A System Administrator's "Must Have" Tool
February 10, 2019

A System Administrator's "Must Have" Tool

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with BeyondCompare

I work in our QA department, and all of the Systems Administrators (Microsoft Windows) use BeyondCompare when troubleshooting configuration files for web-based applications. What are the differences between this configuration file and that one? Load both of them into BeyondCompare for text searching and - bingo! - any differences stand out like a sore thumb.


  • Comparing two configuration text files side-by-side is a snap. BeyondCompare quickly and clearly shows each and every line of text that differs between the two. That makes it very easy to see, for example, if someone modified a config file, or if a URL is wrong, etc.
  • When comparing two files that are lengthy, BeyondCompare has this wonderful feature that allows you to clear out all the clutter and see only the lines that differ. What a huge help!
  • Need to compare the contents of one folder with the contents of another folder? Easy peasy! BeyondCompare to the rescue.
  • If you want to merge the contents of two or more folders, again with BeyondCompare it is a snap. Drag-and-drop the folders into BeyondCompare and ba-da-bing you've solved your issue.
  • Want to keep the contents between folders synchronized? What a headache to have to do that manually, and often only because we forget, "Oh. Yeah! I modified that file last week and forgot to synchronize it with my target folder." BeyondCompare to the rescue. Folder sync is also a snap.
  • Want to merge the text content of two or more files? Good luck with doing that manually. Use BeyondCompare!


  • There are several operations that one can do with BeyondCompare, but the icons for them are all on one line, so you have to scroll (using a> on the sides of the screen) to see the next six options. It would be nicer if one could have them in a grid and move them around so they're in the order you want.
  • I'm not a big fan of the "Auto-saved" sessions feature because I don't generally keep coming back to the same files. I'm all over the network looking at configuration files and those that I place temporarily on my desktop. At least they created a relatively simple right-click, clear contents option so I can get rid of the session's clutter.
  • I would especially like to have an ability to have BeyondCompare open on one monitor and have it interact with content in a remote desktop session that is open on a second monitor, like being able to drag and drop content from the RDP session to BeyondCompare would be amazing.
  • ROI ($): I can't put a dollar value on this, but the amount of time invested in troubleshooting computer software/infrastructure issues -- which simply means how much is it costing per hour for a person to do that job (which means labor costs) has been absolutely HUGE. For example, pouring through a web.config file on one web server and trying to compare it with one from another server using Notebook or Notebook++ can be very time consuming (not to mention frustrating and energy draining), but with BeyondCompare, the time it takes to spot such differences is reduced to a couple of minutes -- and most of that is finding the two or more files to compare.
  • Reduced troubleshooting time: troubleshooting complex web-based applications in a Windows environment across multiple infrastructures can be a real nightmare. BeyondCompare has made that aspect of my work significantly less painful and quicker to do. See the example above.
  • Notepad++
Notepad++ is a step up from Microsoft's built-in notepad, but it doesn't even come close to comparing with BeyondCompare (pun intended). Notepad++ is better suited to working with a single text file and inserting line numbers for you. BeyondCompare goes far beyond that to help with comparisons of text, MP3 files, image files, registries, and directories. It also shines in aiding with merging the content of multiple text files or even directories. When I need to keep a directory synchronized with another, I go to BeyondCompare. Notepad++ doesn't even come close. Contrasting the two is truly a case of mixing apples and oranges... or maybe apples and raisins.
BeyondCompare is just SO easy to use. It is quick, accurate and intuitive. Online help is available as well, but rarely needed.
Again, given the intuitive nature of this program, there is barely any learning curve needed. It is simple, reliable, accurate, and just one of those tools you always have with you and rarely think about until you don't have it. Then it is a case of OMG what was I thinking? This program is just very easy to use, and that makes it more valuable to me than some of my other software tools that cost significantly more.
It absolutely shines when it comes to comparing the textual content of two or more files. It also does well when comparing the contents of two or more directories (folders), synchronizing folders merging the content of multiple folders and merging two or more text files. I haven't actually done table compares, hex compares, MP3 compares, picture compares, or version compares, but if these work as well as the other features, then they are simple to use, intuitive, and quick. The ability to compare registries (a Windows construct for those who don't know what that is) has made my support work so much simpler. Great tool!


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