AutoVer 1.1

AutoVer is a configurable automatic or real time backup and personal versioning system. It can be used as a simple real time backup or as a more complex version control system. The beauty of this system is that once you set it up (which is extremely simple) it does everything. No remembering to backup or to check in or check out files. Every time you save a file it is copied to your backup folder or drive. You can include and exclude certain files and browse the backups with the Backup Explorer.
Great for backing up (or one way syncronising) your work or home documents to flash memory or saving every change you make to your source code or image files.


  • Select any number of separate folders or folder trees (including sub folders) to watch for changes - each folder tree has its own independent settings
  • Select straight backup or versioning mode
  • Select any folder or drive to backup to (including memory sticks)
  • Optionally create an initial backup before the automatic backup starts and ensure it is current on every startup
  • Restrict which files and folders to include and exclude (by file mask) & maximum size
  • Optionally zip or delete old versions after a specified time
  • Optionally delete backup files on original file deletion
  • Fault tolerance in case your backup folder/drive goes off line or source files are locked
  • MS Office and Visual Studio compatible (temp file creation, delete then rename is treated as original file change)
  • Backup file & version explorer included
  • Open backups or file versions directly (file extensions are preserved) or via inbuilt explorer
  • Compare file versions (using customisable external application)
  • Restore file versions via inbuilt explorer or manually
  • Runs discretely in the Windows System Tray
Windows 2000 or greater
.NET 2.0 Framework


Main Screen

The first button on the toolbar (folder icon with + sign) is used to add a new watch/backup configuration. You may add as many separate watches as you wish.
The second button (document icon) will show the properties of an existing watch/backup configuration. Select a watch folder from the list shown in the main panel then press this button for view its properties.
The third button (folder icon with red cross) will delete an existing watch/backup configuration. Select a watch folder from the list shown in the main panel then press this button to delete it.
The forth button (folder with a disk) will ensure that the backup is current. All files on the backup are checked to see if they are current, if not they are updated.
The fifth button (folder with a magnifying glass) will launch the Backup Explorer. Select a watch folder from the list shown in the main panel then press this button to view the files and backups/versions of it.

The 3rd icon to the right (cog icon) will show the application settings. You can customise the compare and viewer applications and set where you want AutoVer loading at startup.
The other 2 buttons to the right are the Help and About buttons.

Watch Properties

On the General tab, select the folder you wish to watch for changes. All sub files and folders of this selected folder will be included. Click the ... button on the right of the folder text box to browse and select the folder.
Note: Do not select the root of C:\ or include the Windows folder,  Windows swap file or any other highly fluid files. The number and size of those changes will impact the speed of your machine.  
Select a backup folder where all of the changes from the watched folder.
If you tick the "Create initial backup" box, then all of the files will be copied to the backup folder (if they do not already exist or are not current - same modified time) when you select OK.

On the Advanced tab, you may alter the Include files. This is a single file mask which is generally "*.*". You can use any other valid Windows file mask such as *.doc or file*.* or file??.doc? etc
Select the files you wish to exclude from the backup using standard Windows file masks. This is commonly set to "*.tmp" (or "*.tmp;~$*.doc" if you use MSWord) to exclude temporary files from the backup. You may select as many as you want by separating them with a semi colon (no spaces). For example: *.tmp;*.old;log.txt;cache???.*
You may also select any folders to exclude from the backup using standard Windows file masks. This is generally left blank, but you may select as many as you want by separating them with a semi colon (no spaces). For example: \logs\;\temp*
Note on File Masks: * means any number of characters; ? means any 1 character. They may be used in any combination.
Specify the maximum size of files to copy. The letters K,M and G are converted to the appropriate umber of zeros.
Tick the box "Include sub folders" if you which to include sub folders of the watch folder in the backup.
Tick the box "Ensure backup is current on startup" if you which the program to check that the backup files are all the latest copy every time the program starts. You can also manually start this this from the main screen.
If you wish to delete backup files when the original file is deleted then tick the "Delete backup files when original is deleted" box. This is not selected by default.

On the Versions tab,
If you wish to keep backup versions (enable versioning) where every saved change to a file is backed up to a separate time stamped file, then tick the "Keep backup versions" box. Versioning is enabled by default. Files will be stored in the format of file.extYYMMDDHHMMSS.ext
If you wish to delete or archive old versions of files, you can specify the minimum age for this to happen in the "For files older than ... days" box. If you do not wish to use this option select "Do nothing". Select "Delete" to delete those files. Select "Zip"
to archive the old files to a file called in the root of the backup folder. Regardless of the files age, the latest version is always kept.

See the "Notes on the Backup Engine" section below for more information about what happens in a backup.

Application Settings

By clicking on the 3rd icon (cog) to the right of the main screen, you can edit the application's settings.
The compare application is the application you wish to use in the Backup Explorer to compare files. The default application in an open source application called WinMerge. You must install this yourself - see the WinMerge web site for more information. You may customise this to which ever application you choose. You also need to specify where the 2 file names will be written into the command line. This is written in the format of {0} {1} where {0} is where the first file will be inserted (in replace of this place holder) and {1} then second file. The default text shown in the textbox will be something like: C:\Program Files\WinMerge\WinMerge.exe {0} {1}
When opening or viewing files in the Backup Explorer, you can change the default alternate application. Image files will default to the application specified in the Image Viewer box, while all other files will default to the Text Viewer application specified. For Image viewing I recommend IrfanView and for text viewing I recommend PSPad. Both applications are freeware.
If the Load on Windows startup checkbox is ticked, then AutoVer will load when Windows starts and minimise itself to the system tray, (providing it has a folder to watch).
The View Log will open the internal log file. To increase the logging level to be more verbose (not recommended), in AutoVer.exe.config file, change the LogLevel setting from Info to Debug.

Backup Explorer

The backup explorer will show the watched folder tree and the files in it just like Windows Explorer does. There is another panel to the right of that which shows the backups of the original file (shown by dates and sizes). If you are not using versioning, then only one file date will be shown, otherwise one or more could be shown.
The 3 buttons on the left of the toolbar are: Show watch folder; Show backup folderRefresh all items.
The 4 buttons on the right are actions for the backup files. They are Delete selected files; Restore As the selected file; Compare 2 files selected or 1 file selected with current file; and Open / View the selected files (with the associated or custom program). The Application Settings screen will automatically open if the compare application is not found.

Notes on the Backup Engine

  • Files are copied when a change occurs to the original file. The copying is delayed until 1 second after the last detected change occurred in the watched folders. This stops interference from multiple writes and large number of file copies which you don't want slowed down by the backup process.
  • In most Microsoft applications, (Word, Excel, Visual Studio) files that are saved, are not saved normally. A new file is created with a .tmp extension or no extension, the original file is deleted, then the temp file is renamed. AutoVer will recognise the renaming of the temp file to a real file and will treat the events as a file change (requiring a backup copy) rather than an original file rename.
  • Versioned files will be stored in the format of file.extYYMMDDHHMMSS.ext - this maintains the sort order, file association (via its extension) and provides a unique name. 
  • Do not watch the whole drive (root) where Windows is located - or the Windows folder as it usually has several highly frequently changing files. Swap files, hibernation files, temp folder, and cache folders have far too much activity and will ultimately slow your system down. It is best to keep your folder selection limited to My Documents and anywhere else which your working files are located.
  • Try to leave a *.tmp file exclusion in as you would be surprised how many temp files are created and destroyed while using certain software.
  • If the backup folder or drive goes offline, the folder is checked every 15 secs until it returns. All operations for that backup folder are cached until 1000 files are queued, then the queue is cleared. Click on the "Ensure backup is current" icon to resync the folders if you suspect they are out of sync.
  • Individual file operation failures (errors copying/renaming/deleting files) are retried over the following 2 minutes then are abandoned.

To Do list

I plan to do the follow items in future versions. Let me know on the forum of any suggested features or changes (or bugs if any!).
  • Add a visual indication as to how big the change is between versions.
  • Add editable comments for each file version
  • Maybe add context menu entry to Windows Explorer
  • Maybe add internal graphic file comparison
  • Maybe add internal file preview


Please read the following terms and conditions carefully before using this software. Installation or use of this software signifies that you accept the terms of this licence agreement and warranty.

1. Disclaimer of Warranty
AutoVer is provided "as-is" and without warranty of any kind, express, implied or otherwise, including without limitation, any warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
In no event shall the author of this software be held liable for data loss, damages, loss of profits or any other kind of loss while using or misusing this software.

2. Licence
AutoVer is provided as FREEWARE for use by any party (private, educational, government or commercial use). If you find this product useful, please consider making a small donation to continue its development.

3. Distribution
AutoVer may not be sold or be included in a product or package which intends to receive benefits through the inclusion of AutoVer - unless authorised by the author. AutoVer may be included in any free or non-profit packages, products, cover CDs or web sites providing that it is distributed in its original binary form (setup package).

4. Restrictions on Use
This software must not be decompiled, disassembled, reverse engineered or otherwise modified. You may not emulate, clone, rent, lease, or sell AutoVer.

5. Linked Modules
This application makes use of linked modules which are covered by their own licences: ExpTreeLib by J.D.Parsells (public domain) and SharpZipLibrary by (GPL with exceptions).

Copyright (C) 2007 by Hunter Beanland. All rights reserved.

Contact Details

Hunter Beanland
hunter @ (please write all support requests, suggestions etc in the forums)
AutoVer website:
Support and suggestion forums:

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Version History

1.1.1 (June 2007) - Add ability to Zip old versions;
Added button to view log file;
Fixed new bugs in backup engine

1.1.0 Beta (May 2007) - Add option to limit file sizes in backup;
Add option to delete old versions;
Add option to ensure the backup is current on start and on demand;
If the backup folder goes offline, operations are cached;
If a backup operation files, it is retried over the next 2 minutes.
Added option to ignore subfolders;
Ability to cancel initial backup
Backup folder can now be inside watch folder;
Add context menus;
Added Save As option to backup view;
Added Delete option to backup view;
Ability Compare backup file to current file;
Open/view backup text or image files in custom applications;
Added sortable columns

1.0.2 (April 2007) - Add checking for backup folder in watch folder;
Removed root folder warning every run; 
Bad backup folder on startup is ignored (assuming backup folder will come online later);
Fixed deleting backup files with versioning;
Load on Windows startup setting;
Fixed support for move operations

1.0.1 Beta (March 2007) - Fixed file exclusion checking on initial backup;
Fixed delayed tree load in explorer;
Load on Windows startup setting;
Ability to customise comparison applications;
Support file open and restore when viewing backup folder in explorer.

1.0.0 Beta (Feb 2007) - initial version