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I'm using Picasa as my photo management software, and I have a collection of photos that gets downloaded from my cameras either onto my Desktop or onto my Laptop.

I'd like to automatically have copies of all my photos on both my laptop, desktop and my NAS.

Does anyone else do this? Do you have any recommendations for Software or processes? Is there anything I need to be careful of?

I had a look at Dropbox, but it appears to have a 2 gig limit? What about something like SyncBack?

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If you don't mind paying Dropbox can go up to 100GB. – Matthew Lock Jun 1 '10 at 3:23
@Matthew Lock. Just checked the Dropbox website. At $20 a month for 100GB I don't think it's the best solution for my needs, the online access would be handy, but give another few years and I'll probably surpass the 100Gb mark anyway – user9632 Jun 1 '10 at 3:53
Actually suggests that the size limit is only for online storage. – user9632 Jun 1 '10 at 3:56

If you're on Windows, I highly recommend SyncBack Freeware as it has far more intensely advanced options on sync operations. You could go further and purchase the Pro version.

If your machines are on the same LAN then online storage is probably not the way to go as you're sending data to the www and back again. So what you would want is a LAN-aware program. Dropbox is capable of both online and LAN syncing. Note that Dropbox is nowhere near as customisable as SyncBack.

You could opt for simpler file transfers and setup Offline syncing if you're on Windows Vista/7. Or something like Live Mesh.

With your situation you're looking at a lot of redundancy (3 places with duplicate data), which is probably not a bad thing in terms of backups. The only thing you have to probably watch out for is how your syncing solution deals with conflicts (example senario: you edit a photo on your laptop, someone else modifies desktop's copy). I've had bad experience where photos/music were lost, misplaced and duplicated unnecessarily. That's when I turned to SyncBack and spent a nice long time configuring every possible option to produce a perfect sync/backup system to match every need I had. I suggest what ever you choose, that you try these senarios to see how it handles it.

Personally I'd let the Desktop read from the NAS and the Laptop sync with the NAS when its back on your LAN. It's simpler and less duplicates. If you're worried about backups, have a separate folder or drive to highly compress and archive them (preferably physically away from your current data, either online or in another room).

Also have a look at similar questions for more ideas.

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Excellent answer thanks Jay. I'll digest this slowly over dinner and see how it suits my setup. – user9632 Jun 1 '10 at 4:16

Pay for how much storage you need on dropbox and your problems will be solved. not only will you have all your photos but they will be backed up on dropbox servers.

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I am in the process of investigating solutions to this problem, and disagree with the dropbox solution. If you have your desktop and laptop and NAS all on the same LAN, why would you upload your pictures over your relatively lower speed internet connection, when all 3 destinations are connected via the LAN that is orders of magnitude faster? I use dropbox for other things, but not this. The best alternative that keeps everything local that I have found so far is SyncToy from Microsoft, but that obviously will not work on my Linux desktop.

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As Jay mentioned in his post Dropbox can be configured to sync over the LAN rather than the internet: That being said I agree that dropbox isn't the right tool for this job. – user9632 Jun 2 '10 at 11:34

I used Unison for a similar problem (synching data between desktop and laptop), and it worked very well. Main bonus is that it can sync in both directions at once, i.e. it works even if both computers were changed between syncs.

See e.g. for more information.

Unison is available for Linux, MS Windows and MacOS X.

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I've also read good things about Allway Sync:

Also, if it makes sense for you to use it, I would seriously try cwRsync, but getting it set up correctly can be overwhelming.

Only problem I can foresee, which is usually the big one when talking about sync, is what will happen if there's a conflict? This is why Dropbox is so great, because it creates a copy and lets you sort it out later. Most other sync software will overwrite. Try not to think of that as a single case scenario, but rather one that will potentially go un-noticed over a long period of time. Next thing you know, your library is totally screwed up.

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If you are comforterable with the command line, scheduling, etc. you can easily do this by syncing files with the NAS which will in turn keep both computers up to date as well. Use SyncToy, Rsync, or a number of other command line enabled syncing tools.

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