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I want to create the following scenario:

  • I make changes on a HDD folder (this folder is backed up on the cloud using Dropbox, SpiderOak or [insert your favourite])
  • I make changes on a USB flash drive folder
  • I plug the USB flash drive into the machine, and now I can manually synch the two folders

How can I achieve this in Windows 7 using free or open source software?

Bonus marks if:

  • the option to synch pops up automatically
  • the diffing is readable
  • it's cross-platform
  • it's actually version control requiring minimal setup and interfacing

Currently I'm thinking a WinMerge shortcut will do the trick, but I was hoping something a bit nicer might exist.

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I was using Allway Sync for this. It allows you to do a both-way synchronization of USB disks and your local hard disk when you insert the flash drive.

Synchronize removable devices (USB key, flash drive, CDRW) with a local drive. Get both the performance of local drives and the mobility of removable drives. USB key lost or damaged? Your local drive always has an up-to-date copy. Hard drive crash? Your removable drive has the most current version of all your critical data.

It'll do the synchronization automatically, I believe. But, of course, no version control.

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You could script Robocopy to do this, and you should be able to activate it automatically when you plug in the USB drive by using an autorun.inf file.

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Robocopy doesn't sync both ways, but you could use it twice, with the /XO switch, I suppose, but you would not be able to use /PURGE, which will cause deleted files to be added to both drives again, I think. Also, autorun.inf has not worked that way with anything other than optical discs since XP. – paradroid Mar 3 '11 at 14:43

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