Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am currently using rsync to mirrors sets of files between multiple drives. What I do is:

rsync -rav --delete --progress --dry-run /Volume/example1/somedir/ /Volume/example2/somedir/

I then check the output, making sure it's not about to transfer any large files I simple renamed or moved

I then remove the --dry-run flag, append --extended-attributes and allow the command to run (the extended attributes flag adds a lot of lines to the output, and makes it hard to see what actual files are being transferred)

What am I looking for is a OS X GUI application to simplify this to 2 clicks. Basically:

  • It has presets for transfers (source/destination, should delete files missing from source directory etc)
  • When you click "Go", it presents you with a list of files that are to be copied and deleted (excluding hiding the metadata files to be copied)
  • You click "Really go" and it proceeds with the transfer

I've tried two rsync GUI's, Yarg and arRsync - neither make support the --dry-run functionality.

In short, is there a GUI file-sync tool that allows you to check what files are about to be copied? Does such a utility exist?

share|improve this question
Unrelated, but it's interesting how both those GUIs have a pirate theme. – fideli Jan 12 '10 at 21:17

If you don't mind paying for a program you might try doing a search at some of the Mac sites that let you know when new versions of programs/updates are released. I know there's a site called Macfixit that is part of cnet and there's also versiontracker. (and probably hundreds of others...)

One program I've paid for (it's inexpensive, ~$35) is called Synk and has a few different versions (standard, pro,...). It does what you're asking for: it will do a preview run of two directories, subdirectories, etc. and tell you what will be updated or deleted.

I think it's a pretty good program and the developer is responsive. My complaint is that I find it confusing to know exactly what is going to happen and why. (However, if I created some tests and really read through the manual I know I could probably figure it out.) At versiontracker you can see it at:

Another piece of software I just found is backuplist+ an rsync GUI. I've just installed it on an old PowerMac G5 to backup a Netgear NAS weekly. The tests I've done show it to work fine. Unfortunately, there is no preview - the thing you're seeking.

Best of luck, musical

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.