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Logging and Trouble Shooting

What to do when things do not work, or something you expect does not happen? Well, AAsync has many built-in diagnostics one can look at to see where things go wrong. First the logs. AASync has different logs which chronicle the workings of various parts of the program. On Windows there is a central log for the AASync service, and for both platforms there are the sync logs generated on each sync run according to that sync's log settings.

The Sync Home Folder:

This folder (SYNC_HOME from now on) is the base folder where AASync stores its information (sync definitions, logs, etc..). You can have AASync open this folder for you with the Tools/Show Configuration Folder menu.

  • Mac: USER_HOME_DIR/Library/Application Support/AASync_3.5
  • Windows: BOOTDRIVE:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\AASync\[Username] (alternatively BOOTDRIVE:\Users\All Users\AASync\[Username])
The Sync Log:

As a part of AASync's normal operation, during each sync a log is generated. This shows the sync settings, source/destination, etc... also it details the changed files. Looking at this log after the sync will tell you how many files have been changed and copied to the destination folder during this sync run. There will be messages about problems that may have ocurred which have likely to prevented AASync's normal operations. This log can be emailed to you after scheduled syncs automatically, see Sync Options for details.

The Service Log for Windows:

The central (Service) log for Windows is in SYNC_HOME\SYSTEM\Logs\[year]\[month]\[day]\AASyncService.log. This log is maintained by the service that executes scheduled syncs in the background. This log tells you how the service is working, reading in changed configurations, executing syncs (see below on how to view these logs).

cThe Sync logs (Windows and Mac):

Under SYNC_HOME you can find the sync homes which are folder with the same name as the sync id of the sync definition inside it, something like 1245786641_4045026341_4087758257_2844902603_2369138240. Inside each sync home folder, there is logs under which you can find all the logs generated by the individual sync runs in a date based hierarchy. On Windows you can configure the app to send you the sync log after the sync is completed.

The Debug Log (Windows and Mac):

If you have any problem with a sync, like error messages you cannot explain, that turn on the debug log (Tools/Start Debug Log menu). This log will be very verbose giving you all the details of communicating with the remote host, etc... On Windows it will also include the log messages generated by the sync service. You can examine this log yourself, or if it looks complicated, send it to AASync Support with a description of the problem you are seeing and we will help you figure out what the problem is.

Here are the most common problems and what to do about them:

UnreadableSource folder errors:

For Macs, this is extremely unlikely to happen, maybe it is a folder that is owned by somebody else with permisions that prevent reading by you. The error will persist until you change those permissions. On Windows you might get errors in the log that says: Unable to read c:\xxx\xxx\
This almost always due to some other process keeping this file open thus preventing AASync from reading it. Closing some other applications and then retrying usually solves this problem. Remember AASync never touches the source folder, so if a file is not readable there, it is always caused by some other program (usually the one that created the file in question. In cases of database files that are always used the only way to backup is to enable Shadow Copying (in AASync's File/Global Options menu. If you have the proper credentials and your OS supports it shadow copy will read and backup your source files even if they are being used by their creator.

Unwritable Destination folder errors:

This is really rare. In fact under normal circumstances it should never happen. If the log says Destination Folder xxx is not writable, you must close AASync, use Windows Explorer to make sure the destination folder really exists and you can create files inside it (hence it is writable).

During browsing a remote host to set the target folder, the browser window just hangs or returns some error message.

This is usually due to network problems preventing access to the remote host, maybe the host is down, or for whatever reason it does not accept incoming connections. Also, it is possible that your own firewall is preventing you from reaching other hosts on the outside. In that case ask you sysadmin about what to do. AASync supports the common forms of access through firewalls, like SOCKS and the FTP Firewall Toolkit. It is also common that users mistype the hostname/username/password which can produce various errors during browsing.

A sync that has worked before is hanging now nothing happens, eventually it times out.

Network/server problems can happen any time, just because the server worked one day, does not mean that it will always work. Also, your login privileges may have been changed/revoked, etc.. In whatever case, LOOK AT THE DEBUG LOG, it usually tells you what the error is. It sometimes happens that the remote machine's setup changes, and suddenly things do not work anymore, even though you still have access to the host. In this case edit this sync and try to reset the remote source or destination folder. The browsing process clears the cached setting for the remote host, so if anything changed, it will work fine after browsing the host and resetting the remote folder. In an extreme case, you can try to set up another sync with the same endpoints. If it works, delete the troubled one.. We must tell you though that this is very rare...

Scheduled sync did not execute...

Scheduled syncs require a license, so if your app is not licensed, scheduled syncs will not execute!

  • Mac:

    In macos, the cron daemon executes scheduled sync runs. BE SURE TO SET THE SCHEDULE AT LEAST 15 minutes ahead of the current time!! If the sync still fails to execute, there are a number of things you can check:

    • Type "crontab -l" in your Terminal window. For each scheduled sync you should see something like:
      #This line is generated by AASync [My Backup Sync] do not edit!
      53 10 * * * /MyApplications/AASync.app/Contents/Resources/AASyncRunner.tool aadef_0687895077_1248784741_1701690449_0972486048_0040430954 >> /Users/vrobi/Library/Application\ Support/AASync_3.5/SyncDefsHome/0687895077_1248784741_1701690449_0972486048_0040430954/CRONLOG

      If this line is missing for the scheduled sync, then try to reset the schedle, save, then check again. If the crontab entry is not there, it means you have a permissions issue on your account preventing the crontab from being saved. In this case I suggest disk permissions repair using the Disk Utility App, or creating a new user account and trying from there.
    • go to the sync's configuration folder (right click on the sync, select "Show Configuration Folder") there is a CRONLOG file which should get an entry similar to this:
      ID:aadef_786308793_xxxxxxx_2047776792 Scheduled Sync Run at 2008-10-22 04:02:00 +0200, User:myuser, Console User:myuser
      If this file is not there, or does not get an entry when the trigger time arrives, there is something wrong with cron, maybe there are permissions problems preventing execution of AASync.

  • Windows:

    The first thing is to check is in the AASync main window, check the "Next Sync At" field. If you set the schedule correctly, the time you see here should be what you think the next execution time should be. If it is not, reedit the schedule for this sync.Once you set the schedule on a sync, the changes will be picked up by the AASync Cron Service that will execute the scheduled sync in the background. If Debug Log in turned on, the Cron Service log will show up within a minute after you make the schedule change to show that the servcie has read the config changes, like this:
    AASyncService: Registered sync definition for user: thomas SyncName:$_1432 [1432507084] ck:[4] at 8/24/2011 5:27:41 PM
    AASyncService: Next scheduled execution for: YOUR_SYNC_NAME : 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
    This means AASync Cron Service has read the changed configuration and it is ready to execute when the time comes. The execution should leave the following lines in the log:
    AASyncRunner: AASyncRunner RunSync: [21924020] user: vrobi
    AASyncRunner: started sync YOUR_SYNC_NAME [21924020] at 4/20/2009 3:31:04 PM
    AASyncRunner: config YOUR_SYNC_NAME [21924020] completed at 4/20/2009 3:31:07 PM Duration: 0h:0m:3s
    AASyncService: Reloaded sync definition for user: vrobi SyncName:YOUR_SYNC_NAME [1749317862] ck:[312] at 4/20/2009 3:31:06 PM
    AASyncService: AASyncRunner.exe ExitCode: 0
    AASyncService: config YOUR_SYNC_NAME Sending Log
    AASyncService: config YOUR_SYNC_NAME Sent Log, result: True
    AASyncService: config YOUR_SYNC_NAME [21924020] has completed at 4/20/2009 3:31:10 PM

    Also, after execution, if you fire up AASync app, the sync in question should have its own log, viewable by right click on the sync and select the "Show last log" menu. If everything looks fine and the sync still does not execute, mail us the sync log and we will have a look...

I launched AASync, it shows that one of my syncs is runnning, but I can't see the log messages.

If a sync was started by the service in the background, AASync will show that it is running, it will also show the result status after the sync completes. However, it cannot show the log messages real time, since the sync is running in the service. After completion, the Show Log button in AASync will open the last log generated by the service run. So, if the sync is set to execute in the middle of the night in the background, you can see the results in the morning by launching AASync.

The sync executes, but there are many messages in the log about files missing, bad characters, etc..

There can be many problems during a sync, unreadable files in the source, other premissions settings preventing from AASync from reading the files, file name incompatibilities between your Windows box and the remote system you connect to, etc.. they are just too many to list. You must read these messages and decide what, if any, you want to do about them. Permissions can be changed, files can be removed, etc. Only you can decide how many and what kind of errors are acceeptable to you. It pays to think through how much of the backed up data you REALLY need and structure your folders accordingly, backing up only the ones you really need.

Symbolic Link handling:

Symbolic Links are special kind of animals. They are not files, simply a pointers to a files or folders. The sync operation creates links identical to the ones in the source folder, the destination of the link does not get copied! In one case, Local-to-Remote sync through FTP, this is not possible because FTP does not include the capability to create links. In this case links are igored.

Shortcut handling:

Shortcuts are really just regular files as far as AASync is concerned. If you transfer them to a unix system for backup and then retrieve them, they should come back as a shortcut.

Case sensitivity:

Be sure to understand whether the source and the destination folders are on case sensitive file systems. If your source is on UFS and have files like foo.html and Foo.html, and your destination is an ntfs (not case sensitive) file system, these files WILL overwrite each other.

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