How do I easily, quickly and twice daily sync two computers
May 16, 2006 12:44 PM   Subscribe

I want to easily and quickly synchronize my work laptop with my home office desktop every evening when I get home, and visa versa just before I leave for work. What software and what hardware do I need. Cost is not a primary issue, but time and convenience are. A seamless "plug this here" "two clicks there" operation is my goal. Machine 1/2 is backup for machine 2/1 every 12 hours.
posted by elmaddog to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
depends if you're mac or PC.

For Mac, RsyncX works pretty well for that purpose, and you can script it / schedule it.
posted by freq at 12:54 PM on May 16, 2006

I already asked basically the same question here a while ago and got some very helpful answers. Check this thread:
posted by RoseovSharon at 1:01 PM on May 16, 2006

WinXP already has a feature like that. The keyword is "briefcase".
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:05 PM on May 16, 2006
posted by Cosine at 2:07 PM on May 16, 2006

I've just started making quasi-backups from my work machine by syncing an external firewire drive to it using Unison, and I have to say the experience is nice and easy.
posted by weston at 2:10 PM on May 16, 2006

I'll second blue_betetle's suggestion. Sync Toy does the trick nicely for me.
posted by defcom1 at 2:13 PM on May 16, 2006

If both machines have network access, use a service like and buy some space, there are plenty of options for mounting this drive on either machine at any give time.

You can also run Unison, if you're so inclined, and have it all happen in the background.
posted by iamabot at 3:56 PM on May 16, 2006

Funny, I just spent some time at work today figuring out this exact same thing for myself. Based on recommendations in this thread, I decided to go with FolderShare.

I haven't executed it yet (new tablet will arrive next week), but it should do exactly what you want it to do, without any need to "plug this here" or "two clicks there."
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:01 PM on May 16, 2006

Isn't that what Windows Briefcase is all about?
posted by Doohickie at 4:44 PM on May 16, 2006

Best answer: "vice versa". There's no credit card in there.
posted by Dunwitty at 1:22 AM on May 17, 2006

I posted about syncback in the thread referenced up there ^.
It still looks after my needs for data sync between work, home and a portable hard drive. I don't recommend briefcase, it trys to be too smart in my experience, and tears will flow if one side runs out of disk or some other unexpected issue happens.
Similarly, you want lots of dumb copying, with a fall back to copy both if both are changed, and I find some of the fancy applications fail the 'bullet proof' test. They seem to keep databases that fail catastrophically if there is an error.
My best suggestion is to modify your working habits a little to keep everything you do in a limited number of folders, then make sure they keep cross backed up.
posted by bystander at 3:01 AM on May 17, 2006

You might also consider Allway Sync.
posted by teleskiving at 3:44 AM on May 17, 2006

Best answer: I've been using the SyncToy for quite some time now - has worked well for me to synchronize between laptop and desktop over home wireless or a crossover cable. I simply select the folders that are likely to change - either MyDocs or specific subfolders - and set the shares up differently based on usage (one-way sync for things that should only be archived, two-way for folders that may change at different times, etc.). Running a "sync all folders" will then give me a more customized backup/sync for my system.

The sync stores overwritten files in the trash, so you can recover an old version if you accidentally overwrite it.

My only complaint with it so far is that there is no easy way to filter by file type: For example I can tell it to only sync .DOC files, but I cannot tell it NOT to sync the image thumbnail .DB files: to exclude a file type when syncing, you need to tell it to include all other possible file types. Either that, or just sync all files with no filters.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:42 AM on May 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all. I'm going to check out Foldershare and SyncToy. Special thanks to "caution live frogs" for the warnings.
posted by elmaddog at 11:20 AM on May 17, 2006

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