> Sync­ing fold­ers to a backup

I used to sync key doc­u­ments to a thumb drive, as an off-site backup. The app I used has now died, and I’m run­ning High Sierra. Is there a bet­ter way to do this?

Mac|Life - - ASK -

There are no less than three ways, de­pend­ing on whether you en­joy writ­ing Ap­pleScript or shell scripts, or pre­fer to use a sim­ple pane in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences.

Ap­pleScript sup­ports Folder Ac­tions, scripts that run when­ever some­thing changes in a folder, such as adding a doc­u­ment to it. They’re now more awk­ward to use, as you need to make the Script menu vis­i­ble, which is done in Script Editor’s Gen­eral prefs. (Script Editor is part of macOS, and lo­cated in /Ap­pli­ca­tions/Util­i­ties.) You’ll need to write your own script to copy files from the watched folder to your thumb drive.

You can do the same in a shell script us­ing the fswatch com­mand ( bit.ly/fswatch). Although pow­er­ful, th­ese are not the sim­plest op­tion.

Per­haps best for most of our read­ers is Hazel (about $30, noodle­soft.com). In its Sys­tem Pref­er­ences pane you can set fold­ers to be watched, then de­fine ac­tions which run when con­di­tions are met — but with­out the need to write more com­plex scripts. For ex­am­ple, it would be very sim­ple to copy files added to a spe­cific folder to your flash drive. Hazel does a great deal more be­yond this, and can be used to au­to­mate work­flows that are usu­ally man­ual af­fairs.

Build­ing folder ac­tions in Hazel re­quires no scripting or pro­gram­ming, although it can run scripts you’ve writ­ten if you wish.

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