Syncing User Profile Folder - hidden files, run syncthing as SYSTEM?


In response to this thread: Windows 10 User Folder Sync

I am wondering if anyone has tried running syncthing as the SYSTEM user to backup these folders.

I am exploring using syncthing to backup user profile settings for a domain user among computers that have the same programs in order to have consistency among the computers for user settings.

If anyone has tried this and has recommendations for how to make it go smoothly, what kind of issues I should expect (i.e collisions if same user logged in on multiple computers, etc.), please let me know!


Syncthing is not a backup solution. Running a file synchronisation solution as SYSTEM opens a computer up to significant risk of data loss or compromise - you’re adding fuel to the fire. Trying to blanket sync AppData will be beset with problems from the beginning and they will recur when new programs are installed.

I suggest you research backup programs - restic is one I can recommend - for backup, and roaming profiles or other domain-related solutions designed for this job.


I would add that if you don’t want or cannot use any 3rd party solutions, then even the built-in Windows backup would be enough to back the AppData folder up. You could then use Syncthing to synchronise the backup files themselves. You would still need to somehow (possibly automatically) copy them to a different location on the remote side, or otherwise they will remain vulnerable to changes made on the first device (e.g. by a virus, hardware failure, etc.).

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Re; inherent risk in running syncthing as SYSTEM, this is a good point. I was just under the impression some members of this forum were using syncthing already for synchronizing their user folder. Whether it included junctions or not is another thing, I came across that post and thought it was kind of interesting, but I probably shouldn’t have made it the focal point of the post.

Sorry for the confusion, I already have several backup solutions at my disposal - I am running file history, a periodic robocopy to an AD zfs file server (on Solaris fork, which actually correctly stores ACLs), and daily Macrium Reflect image backups to a local disk.

I am looking for ways to sync user settings - solutions like roaming profiles, UE-V, even Microsoft Account connection (although this is a domain setting, so I’m not sure if that’ll sync settings for a domain account).

Syncthing came up as one of the possibilities, and I am hoping to get some feedback about how other people are using it to sync their user profile folder - how much are they syncing (e.g. .stignore AppData, certain programs in AppData, ProgramData, some portable apps, etc.) so I can get an idea of whether I want to risk trying it or not

I guess I do have lots of backups, so I could always restore an image if it ends up being an issue :joy:

BTW restic looks nice.

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I think network mounted filesystems would make more sense for what you are trying to do.

You can synchronise folders like Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos between multiple devices usually with no issues (as long as you ignore desktop.ini). When it comes to AppData, I would say that this is just asking for trouble. There is too much Windows and/or Microsoft internal stuff there that isn’t supposed to be shared between different PCs.

Of course, you can sync settings of specific programs, but this would require being very selective, either by creating separate folders in Syncthing for each such application, or using very restrictive ignore patterns. You still will not be able to use the same programs on both machines at the same time. Trying to do so is going to end with conflicts.

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