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  1. #1
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    Easiest way to keep laptop in SYNC with desktop without using cloud

    Running W8.1, what is easiest way to keep 2 computers work files in sync, say once a week, without using external servers....please?

    For example, can one put all the work files into, say, a library & copy it across somehow - say every time one goes on a trip or returns?

    For a one-man-band, ie one user, just wanting to make sure that files worked on at the airport, get updated when one gets back to the office machine - & vice versa.

    Nothing too complex, please!

    Thanks in advance for any ideas.

    Colin

  2. #2
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    Well I do precisely that with my laptop and my desktop. After a process of trying several apps and giving up on others, I ended up using GoodSync.
    Can't say I totally like it, since it has some quirks (odd functionality choices) and I simply hate their support (they have some stupid people there - yes, stupid, rude people), but I haven't come close to any app that does the job so well.

    I also elected it because I use it for off site backups to OneDrive, but it can sync your computers without storing anything on the cloud, without any issues.


    I used Cubby, before. They are quite more expensive and that's the reason I dumped them. I liked the app better, but there is no justification for paying $89 / year just to sync your computers. GoodSync costs around $30 (one time fee, plus upgrades between major versions).
    Rui
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    Colin, this is an issue I dealt with in the past quite a bit. It's easier now but still takes a bit of thought - mainly about organizing files so you will know what needs to be synchronized. This is the real key to all of this, by the way. Libraries can be tricky since they are virtual - it might not be as simple as directory by directory.

    The big thing you must avoid at all costs is to change the same file in two places. If you do, there's probably no way to "merge" the changes. One would have to overwrite the other and the question of which one becomes an issue of which is newer.

    The absolute simplest solution is to put the files on an external drive and just leave them there all the time. Sort of like a server you carry with you. They are always up to date regardless.

    If you have any kind of home network, you can connect two computers and sync that way. I've used a utility named TotalCommander for years for all kinds of things, and it can compare two directories and tell you what's different based on date stamps.

    With 64GB and 128GB USB drives being relatively inexpensive, you can copy files between the two computers. Again, TotalCommander would help.

    Without knowing a lot more about your specifics, it's tough to be more exact.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    3 Star Lounger JC Zorkoff's Avatar
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    You should also check out Free File Sync to merge or mirror folders on computers or external drives. I use it for Network Attached Storage as well.

    Also many file managers have a "synchronize folders" function. Check out Free Commander XE as well as Total commander. Power Desk is not free, but has it as well.

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    I use SyncBackFree for all my synchronisation jobs - simple to use, fast and free.

    Hope this helps...

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    +1 for Free File Sync and I've also used RoboCopy which is baked in to Windows 8+ and can be downloaded for prior versions. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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  7. #7
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    W7+ surely?

    cheers, Paul

  8. #8
    jwoods
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    Have you looked at the built-in Windows Sync Center?

  9. #9
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    Interesting that this came up now. I was working on something about 6 months ago that required keeping files in sync between two computers. The rather simple solution that worked then encountered a tiny snag yesterday afternoon.

    Looks like it's time to find a better solution and here is a discussion just waiting for me. One might think that it was some kind of synchronicity if one were prone to obvious word plays.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    5 Star Lounger Vincenzo's Avatar
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    I also use SyncBack Free and SyncBackSE, both great products with good support.

  11. #11
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    It's probably worth pointing out that there is potentially a big difference between a program that allows the user to add/update files to another location and a system that automatically keeps two locations synchronized.

    One tricky bit is dealing with file deletions. I've seen cases where deleted files kept showing back up because as soon as you deleted it one place, the automatic synchronization tried to restore it.

    In the case of the original post, it would appear that this relates to a manual process. And that's what I believe this discussion is centered around. But there is the larger issue of automatically synchronizing one or more computers. I know how to do it with something like DropBox but am less certain how to do it without resorting to an internet intermediary.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm
    One tricky bit is dealing with file deletions. I've seen cases where deleted files kept showing back up because as soon as you deleted it one place, the automatic synchronization tried to restore it.
    That's another reason I like SyncBackFree. Although I could amend the synchronisation rules to deal with deleted files automatically, I find it easier to carry out a simulated 'run' first to highlight files that have been deleted on one side of the 'sync' paths. Then I can decide whether I've actually deleted a file by mistake... and can 'sync' it back during the 'actual' run.

    (I'm sure other products allow for a 'trial' or 'simulated' run... it's just I'm familiar with SyncBackFree.)

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    I too had to develop a solution that didn't involve cloud. It's home-brewed but it works.

    First, I had to accept that the 2 systems needed identical file and folder structures, at least in the key data storage location. The more divergent you attempt to keep the file systems, the more manual steps you have to perform and that comes at the risk of errors, plus it slows the whole sync down.

    Next, I found RoboCopy. It's free, it's ubiquitous, and it's smart about not copying data already on the destination. My version of the command use is:

    RoboCopy C:\Users\myaccount\Documents J:\Users\myaccount\Documents *.* /e /xo /r:3 /w:3

    This copies data directly from one system to the other. The J: drive is a permanent share I have set up for convenience. The /xo switch is important for data protection; it protects files on the destination if they happen to be newer than what the source system has.

    Now, what doesn't this do?

    1). If you restructure your folders on one system only, then this system eventually merges the old structure and the new structure together. Which is bad. The easiest correction I've found is to entirely delete the restructured folders on the inactive system;

    2). If you delete files on one system, the above problem resurfaces. The fix is the same too;

    3). This system really assumes only one user. If there are multiple users then you'd need to add more structure and organization to the system;

    4). This method doesn't copy your Favorites. I manually copy those over;

    5). I get errors on the My Pictures and My Music folders. In my case low use of these folders means the errors are not a serious concern;

    6). If you have files you want synched outside the above mention folders (e.g. the Downloads folder), then you need to manually sync those.

    Overall the system works pretty well for me. The initial sync took a long time. Subsequent syncs are very efficient and can be done in 15 minutes or less.
    Last edited by BHarder; 2016-01-07 at 11:54. Reason: Minor grammar correction

  14. #14
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    . One might think that it was some kind of synchronicity if one were prone to obvious word plays.
    You should be punished for that

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavy View Post
    You should be punished for that
    I hear the Police can be called for that.

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