FreeFileSync Review

Update June 2014: FreeFileSync comes bundled with the OpenCandy malware, and there’s no option to not install it.  You may want to choose another file sync program.

FreeFileSync is a free, open-source file synchronization and comparison utility.

FreeFileSync main screen

Editor's Rating:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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User Rating:
Rating: 2.4/5 (59 votes cast)

Pros

  • Free
  • Powerful; multiple sync methods
  • File comparison tool
  • File versioning option

Cons

  • No built-in task scheduler (must be done with batch files)
  • Tries to install malware

The Bottom Line

FreeFileSync is a pretty good file sync program, as long as you’re okay with using batch files for scheduled tasks.

Conduit Search Protect?

FeeFileSync tries to install Conduit Search Protect, which is known malware.  Feel free to untick it during the installation process.

Using FreeFileSync

FreeFileSync has a fairly standard layout for a file sync program.  You have 2 file comparison boxes, which display differences between your source and destination.  You can specify locations to sync by dragging and dropping them.  At the top of the screen are buttons to Compare or Synchronize your data.

Comparing files in FreeFileSync

Comparing files in FreeFileSync, before sync’ing.

In the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, you can see a summary of changes.  For instance, the screenshot above shows I have 11.6MB of files that will be copied, with 6 changed files that will be overwritten.

The software supports several different synchronization methods:

  • Two way
  • Mirror
  • Update
  • Custom (create your own synchronization rules)
FreeFileSync sync settings

The synchronization settings screen.

Comparison of files can be done based on the time and size, or the file content.  Symbolic links can also be excluded or included in the sync.

Unfortunately, there’s no built-in scheduler.  You can schedule jobs by saving your config as a batch file, then running that file in Windows Task Scheduler.  It’s fairly easy – and the manual has a good guide on how to do it – but it’s still one extra step you have to take.

Versioning

By default, FreeFileSync will put deleted files in the Recycle Bin.  However, it also supports versioning, which will keep different versions of each file.  This turns FreeFileSync into a handy backup utility, since you can restore modified, changed, and deleted files.  FreeFileSync supports “Replace” and “Timestamp” naming conventions with file versioning.

FreeFileSync Features

FreeFileSync has a number of other features, such as:

  • Copy locked files (via Windows VSS)
  • Binary file comparison
  • Automate syncs as a batch job
  • Error reporting
  • Long file path support (Good!  Some sync programs don’t do this)
  • 64-bit support
  • Macros, such as %time% and %date%
  • Supports SFTP (on Linux) and WebDAV (on Windows)

For a full list of features, see FreeFileSync.org.

Screenshots

Specifications
Product Name FreeFileSync
Version 6.3
License Freeware
Price Free
Operating Systems WindowMacLinux
Backup Types
Files and Folders yes
Full Disk Image no
Incremental no
Differential no
Backup Destinations
Hard Drive yes
Removable Media yes
Network Shares yes
Blu-ray no
CD/DVD no
FTP no
SFTP no
Online Storage no
Features
Compression no
Encryption no
Email Notifications no
Error Handling yes
File Versioning yes
Priority Setting no
Scheduling no
Speed Limiting no
Synchronization yes

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of BackupReview.com. He is a cloud fanatic and regularly reviews online backup services. He believes backups should be easy, affordable, and automatic.

Geoff Akerlund

@backupsoftware

Reviews and ratings of the most popular backup solutions

@FabacusSuite Just noticed your tweet! I’m not aware of any cloud storage needs specific to manufacturing. I’m open to insight/suggestions. – 6 months ago

 
  • Ruud

    Be very carefull not to select the standard installation, it took me hours to get rit of the conduit software.
    Very sneaky to hide this in the standard installation.

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    • I agree Ruud. Thanks for the tip.

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  • Delirium

    As well as in standard installation, the user defined installation does not allow to avoid the installation of the conduit software. This program will be installed anyhow.
    Cause of that I’ll suggest to choose another file-sync-program instead of freefilesync

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  • The modern version 6.8 (built less than a month ago – August 1st) proposes to install SpeedUpMyPC 2014, which is easy to disable – just uncheck the option.

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    • Hi Anton,

      FreeFileSync installs OpenCandy regardless of what’s checked/unchecked, at least when I tested it. OpenCandy wasn’t detected by my anti virus but was detected by malwarebytes.

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      • Well, my Windows 7 has no antivirus except for Windows Defender, so I installed Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free 2.0.2, and it detected no malicious items.
        Either FreeFileSync team had fixed the installer, or the installation is region-specific.

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        • Good to know! Thanks.

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  • nmap

    FreeFileSync is a TRAIN WRECK, NO fucking manual, ICONS without any serious meaning, not even a f help file! so rsync for me

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    • ocdhd

      Once you figure out how to use it, it really is not a bad program and makes life easier. However, with that really sneaky fly by of the Malware that comes with it, not even giving the option to skip it, (but you will Feel it if you have a quick eye, you will say “WTF was that blip?”) no reason to update anymore. It does what it does just fine. What a shame!

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  • ocdhd

    I am going to stop using this program. They claim that it offers an option to opt OUT of intalling OpenCandy and Other malware but it does not. Once you have this program installed, and then it needs to be updated, you follow the link and download it. After you run the Installer, and it literally SKIPS the step in the blink of an eye SO fast as if its not even an option. There is a small Glitch of a millisecond when you can tell that there is what USED to be or INTENDED to be an option to OPT OUT, But Sadly NO! It does not offer any Clear evidence that the user can make a choice.

    SourceForge should be ashamed of themselves for hosting malware infested programs. This is not the meaning of Open Source. They are lying. The PACKED INSTALLER is NOT Open Source. The program may be Open Source, but its Installer/Compiled Version is NO LONGER OPEN SOURCE Once it HIDES code and prevents changes from being made.

    I am done using this and I will NEVER update it. I do not have time to remove OpenCandy and Malware after the installation of this program.

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    • Yeah, I don’t trust any software that installs ad/malware (no matter how benign). It should be the users choice 100%.

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      • ocdhd

        Thank you. For the sake of this being open and present in Google Searches, I would like to mention that perhaps it is a good idea to use FreeFileSync keywords along with keywords that mention the Blind installation of OpenCandy Malware / Spyware onto your PC which are flagged by various highly rated Antivirus softwares that get installed along with FreeFileSync without any user input upon updating. It is therefore our duty to report this if the developers have not gotten the hint. Would like to see this in Changelog. Message to the Developers of FreeFileSync, and specially the person who decided it was a good idea to put OpenCandy along with it. You want me to donate money? Then stop trying to be sneaky so I will feel you deserve a Beer.

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        • Thanks for the tip. Disqus comments are indexed by Google, and this page ranks highly for the search phrase “freefilesync opencandy,” so your comment will no doubt bring this to attention of more people.

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  • ocdhd

    Standard Installation is a lie! They are Sneaky. SHAME on these Developers! Just took me over an Hour to remove whatever it put on, and had to do Manual scans just to be sure. I never say this out loud on a forum, but FreeFileSync, A big FUCK OFF to you is in effect. You want to make money, there are OTHER ways to do it. How about making your program better? I’m not saying ADS are Bad. But to HIDE it from the user? FUCK YOU!

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  • nolo contendere

    FreeFileSync is Open Source. That means anyone can compile it and distribute it — and possibly package it with malware. That is a danger with any open source redistribution site that you do not know. Please tell us where you got your copy (if you kept a record) so we can avoid that site. Maybe other people have compiled the source and NOT included malware. Or maybe someone will compile it properly in the future.

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    • I got mine on sourceforge.net, which is the same file served on freefilesync.org (confirmed with a MD5 hash check). This software comes packaged with malware from official sources.

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      • farvardin

        It seems it’s sourceforge which is adding some crapware/malware into their binaries (with agreement from authors): https://sourceforge.net/blog/today-we-offer-devshare-beta-a-sustainable-way-to-fund-open-source-software/
        It’s a shame because it gives really bad press to open source software.

        Probably it’s time for users to give some money to good open source software, like this one, so it would avoid developpers to go into those kind of traps…

        Btw there are some missing informations in your test: it’s not only for windows but for osx and linux, and it supports sftp on linux and webdav on windows.

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        • That is unfortunate. Thanks for the info. I updated the article with the missing features, although I wish SFTP was supported regardless of the OS.

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  • Mais78

    Hi are you sure there is no option to not install opencand etc?
    I just installed freefilesync, deselecting all the optional installations, ran malwarebytes and the result of the scan is clean.

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    • When I tried it, there was no option. I don’t know if that’s still the case.

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      • Mais78

        want to try again? Interested in your view before I install it on my main computer, I am no expert. thanks

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        • Mais, my opinion is this: any software that comes bundled with malware (in the past or present) isn’t worth anyone’s time, with so many alternatives out there. I recommend something like SyncBackFree instead. There’s no telling if FreeFileSync will re-add the malware in the future.

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          • Mais78

            Thanks, I use a Mac, have you got an alternative for Mac? I agree Windows has got alternatives (I always used AllwaySync on Windows).
            Thanks

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          • Goodsync is the only one I know of, but it’s paid software. FreeFileSync might be the best bet in that case (with passed Malwarebytes check).

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  • Navid

    I did not see an option to disable the malware installation either and uninstalling opencandy is very cumbersome and some users will need help. I would absolutely not install FreeFileSync even if I was paid. On the other hand, I would have paid the author for a license. Fortunately, there is no lack of alternatives. I agree with the reviewer’s 1-star rating.

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    • ocdhd

      I use Antivirus/AntiMalware that blocks the installation and puts OpenCandy and whatever else this program comes with into a temp folder from where it can be deleted. No matter WHAT you do, it installs Malware anyway. So it does not matter what you uncheck. I tested it and that’s what it did. It skips RIGHT OVER the uncheck part so quickly, you have to be quick to see it, but you’ll catch it happening and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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  • joe

    it is fucking malware , keep away from it.

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  • vsn

    So far I have avoided installing the crapware by unselecting the option during install.

    But I’m going to stop upgrading now. You never know when you will forget to unselect the crapware option.

    It seems there is an update every month which hugely increases the risk.

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  • Sam

    You could use Unchecky (http://unchecky.com/) to automatically unchecks unrelated offers during installation, both saving you mouse clicks and making it less likely to miss a checkbox of an unwanted offer.

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  • dirac bracket

    They said you can build it from source, so I downloaded the zip file. There is even an MS Visual Studio project file in there (for VS2013 it seems as it uses toolset v120). I tried to compile it using VS2012 (toolset v110) but of course, that doesn’t work. Files are missing, etc… UTTER CRAP.

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  • ocdhd

    Yep I think they keep doing updates every month this way if you forgot to install that Opencandy malware the first time, they’ll get you the second time around. Every time I update, Avast and Malwarebytes stop this scum from invading my PC. Shame on these guys.

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  • Mike Parisi

    8/11/2015 Malware detected

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    • Thanks! Just to let everyone know I removed all links to SourceForge today, due to their bundling of malware with open source projects.

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      • Mike Parisi

        The home page has an internal link that is infected with spyware. This product is infected with OpenCandy from the developer.

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        • Good to know, thanks.

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          • Mike Parisi

            Their FAQ lies. It says they do not include spyware with the software. I downloaded it from their website. It looks like Sourceforge does host the source code for the program. I don’t have time to check it for the spyware. I would bet that they don’t include it in the source, and only includes it in the exe.

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  • Oleg Gritskov

    I am looking for replacement for Microsoft SyncToy found freefilesync, downloaded it and antivirus immediately removed it because of included malware… So I have no chances to even check how “good” this product was…

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  • P.Yew

    You can always use a sandbox like SandBoxIE or Comodo’s sandbox to install it then copy the installation folder over to your system. You can use Universal Extractor to “unzip” the installer as well.

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    • Peee U.

      I tried SandBoxIE, but the latest version of FreeFileSync immediately invokes a PUP and Malwarebytes immediately quarantines the setup file. You need to exclude the folder from protection in order to even run it sandboxed. But it’s a great idea and it caught a couple of PUPs during the sandboxed installation. I was also able to determine which files are no longer installed and delete some old non-used files. The scumbags are so stealthy they install those PUPs with no warning, and you still need to uncheck crapware boxes. They offer a no-advertising installer if you pay a monthly fee. I’d really like to see someone fork the source and develop a similar alternative without the malware. I’d even pay for it!!!

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  • mwewe

    I love the program, but the damn malware won’t even let me install unless I disable my protection. Then I can install and scan afterwards. My malware detector removes the stupid malware but then I have to reboot. This is one very frustrating and annoying program. They offer to give you a version without malware but you need to pay a monthly fee for it. It’s nearly ransomeware!

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