You probably have thousands of digital photos and documents that you want to backup or copy to external media. In my case, I copy everything to my development workstation to my laptop for working from home and bring back my work to office. I have used the xcopy in the past, and I've had very good results. However, there is an handy tool for Windows XP called SyncToy, and based on my few days of experience, it appears to do everything I need. Here are a few of its features:
Provides easy and flexible copying, moving, and synchronization of files in different directories
Manages multiple sets of directories at the same time
Can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another
Keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder
Configuring SyncToy is as easy as setting up one or more folder pairs and corresponding actions for each pair. For example, I might setup one pair to synchronize changes between two folders (which works both ways) and setup another pair to simply echo changes from one folder to another (echo is the action I use for backup purposes). If you want to get more specific, there are additional options that can be configured.
If you'd like to know what operations SyncToy would perform on your folder pairs, you can run the convenient preview feature. The preview feature analyzes the folders, then tells you what it would do if it ran, but—most importantly—it doesn't actually make any of the changes. This is a great way to get comfortable with the tool before letting it loose on your precious files. And if you want to automatically process your folder pairs, there's even a topic in the help file (lookup Schedule in the index) that explains how to schedule SyncToy to run on a periodic basis.
Download SyncToy v1.2 for Windows XP or to learn more, grab the whitepaper titled: Synchronizing Images and Files in Windows XP.