in Technology

Synchronize your data using Grsync

Keeping your data synchronized with an external data storage is essential to keep your documents and other data secure. Rsync is a robust and popular tool for doing exactly this; so what better tool to use as your personal backup solution.

There are of course other tools for doing this such as Unison, which I wrote about earlier. Which tool you prefer to use for backing up your data is a matter of personal preference, as long as you actually use it. This article will not directly use the rsync tool, but instead discuss the GTK front-end, which gives the user access to the most usable functions and settings.

We will start by installing grsync with your favorite package manager. If you are using a Debian based distribution, just execute apt-get install grsync to get hooked up.

Next, we will initialize a directory with data and a directory to keep the backup. The backup directory should of course be located on an external disk, network drive or something other than the local computer.

$ mkdir -p sync/data sync/backup
$ echo “This is the contents of the first file” > sync/data/one.txt
$ echo “This is also some dummy content” > sync/data/two.txt

The time has now come to start grsync. Start by creating a new session by clicking add and figure out a name to describe your sync pair.


Browse to the source and destination directories to select them. Note that if you are synchronizing to a FAT, NTFS or other type of file-system not supporting Unix permissions, uncheck “preserve permissions”, since those depend on how the partition is mounted, and not the actual permissions.

Before executing the task, it might be wise to run the simulation to see possible problems or just to get reassurance of which files will be copied. When you are ready to start the sync, just press execute and hope for the best.


The files should now hopefully be correctly synchronized to the sync/backup directory. You might also notice that the actual command to rsync is displayed on the top. This command could be useful if you want to automate this process using cron or something similar.

To conclude, I have to say that Grsync is a very competent and easy to use tool, suitable for both beginners and more advanced users. The GUI looks polished and usable but will still give you detailed information if you want.