Skip navigation

Is there a utility to compare folders visually?

59507 Views 77 Replies Latest reply: Mar 24, 2014 7:54 AM by pteja RSS
  • wtigotw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
  • linda2009 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 9, 2013 3:42 PM (in response to murrayE)

    It's been a while since this first posted so you might not get this, but have you looked at Forklift by Binary Nights?



    It does what you're talking about and much more.  It's worth checking out, I think.


    Oh, and there is also Bresink's SyncChecker.  I have not tried it myself, but I own other Bresink software and it is very good software.


  • pjdube Level 3 Level 3 (830 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2013 3:20 PM (in response to murrayE)

    There is also an automator action you can use.


    See here:


    Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 4.19.58 PM.JPG

  • pjdube Level 3 Level 3 (830 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2013 3:26 PM (in response to murrayE)

    have you tried Automator? This action works:


    Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 4.19.58 PM.JPG

  • linda2009 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2013 4:12 PM (in response to pjdube)


    I should learn how to use Automator.  I have never tried using it.  Have you seen a good tutorial for it?

  • pjdube Level 3 Level 3 (830 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2013 4:44 PM (in response to linda2009)

    Yes there are actually several.


    I will lay them out here:


    Mac 101: Automator


    Automator - Your Personal Automation Assistant


    Automator Workflows, LLC (This site has many tuturials and is very helpful, also the owner of this company is very helpful with any questions you have. He has also made a lot of workflow actions that are very useful)


    Automator 101: Building your first worfklow


    Learn Step By Step


    Another tutorial


    Good luck!

  • linda2009 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2013 4:56 PM (in response to pjdube)

    Thank you, pjdube.


    I copied all those links!  A project for me.  Thinking I might start with the Learn Step by Step.  I like steps!



  • pjdube Level 3 Level 3 (830 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2013 5:44 PM (in response to linda2009)

    Sure Linda,


    Glad to help. If you have any more questions, just let me know. You know how to get a hold of me.




  • sergeino Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2013 1:21 PM (in response to murrayE)

    What about GoodSync? See


    I believe this is is what you need. I use it on both MAC and Windows.



  • Schweik Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 7, 2013 12:15 AM (in response to murrayE)

    Of course there is. Mac OS is Unix and therefore there are Unix commands that wil do this. For those of use who grew up on Unix in the 1980s and 90s using SGIs and Suns, Unix would be the first place to consider.


    One command that comes to mind is "diff".  Open an X Terminal and do "man diff".  It will give you a manual listing for this command. 


    The syntax to use is "diff -rq <directory 1> <directory 2>.


    -r for recursively list all subdirectories

    -q for brief mode


    Remember that directory names and file names are all case-sensitive, unlike Windows.


    <directoy 1>  and <directory 2> stand for the path to your two folders. The paths must either be explicit (i.e. starting with "/" and going all the way down") or relative to the directory from which you are submtting the command.

  • J from Bris Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 6, 2013 1:19 AM (in response to linda2009)

    Note that Forklift only check by modification date/time, not by content.

  • J from Bris Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same mission a while back (with about the same criteria) being used to TotalCommander (Windows) and Krusader (Linux).


    In the end I got Krusader through macports to get the job done.  Krusader actually use another tool in the backend (cannot recall right now which one).

  • alpha9 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 25, 2013 11:33 PM (in response to murrayE)

    I'm glad to see this thread is still active. In the 4 or 5 years since I began switching to macs I've looked for an osx app that does precisely what you asked for, murrayE ;-)  I bought pathfinder, transmit, chronosync--they're all fine for their particular uses, but don't exactly do the things you ask for. I tried forklift, but that didn't fill the bill for me.


    I was pleased to learn about kdiff3 in this thread. I downloaded it & will give it a try!


    Beyond compare looks like a great program (haven't used it in windows though) and I have followed its developers' efforts to get that ported to osx--I'd surely buy it if that happens.


    But for hundreds of Gb of photo libraries and mathematical & statistical modeling and analysis work, I need something which I can absolutely, positively trust and that is transparent & easy to use. Just haven't found that on osx yet.


    For now I continue to rely on win apps I've used over 15 years. I keep Total Commander (TC)

    (ghisler dot com) running in a win7 parallels vm (actually in a coherence window on my osx desktop). I use the internal file & directory compare/sync tools in TC some of the time. Most of the time I use Compare It! and Sync It! from (grigsoft dot com) for file & directory compare/sync. I put the source & destination directories in Total Commander's 2 file manager panes and then have an icon on TC's "button bar" which launches Sync It! as a subprogram. TC's file & directory compare/sync tools are great, but the ones from Grigsoft offer much richer customization options for the file or directory operations (and they have a pleasing and functional UIs). Plus you can save custom setups with different parameter & option sets for different types of jobs you might want to do with the grigsoft tools.


    Parallels 8 runs win apps rock solidly for me. Programs and subprograms just open up right on the desktop (in coherence mode).


    I haven't figured out why similar tools didn't seem to develop for OSX. There are several fine OSX sync programs, but I have had trouble getting them to do what I want: Chronosync is fine for backing up a drive, but I've found it for ,say, syncing 1 main folder with hundreds of populated subfolders from a source to a target drive--I can do it, but I've got to be crazy careful or I'll end up duplicating the folders & files inside of one of the target folders or some similar error--instead of just updating the target with changes in the source. I like Transmit, but while I can get it to do precisely the type of directory sync from my local source drive to e.g. a remote web server, I cannot get it to do the same thing onto, say, my local file server.


    I'm happy to use unix command line apps and have used them a lot over the years. But I don't find some script I've written with diff or other utilities as transparent or trustworthy as a GUI which gives me that visual confirmation I like. Wouldn't have rambled on so long except that just now I'm almost done with a Sync It! run checking over 91,000 files and hundreds of Gb from some photo libraries and I can see each file's status before and after. And for some reason a new USB3 destination drive is dismounting on its own which could be catastrophic. Yet Sync It! handles this pretty gracefully, notifying me of files that didn't get copied and letting me rescan and resume.

    I would prefer a native OSX app as doing OSX file management with a win7 vm is a bit scary for a relative osx newbie. But fortunately apps I use like lightroom & photoshop and even mathematical modeling stuff like R and Rstudio, etc. don't seem to mind. The differing permission systems and hidden files like .DS_Store are a bit of a worry, but I haven't clobbered anything in the past 5 years. (Early on, I did have to learn how to reset file permissions with terminal commands ;-) but I don't have to futz with such things much recently.)


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Related Articles

Bookmarked By (5)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.