasing GUI, was easy to learn without use of help files, and I have had none of the problems talked about in the comments for this article.

Though I don't use FreeFileSync I have tried out the installer and portable versions obtained from the developer at and am pleased to say that in version 7.8 there are no bundled pups or use of open candy. The links in the article should be changed as the sourceforge download link only downloads a text file saying to go to the developer's site for the real download.

I'm a tech and tried alwayssync'ngo the portable always sync, it loaded on the wrong drive choose my data drive d instead of my external drive and thats where the trouble started It altered the names of my drive to sync c and sync d it changes the system ini file and core files . I finally loaded it to the external drive and didn't like it so big mistake I removed it External drive now dead I'm a light tech I have lots of recovery tools force defrag etc nothing worked I use acronis true image which seams to effect this program . I tried using another computer to fix the damaged external drive and corrupted that computer as well
So if you install sync'ngo to an external drive and don't want it just leave it there never remove it . Bob Forrest

"... WinDataReflector is a lightweight file synchronization and backup tool that wraps up fast file comparison and transfer algorithms into a simple and clear interface that offers you visual comparison of files and folders before synchronizing and backing them up and support for two way synchronization with fully customizable rules ...":

I've tried FreeFileSync and it works well. Easy to uncheck the extras during install if you're careful. I used it to replace the abandoned MS SyncToy.

One gotcha - Save your sync folders before you run a sync or it drops them when done.

It now also includes a second tool called RealTimeSync - this checks at the set interval for changes in a folder and if it picks up on something, it runs a quick sync. A few keys though - you have to set the watched set in FFS first, as a batch file to avoid the gui. And then you have to set a command line in the new tool to FFS and the batch file. And then you have to actually start the program to have it running. You can set a shortcut into Windows Startup but it's a little cludgy as yet.

[edit: commercial reference removed as the vendor no longer provides a free version]

Like many other freeware nowadays, FreeFileSync comes bundled with OpenCandy since a long time now. It shows the bundled software during installation, which can be easily opted out, if you are careful enough. I have been using FreeFileSync since a long time now, and never had any problem.
FreeFileSync contains unwanted components as is made clear in both the review text and product details. MC - Site Manager.

Non-geek as i am, it's not easy to understand all the "warning signs"!

So, if i ignore all the various dubious things it wants to install, i'm safe?

Staying "safe" is not just a one stop ride. It requires users to develop a safety first state of mind when surfing the web and installing programs. Unfortunately, very few are prepared to do this and then complain to us when they get burned. Others rely on their antivirus for protection because the ad on the vendors site promises to do just that and they too often end up in the same state. If you take the time to read the advisory article linked from the review page, it will guide you towards an appropriate strategy, including the use of virtualization software so you can test out new programs without risking the contents on a live system until you are certain nothing malicious is present. MC - Site Manager.

I tried Allway Sync a few years ago and found that it strewed database files all over my hard disk. As a means of keeping track of files in each folder and helping to manage collisions etc it creates a database of all the files, dates etc and stores this database file in each folder.

At the time I decided I didn't want that so I didn't use the software. I am interested to know if it still works in this way.

When I installed FFS 6.12 a few days ago, a large screen offered to install myPCbackup. Very obvious and easy to click off. Sorry SourceForge won't allow me to post a screenshot. No-one can object to that type of splash screen. If all the OpenCandy offerings were as obvious as that, FFS would not merit a single complaint over malware installation.

I downloaded from Fosshub, since both for 6.12 and 6.11, on my system, the SF download link would not work, either in Firefox or IE. Not sure what can be blocking it. Ideas welcome.

I've just installed FFS 6.13 and I'm happy to report that no additional software was offered or installed. Great!

Update Feb. 2015: Another download and install. Sadly the "additional software offer" is back. In this case I had to click "Advanced Options" to then uncheck the installation of the unwanted software. How sad :-((

As far as I can tell, the latest FreeFileSync (6.12) has dropped Open Candy and now just offers to install Opera.

Beware FreeFileSync!!! Still loads malware. I declined additional software at installation but it still loaded different files - Smartbar, Vosteram, Getnow, Snapdo, Quickshare, changed all browser settings and registry. Took several reboots to finally clean up. Not tested FreeFileSync yet. It may be "free" but comes at a price and a mega nuisance to clean up!!!

Just installed the new version of FreeFileSync, version 6.12, released today. Have been using and installing FreeFileSync for a long time now. Never been infected, including today. There was an option to opt-out of the bundled software. Yes, they have changed the screen for that a bit, which I will have to test more. However, I was able to opt-out of the bundled software without problems. No extra software/malware installed on my system, like always. If you are careful enough, the extra software can be avoided easily.

I saw your comment after posting above.

I just ran the installer (portable version) and got no notification (from Comodo CIS) of Open Candy trying to connect to the web.

I also unpacked the installer and found no OC dll inside and lastly checked the installer with MBAM which reported no PUPs. (The Freefilesync installer was always picked up by MBAM previously.)

The installer and the portable version are both included in an installer version. While installing, it asks you which version you want to install it as. I use the installer version, so cannot say about the portable version, as I have never installed it. If no adware is in that, that's good. However, I can say for sure that adware is indeed included in the installer version. Now, whether it's OC or not, I don't know. But, bundleware is there definitely.