Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there anything out there that can keep files in sync between computers without keeping a copy of the data on a remote host?

I love dropbox and Wuala but don't feel the need to sync my things (also read: PAY to sync my things) to a server that I don't need them stored on.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Sathya Apr 30 '13 at 2:47

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Remotely? Or only within your local network (at home)? –  iglvzx Dec 27 '11 at 21:13
Have you looked into RSYNC? rsync.samba.org –  kobaltz Dec 27 '11 at 21:14
rsync is powerful, but hardly as automated or polished in terms of "automatic-ness". The beauty of Wuala or Dropbox is how well they monitor the filesystem for changes. –  AaronJAnderson Dec 27 '11 at 21:16
Sure rsync is awesome for its own uses, but synchronization means in both directions, which not even two opposite rsync's achieve in a non-destructive way. –  grawity Dec 27 '11 at 23:18
@grawity: This is true. Managing conflicts is a pain. –  surfasb Dec 28 '11 at 7:18
show 3 more comments

5 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If you want something readily available, mature, and polished for Windows, the news isn't good right now. I've been curious about this type of software as well and have been lazily keeping an eye on a few projects. I'll tell you what I know, but I haven't used all of these. Most are still under active development and not all are stable.

New Entry: 2012-Dec-15 SeaFile is a new cloud sync service with all the standard trimmings: 5 GB of free space, syncing between clients, versioning, sharing, encryption (optional), and also includes collaboration. The server and client are both open source, allowing you to host your own server. The server software is Linux only. Clients are currently available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.

If you don't need iOS support (yet), there's SparkleShare. If you do and you've got the requisite skill set, I'm sure they'd appreciate the help. :-) It's using Git as a storage backend. This lets you use your own Git server or any public or private Git repository. I assume that the end goal is for servers to be available on Linux, Mac and Windows and clients on the previous 3 along with Android & iOS.

Update: SparkleShare recently released a Windows version. I haven't had a chance to test yet to see if it's client-only, client & server, or requires Git to be installed as well. All I've found is that there's an .msi available to download.

New Entry: Cubby is a relatively new service from LogMeIn that lets you synchronize folders across the internet with or without the cloud. It's currently in invite-only beta, but it seems that the wait for an invite isn't all that long. People are trading invitations as well. Any folder can be monitored by the program. Clients available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. One of its greatest strengths is that it will let you do peer-to-peer sync of folders across the internet without being forced to use their cloud service. The gain is that you're not reliant on the cloud, the downside is that you lose some of the "cloud" features (sharing, versioning, backup). That feature is now called DirectSync and apparently behind a paywall.

IQBox is another project along the same lines as SparkleShare, but uses Subversion as a storage backend rather than Git. Currently in Alpha on Windows, no other clients available.

Acid Rain is another of the same, only using Mercurial for the backend. Server is Linux only and a Windows client is available.

AeroFS is another "Dropbox on your own systems" setup. It's pretty early in development as well, and currently invite only.

Syncany is a cloud syncing application that allows for a wide range of backend storage (Local Folder, FTP, IMAP, Google Storage, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, WebDAV, Windows Shares, SFTP). Still in heavy development, primary development target is Linux but Windows appears to be a high priority as well.

My gut says that SparkleShare and Syncany have the potential to become the primary projects that the OSS communities support (and $deity knows that there can't be only one -- it wouldn't be proper OSS without a holy war :-) ), but that's purely a feeling with no evidence to support it.

share|improve this answer
acidrain is a new one to me, and probably needs poking at - it looks more polished than the other two, though the documentation is a bit horrid. Syncany interests me due to the wide variety of backends. If any of these gets finished enough, this might be worth a future SU blog post ;p –  Journeyman Geek Dec 28 '11 at 0:01
Acid Rain looks GREAT. –  AaronJAnderson Dec 28 '11 at 19:17
Does Acid Rain have Linux and Mac clients as well as a Windows client? –  Anderson Green Sep 18 '12 at 19:25
@AndersonGreen: According to the Download Page, there's no pre-compiled Mac client and there are limited Linux packages available. That said, the source code is available. –  afrazier Sep 18 '12 at 20:10
Seafile seems to be one, atm. Really looking forward to SparkleShare figuring out large file storage within git model, though. –  lkraav Mar 8 '13 at 14:13
add comment

There is a variety of software out there to sync you data privately.

Wuala actually is very private because it encrypts your data before sending it to their servers. It's still on their servers and it still costs, though.

Added January 6 2013: A perfectly private solution is GoodSync. It allows to sync your devices directly over Internet or locally. It's a nearly zero-config feature called GoodSync Connect that allows me to do this. It is cross-platform and can sync to most types of cloud storage. As a matter of fact, it's my go-to sync tool for any kind of syncing.

Live Mesh:*My original discovery, *Microsoft's own Live Mesh, will stop working sooner or later because it has been replaced by SkyDrive - which does not have the no-cloud feature. Consider this info dated.

Live Mesh allows you to sync an unlimited amount privately1. Mind that you can still sync 5 GB with their server if you really always need to ensure access to your data all the time. What I really love about it is that it allows you to sync any existing folder without constraints to a certain folder on your computer. In this respect it is a lot like Wuala. Windows Live Mesh is for Windows and Mac, no Linux. And it's free.

AeroFS: Syncing any folder is one feature that AeroFS does not have yet. I managed to get an invite and the service is pretty slick and will run on all Desktop OS platforms. Though I barely use it because I have to use the AeroFS folder. I don't feel like moving my files at all. A lot of scripts and macros depend on my current folder structure. Edit: I was not aware of SymLinks at the times of writing this. AeroFS does not do SymLinks.

Gladinet: If you are able to run your own FTP server - say on a NAS - from home you can create a - Windows and Mac - syncing solution around Gladinet. True, it costs a one-time fee, but in addition to various existing cloud storage services, you are able to use any FTP server for Backup and Syncing.

1: You are limited to syncing up to 200 folders, each up to 50 GB in size and containing up to 100,000 files.

share|improve this answer
Doh! I can't believe I forgot to mention Live Mesh. –  afrazier Dec 28 '11 at 0:48
Can you use symlinks in the AeroFS folder like others use for syncing other folders via Dropbox? –  afrazier Dec 28 '11 at 19:43
@surfasb thanks, mate! Did not read that info well enough! –  user 99572 is fine Dec 28 '11 at 23:37
@afrazier I'm sorry, I don't know. Never used Dropbox much. Don't know if they support symlinks. They definitely plan on supporting any-folder-sync –  user 99572 is fine Dec 28 '11 at 23:42
@user99572isfine: NP. Anytime. –  surfasb Dec 29 '11 at 1:22
add comment

OwnCloud is similar to Dropbox but you set it up on one of your own computers.

From wikipedia:

ownCloud is an open source implementation of cloud storage and cloud computing services. It can be installed on the personal web server of the user. It requires PHP and a database (one of SQLite, MySQL or PostgreSQL).

share|improve this answer
This looks awesome. I installed it (quick and easy) but interfacing w/ windows is pretty sad. Windows doesn't do webdav file sharing very well. This would need a local application that syncs a directory w/ OwnCloud to really be effective. –  AaronJAnderson Dec 31 '11 at 13:27
@AaronJAnderson there are some tricks on the their page even if you will have to repeat them after reboot owncloud.org/use/webdav/#Windows –  tidbeck Dec 31 '11 at 13:42
@AaronJAnderson and there are clients under development for various platforms on Gitorious. –  tidbeck Dec 31 '11 at 13:47
add comment

A couple people had mentioned rsync. Bitpocket may be worth a look.

share|improve this answer
add comment

You could try Acrosync. It is a native win32 rsync client with auto sync. You have to visit the site and email them to beta test it, at the moment

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.