Backup Cleanup with GoodSync


Today’s Question: I just finished your excellent online course regarding GoodSync. The question I have is as follows: let’s say that you are not starting out with a “pristine” destination [backup] drive. In other words, the destination drive includes files that are not on the source drive, but that you don’t need. Using a source to right destination backup process as in your video lessons, what will happen to those files in the destination folder? I believe you indicated that using GoodSync, the destination folder will be an exact replica of the source folder. Does that also indicate that extra files be deleted?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, GoodSync ( will delete files on the destination (backup) drive, so that that destination drive will be an exact match of the source drive. Note, however, that you can establish settings that will preserve those files for a period of time before they are discarded, to help ensure you don’t accidentally remove files from the backup drive.

More Detail: As I’ve stated previously in the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, I prefer to use a one-say synchronization approach to backing up my photos and other important data. This provides a number of benefits, including a streamlined workflow for recovering from a hard drive failure, since my backup drive will be an exact match of my source drive after each updated backup with GoodSync.

Part of the process of ensuring that the backup drive is an exact match of the source drive is to remove files from the backup drive if those files are not present on the source drive. GoodSync (and other similar backup tools) will remove files from the destination (backup) drive if they are not present on the source drive, just as the software will copy files from the source drive if they are not currently present on the destination drive.

Of course, you may also want to have something of a built-in “undo” feature to avoid problems. For example, if you accidentally delete a file from the source drive and then perform an updated backup with GoodSync, the file would be removed from the destination drive and you wouldn’t be able to recover that file.

However, there is also an option in GoodSync to preserve such files for a set period of time. That way if you were to accidentally delete a file on the source drive, it would be preserved temporarily on the destination drive. If you realize you have made such a mistake, you could potentially recover the file on the backup drive, as long as you realize your mistake before the established amount of time has passed. You can configure that time in the settings for the backup job you define within GoodSync.

To learn more about using GoodSync to backup your photos and other important data, check out the “Backing Up with GoodSync” course here: