Once a week we dip into our reader mailbag and answer your pressing tech questions. Today we’re looking at one-way file syncing, missing boot managers, and how to sync your iTunes collection to your Android phone.

One Way File Syncing

Dear How-To Geek,

I just bought a new external hard drive to backup my photos and videos. I am thinking of setting up a one-way file sync so that all new files on my computer end up shuttled to the external hard drive. How can I set this up so that the new files are moved to the external drive but deletion of files on the computer doesn’t lead to deletion on the external drive? Is there a quick and easy way to do this?


Syncing in Cincinnati

Dear Syncing,

If you’re looking for a practically zero-setup solution that can perform one or two-way file syncs, it’s tough to beat the freeware version of SyncBack. You can download a portable copy here. Run the application, create a new profile, and then hit up the advanced tab in the profile creation menu. Set the source and destination directories (the folder on your computer and the folder on your external HDD, respectively), and then set the settings as seen in the screenshot above. We opted for a cautious approach and set it so that when there are file changes they aren’t automatically overwritten (this way if you edit a photo, save it, and then regret your changes, it isn’t automatically overwritten in the next sync).

In light of that concern, that files might be overwritten when you want access to previous copies you might want to check out other solutions that are more focused on backing up files with file versioning. File versioning is where your backup software keeps multiple backups of documents as they change. This way if you realize a few weeks after the fact that you really wanted a prior version of a document or photo you edited, you can retrieve it from the backup. CrashPlan has free software that includes local folder, network drive, and remote backup with versioning.

Repairing “BOOTMGR Is Missing” Error in Windows 7

Dear How-To Geek,

I really hope you can help me! I installed Windows 7 on my laptop but I get the error “BOOTMGR is missing” when I try to boot into Windows. It says to hit CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart but that doesn’t help at all. I checked the HTG forums but some of the tips involve actually being able to access Windows and check things out. What can I do if I can’t boot into Windows at all?


Trapped in Topeka

Dear Trapped,

Your problem is not an uncommon one and we’ve previously shared a how-to guide on correcting the problem. You’ll need your Windows installation DVD. Alternatively you’ll need to burn a recovery CD which means, unfortunately, you’ll need temporary access to another computer if the laptop in question is your only machine. Once you have the disc it should only take you a matter of minutes to fix the problem! You can read more here.

How to Sync iTunes to Your Android Phone

Dear How-To Geek,

I just got my first smartphone, an HTC Evo running Android. I’m a long time iTunes user with an immaculately organized collection. How can I best sync music from my collection to my new phone?


Evo Owner in Erie

Dear Evo Owner,

You’re in luck (and not just because you scored a sweet new Evo); we recently wrote up a guide to both syncing iTunes to Android and customizing your cover art. You can read more here. While you’re at it, you can get up to speed with your new Android phone by checking out some of our previous Android-related articles here.

Have a burning tech question? Shoot us an email at ask@howtogeek.com and we’ll do our best to answer it.

Profile Photo for Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Senior Smart Home Editor at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at How-To Geek, Review Geek, LifeSavvy, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker's Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek.
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