Apparently I need to pay more attention to the software that Microsoft has up on the Live site.
Recently I decided to look for software to keep my laptop and desktop in sync so that anything I add to folders in My Documents on one machine gets copied to my other. The catch is that one is my work machine, and the laptop is my person machine so things like roaming folders won’t work since my personal machine isn’t on the company domain.
I’ve also got stuff like my PST files from the last several years that I’d like to have access to on both machines, slide decks for presentations, etc.
The first link that I found recommended Windows Live Sync and I’ve got to say, that I was impressed. No files are stored on Microsoft’s servers so I don’t have to worry about anyone getting my files that shouldn’t have them. The configuration is all web based so they have a listing of my directory tree for both machines, but I’m OK with that.
The config was a piece of cake. I installed the software on the desktop and laptop (both of which are Windows 7 RTM) and told it to sync the My Documents folder on the desktop with the one on the laptop. Within a few minutes everything was in sync. And in case you are concerned with prying eyes there’s an Encrypt Transfer option so that your data is encrypted while in transit between machines.
Next I told it to sync the D:Mail folder on my laptop which had the PST files from my previous companies as well as my personal PST files going back to 1999 with the C:Mail folder on my desktop which has my PST files from my current company. All the older files are zipped to keep them smaller since I open most of them so infrequently. That 9 Gigs synced up within 30 minutes or so.
The process was painless and a snap. It detected by Home Router and saw that it supported UPnP so it was able to setup the port mappings on each machine that it needed. It appeared to me that when it was doing the transfer (based on the speed) that it didn’t need to send the data up to Microsoft at all. The router saw the traffic coming back to itself, so it didn’t need to send it out to the net.
The only downside that I see to it is that both machines have to be online for the new/changed files to get updated, but I can live with that. It’s actually better that way so that I know that no files are being stored up on Microsoft’s servers.
Apparently this software has been around for years as when I tweeted about it people told me that they’ve been using it for up to 4 years. Apparently I should have been looking for a solution for quite a while now.
It you have the same issue and are looking for a quick, easy and free solution I’d highly recommend Live Sync.
It even has an option where you can share your synced folders with others. I’m going to try this out with my wife Kris so that we can keep our folders of pictures synced up as we both take pictures and don’t have a master folder anywhere with all of them. This way we can both have a copy of it.
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