Answers to General Questions or Problems asked frequently by users

 

 

Q: What is a "Synchronization" vs. a "Backup" ?

A "Synchronization" will potentially copy files in either direction, while a "Backup" always copies files in one direction.

In a synchronization, the file modification times of files in each folder are compared and the newer file is copied to replace the older file, regardless of the location of the older file.

In a backup, files are always copied in the direction of the arrow.

Both synchronizations and backups copy only those files that are different. This means that repeating a backup won't copy any files if none have changed.

We recommend that you use a backup if you don't intend files to be copied back from the destination, because it takes less processing, it's quicker, and there's no need to store a database of the state of all files as of the last sync.

 

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Q: Making a bootable backup

How do I make a bootable backup of my OS X system disk ?

Erase the backup disk.

  1. Open Disk Utility. It's in the Utilities folder, inside your Applications folder.
  2. For Intel Macs, check the "Partition Map Scheme" for your backup disk. This info is listed at the bottom of the window when the physical disk is selected. It should be "GUID Partition Table". If it isn't, we recommend you do this:

    2a. Click the Partition tab.

    2b. Use the "Volume Scheme" popup menu to choose "1 Partition".
    (You can choose more than one partition if you wish).

    2c. Click the Options button.

    2d. Click "GUID Partition Scheme".

    2e. Click OK.

    2f. Click the "Apply" button.


  3. Erase the volume you want to back up to. This is usually a partition on the disk.
  4. Quit Disk Utility.

Important note: The disk only has to be erased the first time you backup, not every time.

Set up the backup.

  1. Make sure you're using the current version of Synchronize! Pro X.
    If you don't have it, you can download it here.
  2. Open Synchronize! Pro X.
  3. Use the File menu to choose New.
  4. Click Bootable System Backup.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Drag the destination disk (the one you erased) from the desktop over the right-hand folder, and drop it there.
  7. To start the backup, click the Backup button.
  8. Don't forget to use the File menu to save the settings document for future use.

Once the backup is saved, you can update it by running it again. Synchronize! Pro X will determine which files have changed and copy only those files.

Please note: If when starting up your computer from a backup disk, the disk does not appear as a bootable candidate, it may be necessary to choose the disk using Startup Disk in System Preferences.

If the disk is an internal disk, it may be necessary to start up the computer from an external disk, open System Preferences, and then choose the internal disk using Startup Disk.

 

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Q: Copying the system to a new computer

How do I copy an OS X system from my current computer to the internal disk of my new computer ?

In the example below, we assume that the new computer is a PowerBook, although the procedure will work for any Mac. Follow these steps...

Make the PowerBook act like a FireWire disk drive.

  1. Start up the new PowerBook while holding down the "T" key. This causes the new PowerBook to start up and act like a FireWire hard disk. When the PowerBook starts up, you'll see a dancing FireWire symbol on the screen.
  2. Connect the new PowerBook to your ent computer with a FireWire cable. You'll see the disk on the new PowerBook appear on the desktop of your current computer.

Erase the new PowerBook's disk. See the instructions above.

  1. Open Disk Utility. You'll find it in the Utilities folder, inside the Applications folder.
  2. Erase the disk on the new PowerBook.
  3. Quit Disk Utility.

Make a Bootable System Backup to the disk in the new PowerBook.

Please see Making a bootable backup.

Restart your new PowerBook.

  1. Disconnect the FireWire cable between your current computer and the new PowerBook.
  2. Restart the new PowerBook.

If your PowerBook doesn't immediately start up, you may need to hold down the Option key while starting up in order to choose the startup disk.

Also, if your new PowerBook has different hardware than your current computer, it may be necessary to install OS X over the backup, while preserving all system and user settings. This adds any additional drivers that are required by the new computer. Make sure that the OS X install disk you use is the one that came with the new computer.

 

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Q: Bootable backup over a network

How do I make a bootable backup over a network connection ?

Because of the way that AppleShare handles permissions, it isn't possible to make a bootable backup to a disk on a remote computer simply by sharing that disk.

A good alternative is to back up to a disk image. A disk image is a single file that looks like a disk when it's opened. A disk image can be stored on a remote computer while the disk for which it provides storage appears to be directly connected.

Here are the steps for backing up to a disk image. They are for OS X 10.3 (Panther).

Create the disk image file.

  1. Open Disk Utility.
  2. Use the Images menu to choose "New->Blank Image".
  3. Set "Size" to be large enough to contain your entire backup. The initial size of the file will be much smaller, and it will grow as you copy files to it. You'll need to use the "Custom" setting to make disk images of 10 GB or more.
  4. Set "Format" to "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)".
  5. Set "Encryption" to "none".
  6. Set "Partitions" to "GUID Partiton Map" if you are backing up a computer with an Intel processor. Set it to "Apple Partition Map" if you are backing up a computer with a PowerPC processor.
  7. Set "Image Format" to "sparse disk image".
  8. Save the disk image to the location of your choice on the remote computer. The name you enter will be used for the name of the disk image file (with the extension ".sparseimage"). The name will also be used as the name of the disk when it is mounted.
  9. Quit Disk Utility.

The disk image will grow as needed to accomodate the data in your backup.

Mount the disk image.

  1. In the Finder, double-click the disk image file. This will make the icon for the disk appear.

This step may not be necessary if you just used Disk Utility to create the disk image.

Set up the backup.

  1. Open Synchronize! Pro X.
  2. Use the File menu to choose New.
  3. Click Bootable System Backup.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Drag the destination disk (the one you just created) from the desktop over the right-hand folder, and drop it there.
  6. To start the backup, click the Backup button.
  7. Don't forget to use the File menu to save the settings document for future use.

Once the backup is saved, you can update it by running it again. Synchronize! Pro X will determine which files have changed and copy only those files.

Automate the backup.

The disk image can be mounted either by double clicking it in the Finder, or by using "Before syncing, open the file" in the Start Options to open the disk image.

If the remote computer has a password, you'll need to first connect to the remote computer before running the bootable backup. To do this automatically:

  1. Set up a sync between an empty folder on your computer and an empty folder on the remote computer.
  2. Set "Auto-Connect" in the Options menu to automatically connect to the remote computer.
  3. Use "Open the file" in the "Completion Options" in the Options menu to start the bootable system backup after the sync of the empty folders (which connects to the remote computer) is complete. Check "Start sync when opened."

Restoring from a disk image.

To restore from a disk image, mount the disk image (double-click it in the Finder) and make a bootable system backup from the mounted disk to another disk (see above).

 

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Q: Bootable backup using FileVault

How do I make a bootable backup if I'm using FileVault ?

When you use FileVault, the contents of your Home folder are stored in an encrypted file on your hard disk. This file is updated as you change settings and documents in your Home folder.

Because this file is constantly being updated, and because it takes some time to backup the entire encrypted file, it's not a good idea to make a bootable backup of your system while running from the encrypted Home folder. There is a possibility that some of the changes that are written to the FileVault encrypted file won't be copied to the backup disk. This could cause your entire Home folder to be inaccessible on the backup.

We recommend that you set up a separate, unencrypted user account to use when you make your bootable backups. Make the backup this way:

  1. Log out of your normal user account.
  2. Log into the "backup" user account.
  3. Make the bootable system backup.
  4. Log out of the "backup" user account.
  5. Log back into your normal user account.

 

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Q: Logging in as root

How do I log in as root ?

Follow these steps...

Enable login with user name and password

On Mac OS X 10.1.x:

  1. Use the Apple menu to choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Login Window.
  3. Click Display Login Window as: name and password fields
  4. Close System Preferences.

On Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar):

  1. Use the Apple menu to choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Accounts.
  3. Click the Login Options tab.
  4. Click Display Login Window as: name and password
  5. Close System Preferences.

Enable the root user

Please see the next FAQ if you haven't enabled the root user.

Log in as root.

  1. Use the Apple menu to choose Log Out.
  2. Type "root" as the user name; not the name of the system administrator, "root".
  3. Type the password. It's the same as the system administrator's password.
  4. Click Login.

 

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Q: Enabling the root user

How do I enable the root user?

Follow these steps...

On Mac OS X 10.1.x:

  1. Open NetInfo Manager. You'll find it in the Utilities folder, inside your Applications folder.
  2. Use the Domain menu to choose Security->Authenticate.
  3. Enter your administrator name and password.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Use the Domain menu to choose Security->Enable Root User.
  6. Quit NetInfo Manager.

On Mac OS X 10.2 - 10.4 (Jaguar - Tiger):

  1. Open NetInfo Manager. You'll find it in the Utilities folder, inside your Applications folder.
  2. Use the Security menu to choose Authenticate.
  3. Enter your administrator name and password.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Use the Security menu to choose Enable Root User.
  6. Quit NetInfo Manager.

On Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard):

  1. Open Directory Utility. You'll find it in the Utilities folder, inside your Applications folder.
  2. Click the lock icon (at the lower left of the Directory Utility window) to enable changes.
  3. Enter your administrator name and password, then click OK.
  4. Use the Edit menu to choose Enable Root User.
  5. Enter a password for the root user and click OK.
  6. Quit Directory Utility.

On Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard):

  1. From the Apple menu choose System Preferences....
  2. From the View menu choose Accounts.
  3. Click on the lock and authenticate with an administrator account.
  4. Click Login Options....
  5. Click the "Edit..." or "Join..." button at the bottom right.
  6. Click the "Open Directory Utility..." button.
  7. Click the lock icon (at the lower left of the Directory Utility window) to enable changes.
  8. Enter your administrator name and password, then click OK.
  9. Use the Edit menu to choose Enable Root User.
  10. Enter a password for the root user and click OK.
  11. Quit Directory Utility.

 

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Q: Why are my files copied over and over again ?

I just synced my files with a disk connected over the network. When I sync again, the same files are going to be copied again. What's going on? They shouldn't be copied again - I didn't make any changes.

 
This problem is due to the modification times of the copied files actually being different after the sync. When the sync is run again, the file modification times really are different - maybe by only a few seconds.

You can see this most easily by clicking on a file pair in the Files to Copy window. At the bottom of the window, you'll see the modification time of the two files, with the time difference shown between them.

This problem occurs on Mac OS X in versions 1.1.5 and earlier due to a deficiency in the AppleShare Client. The AppleShare Client offsets the file modification time by the difference in time between the two computers. This does not happen when sharing files with Mac OS 9.

Another cause of this problem is that some file servers, notably some Windows servers, store file modification times to a resolution of 2 or more seconds. Macintosh file modification times are stored in seconds; a file modification time that is an odd number of seconds will be reported to the nearest two seconds. The default settings in the sync setup will cause Synchronize! X Plus to copy the file again.

Comparing Files in the Options menu provides a means of compensating for this. Here's how:

  1. Use the Options menu to choose Comparing Files.
  2. Check the modification time difference is > box.
  3. Enter a number of seconds which is slightly larger than the time difference between files which were the same, as shown in the Files To Copy window.
  4. Click OK.

If the modification time difference still appears to be different, this time by some number of hours, use the modification time difference is not an exact multiple of one hour setting in the Comparing Files options.

 

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Q: I'm getting file permission errors - what's going on ?

 
File permission errors occur when OS X decides that the operation attempted is not allowed to the current user. Synchronize! Pro X reports the error, it doesn't generate it.

How file permissions work

File permissions are read only, read and write, write only, or none. Any file or folder can be given these permissions.

File permissions work on three levels - owner, group, and everyone. They are checked in this order. First, the current user is compared against the owner of the file. If they are the same, then access is allowed based on the permissions for that user.

Next, the group of the current user is compared against the group of the file. If these are the same, then access is allowed based on the permissions for that group. If the groups match, it doesn't matter what permissions are allowed or not allowed for "everyone".

Finally, if all other tests fail, permissions for "everyone" are used for access to the file.

Enclosing folders can also affect file permissions

But this isn't the end of the story. The same permissions tests are also performed on every folder that the file is nested within, and if there is a difference, the most restrictive permissions are assigned. This means that a file with "Read and Write" permissions in a folder with "Read only" permissions will be assigned "Read only" permissions!

In order to figure out where the permissions problem exists, you need to check the permissions for the file AND the permissions for all the folders that enclose that file.

An "admin user" does not have unlimited access to remote files

Setting up a user as "allowed to administer the computer" has no effect on the file access that a user has. An "admin user" is *not* allowed to access to any arbitrary file on a remote computer. Rather, that user, just like any other, is allowed access to only those files which match the file permission rules. This is different than Mac OS 9. Many people assume that the behavior of Mac OS 9 carries forward to OS X - it doesn't.

 

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Q: How do I setup two folders to be synchronized ?

Follow these steps...

  1. Use the File menu to choose New.
  2. Click Synchronization.
  3. Click OK.
  4. To choose the folders, click on each one and find the folder you want.
  5. To start a sync, click the Sync... button.
  6. Don't forget to use the File menu to save the settings document for future use.

 

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Q: How do I set up a backup ?

Follow these steps...

  1. Use the File menu to choose New.
  2. Click Backup.
  3. Click OK.
  4. To choose the folders, click on each one and find the folder you want.
  5. To start a sync, click the Sync... button.
  6. Don't forget to use the File menu to save the settings document for future use.

 

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Q: How do I set up a backup that doesn't delete files ?

Follow these steps...

  1. Use the File menu to choose New.
  2. Click Backup.
  3. Click OK.
  4. To choose the folders, click on each one and find the folder you want.
  5. Use the Setup type popup menu to choose Custom.
  6. Uncheck the Delete files and folders not in the master folder check box.

With these settings, files are copied in the direction of the arrow, and files in the destination folder are not deleted, even if they do not exist in the source folder.

 

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Q: Copy / Don't copy files

How do the Copy files and Don't copy files options work?

The Copy only files settings are checked for each file first, then the Don't copy files settings are checked. For example, if you set Copy only files to "whose names contain "xxxx" and Don't copy files to "files whose type is TEXT", a text file called "Sync me xxxx" would not be copied.

 

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Q: Starting a backup using AppleScript

How can I start a backup using AppleScript?

Here is an AppleScript which starts a backup. In this example, the setup is called "MyBackup", and it's saved in the Desktop folder.

 

This version works on Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6):

tell application "Finder"

   set fileToStart to document file "Desktop:MyBackup.syncprox" of home as alias

end tell

tell application "Synchronize! Pro X"

   sync fileToStart

end tell

 

This version works on Mac OS X prior to Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5).
Note that you'll need to change the name of the disk and the name of your home folder in this script.

tell application "Synchronize! Pro X"

   sync file "MyStartupDisk:Users:home_folder:Desktop:MyBackup.syncprox"

end tell

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Q: Sending Log contents in an email

How can I get notified of sync or backup results by email?

Here is an AppleScript ("Send Log As Email") which sends the contents of today's Log entries using Apple Mail.

Download script - Send Log via Email

This is a version which sends an email with the Log only if an error occurs:

Download script - Send Log On Error

Set "Open a file" in the Completions Options to open the script. This will cause the script to run when the backup or sync completes.

Both scripts need to be customized to your computer, so please open them in "Script Editor" and follow the instructions.

 

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Q: AutoSync Reinstall

How do I reinstall AutoSync?

Follow these steps:

  1. Use the Synchronize! Pro X menu to choose Preferences....
  2. Use the popup menu to choose AutoSync.
  3. Click Install AutoSync. A new copy of AutoSync will be installed in your Applications folder. Any older version will be replaced.

 

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Q: Installing AutoSync Manually

How do I install AutoSync manually?

Follow these steps:

Copy AutoSync to the Applications folder.

  1. In the Finder, navigate to the Synchronize! Pro X application.
  2. Control-click on Synchronize! Pro X. Choose Open Package Contents.
  3. Open (double-click) the Contents folder.
  4. Open (double-click) the Shared Support folder.
  5. While holding down the Option key, drag AutoSync to the Applications folder. You can put AutoSync anywhere you like, but Applications is the location AutoSync is normally installed in.
  6. Double-click AutoSync in the Applications folder. This opens it.

Set AutoSync to be opened at login.

1. Use the Apple menu to choose System Preferences.

On Mac OS X 10.4.x (Tiger) through 10.6 (Snow Leopard):
2. Click Accounts.
3. Click the Startup Items or Login Items tab.
4. Click +.
5. Navigate to the AutoSync application and click Add, or press Return.

On Mac OS X 10.7.x (Lion) and later:
2. Click Users and Groups.
3. Click the Login Items tab.
4. Click +.
5. Navigate to the AutoSync application and click Add, or press Return.

Quit System Preferences.

 

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Q: Syncing with an iDisk

When I sync with an iDisk, why does Synchronize! Pro X always want to copy all the files?

Synchronize! Pro X uses the file modification date to determine whether files are the same. Unfortunately, iDisk uses WebDAV to host the files, and WebDAV does not preserve file modification dates. Instead, WebDAV attaches the time of the last write to the file as the "modification date", even when the contents of the file may not have been changed.

When Synchronize! Pro X scan folders while determining what to copy, it finds that the modification date of the files on the iDisk are different, and so it wants to copy the files again.

A solution is to sync with or backup to a "disk image" on the iDisk. A disk image stores the contents of a disk in a single file, but when it's mounted, the disk appears on your desktop.

Here's how to create a disk image:

  1. Open Disk Utility (it's in the "Utilities" folder, inside the "Applications folder).
  2. Click the icon named New Image at the top of the window.
  3. Enter the name you want for the disk. This is the name that will appear for the disk on your desktop.
  4. Choose the size of the disk image. If the "Image Format" is "read/write disk image", the entire disk image will be written as part of the initialialization. If you choose a very large size, it will take a long time to initialize the image. You can shorten the time by setting "Image Format" to "sparse disk image".
  5. Note that you can encrypt the disk image. If the disk image is encrypted, access is not allowed unless a password has been supplied. In the dialog for mounting the disk manually, you can choose to include the password in your computer's keychain so that the disk image can be mounted automatically on your computer.
  6. Click Create.
  7. When the disk image has been created, it will appear as a disk on your desktop.

When the disk is on your desktop, you can copy files to it, and their file modification dates will be preserved.

When you're done with the disk, you should eject it. This closes the file that is used to store the contents of the disk.

To re-mount the disk image, double-click the file. As part of your sync or backup, you can have Synchronize! Pro X open the disk image automatically by choosing it in the "Start Options" under "Before synchronization, open the file".

 

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Q: Connecting to remote volumes

How do use an AppleScript to mount a remote volume?

Synchronize! Pro X can automatically connect to a remote AppleShare volume using an Apple API, but for some reason, this doesn't always work. Because this function uses an Apple-provided interface, we have no way to fix it.

An alternative method of connecting to a remote volume uses AppleScript. This method can also be used to ensure that you connect to your iDisk using AFP, which is necessary to make file synchronization work.

Here's how to create an AppleScript that will connect to a remote volume:

  1. In the Finder, navigate to the Applications folder.
  2. Open the AppleScript Folder.
  3. Open the Script Editor application..
  4. Type (or copy and paste) the following text into the Script Editor window:

tell Application "Finder"
  mount volume "afp://username:password@IPaddress/volumename"
end tell

     5. Supply your values for "username", "password", "IPaddress", and "volumename".

Note: If the computer you're connecting to is on the same local network, you can use the computer's Rendezvous name, which is shown in the "Sharing" pane of the System Preferences. As an example, if you set up your computer using the name "Fred Jackson", then the Rendezvous name for that computer is "Fred-Jacksons-Computer.local", and this name can be supplied for the "IPaddress".

     6. Save the AppleScript. In the "Save As..." window, set the "File Format" to "application" when you save it.

You can set Synchronize! Pro X to use this AppleScript to mount the remote volume. Here's how:

  1. Use the Options menu to choose "Start Options".
  2. Check the box, labelled "Before syncing, open the file:".
  3. Click the "Choose..." button.
  4. Find and choose your AppleScript.

This same script can be put in your menu bar, so that you can mount the remote volume whenever you want. Here's how:

  1. In the Finder, navigate to your Home folder.
  2. Open the Library folder.
  3. Open the Scripts folder.
  4. Put your AppleScript in the Scripts folder.
  5. Navigate to your Applications folder.
  6. Open the AppleScript folder.
  7. a. In Panther (Mac OS X 10.3 and later), double-click "Install Script Menu".
    b. In Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2.x and earlier), double-click the file "Script Menu.menu".
  8. Any AppleScripts you put in your Scripts folder will appear below the black scroll icon in the menu bar.

SMB Note: You can connect to an SMB (Windows) server using a similar AppleScript. Here's an example:

tell Application "Finder"
  mount volume "smb://username:password@ServerName/ShareName/"
end tell

"ServerName" can be the IP address of the SMB server.

 

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Q: Windows Server Issues

What issues might I run into when connecting to a Windows Server ?

There are a few things to keep in mind.

1. File modification times may be off by one second.

Some Windows servers store file modification times to the nearest 2 seconds, while Macintosh computers store file modification times to the nearest second. When the file modification time on the Macintosh is odd, the file mod time on the Windows server will be even. This will cause Synchronize! Pro X to decide to copy the file again on subsequent syncs, because the mod times are different. You can see this by clicking on a file in the Files To Copy window - the file mod times and file sizes are shown near the bottom of the window.

To fix this problem:

  a. Use the Options menu to choose Comparing files.
  b. Check the modification time difference is > box.
  c. Enter 1 for the number of seconds.
  d. Click OK.

This setting will cause Synchronize! Pro X to consider any files whose modification times are different by less than two seconds to be the same.

2. Windows servers don't allow some characters in file names.

An example of this is the carriage return, or 0x13. The carriage return character is part of the name of every folder icon file (the actual name is "Icon\r"), and you will notice an "error renaming a file" when these files are copied.

The solution is to check the icon files box in the Don't copy files options.

Other characters that Windows does not allow are:

\ / : * ? " < > |

Make sure that files and folders on your Mac that you sync or back up don't contain these characters.

3. Windows servers don't have the same permissions.

To simplify syncing files with a Windows server, do this:

  a. Use the Options menu to choose "Permissions".
  b. Check "Don't set permissions of copied files and folders."
  c. Click OK.

 

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Q: Uninstalling Synchronize! Pro X

How do I uninstall Synchronize! Pro X?

There are three parts to a complete uninstall. The first part eliminates auto-starting.

• Remove AutoSync from the login list.

     1. Open System Preferences.

      On Mac OS X 10.2.x (Jaguar):
      2a. Click Login Items.

      On Mac OS X 10.3.x (Panther) or 10.4.x (Tiger):
      2a. Click Accounts.
      2b. Click the Startup Items tab.

      3. Remove AutoSync from the list. It's OK if it's not there.

After you log out and log in again, no automatic starting will take place.

      • Remove the "Synchronize! X" folder from the Preferences.

  1. Open the folder "Library" in your home directory.
  2. Open the folder "Preferences" in the "Library" folder.
  3. Drag the folder "Synchronize! X" to the Trash.

• Remove the "Synchronize! Pro X" and "AutoSync" applications from your Applications folder.

  1. Log out and log back in, or restart your computer. This ensures that "AutoSync" is not running. If it is running, you can't put it in the Trash.
  2. Open your Applications folder.
  3. Drag the "Synchronize! Pro X" application to the Trash.
  4. Drag the "AutoSync" application to the Trash.
  5. Empty the Trash. The uninstall is complete.

 

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Q: How do I keep my iTunes on two computers ?

Please click here for the answer.

 

Q: How do I keep my photos on two computers ?

Please click here for the answer.

 
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