Sync vs backup usages

I’ve been trying to relegate certain folders on my computer to either bi-directional sync or backup, but some folders I want to either do both with, or delete the local contents so that it’s just on the cloud.

For instance, I have a lot of photos that just sit on my computer. I don’t trust discs or USBs for long-term safe storage so I’d like to place them on the cloud and free up that space on my computer drive. If I use the backup feature for these photos, but then delete the local files after they’ve uploaded into the cloud, how will the backup plan for that directory react when it finds there’s no longer a file to check? Would I just remove the backup plan for the now-nonexistent directory?

Secondly, I do a lot of graphic design work and I like to keep old versions in case I ever need to go back to them. However, that takes quite some drive space. The sync feature will just overwrite with whatever changes I make, so I’m interested in also backing up those folders to a separate location in my amazon cloud to record different versions. Is this possible? If not, are there any recommendations for best course of action in this case?

Thirdly, for files that undergo a lot of changes within a set period of time, say an hour or a day, would you recommend using backup over sync? I guess in my mind I’m kind of getting confused between the 2 because they seem so similar. I have only one main computer and one main cloud source, which is definitely a lot simpler than having a network of many computers, so I’m probably over thinking it, lol.


Hi @jade-soleil,

For “backup to odrive”, odrive will only look at files that are on the local side. If you delete a local file that was previously backed-up, odrive won’t see it locally and just move on to the next file (if there is one).


In this case you want to both sync and backup the folder, is that correct?

Right now we don’t support that, but it is something we have on our list to explore. Backup will create new versions of a file for each change made, so it could be used if you don’t need bidirectional sync (more on that below)

First, the difference between backup and sync:

Backup is a one-way, upload-only relationship. It is the “traditional” backup functionality where it just pushes your files to a remote location. Backup runs once a day, by default. Updates to files that have already been uploaded are added to the remote as new versions. More information on versioning here

Sync is fully bi-directional and in near real-time (always running), so changes on the local side will be pushed to the remote and changes on the remote side will be pushed to local as quickly as possible. Sync tries to keep the remote and local sides mirror images of each other, all the time, including reflecting adds, edits, renames, and deletes on either side. Updates to files overwrite the previous version and do not create new versions, like backup does.

Which one you choose will depend on your use case and workflow. If you are only looking to backup your data for safe-keeping, then backup will accomplish that. Just keep in mind that backup will continue to create versions of files as you edit them. However, since backup runs once a day, by default, you should only be accumulating one version per day of any given file, regardless of how many times you edit it. If you perform manual backups or change the backup interval then your versions could start to accumulate, depending on how often backup is run.

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Thank you for your informative response!

It seems that backup is probably the way I want to handle most things.

I was messing around with the sync the day I made the first post and decided I wanted to re-organize my cloud at a later time and deleted a bunch of stuff, however I did so through the Amazon client without first removing the sync from my local folders. I logged on tonight to find my local folders empty except for an .odrive file - I take it that the sync was trying to mirror what had happened on the Amazon cloud side…thank goodness for trash :grimacing: I didn’t think that through very well.

I look forward to having more free disk space!

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Hey @jade-soleil!

Yes, that is correct. When a “sync” relationship is created, odrive will move local items to the OS trash if it detects that the corresponding remote items have been deleted. This will not happen for a “backup” relationship.

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