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I have two Windows 7 PC's, one being a desktop and one being a laptop. While I am at home I mainly use my desktop pc, but while I head to university and other places I take my laptop. They are both connected to the same network.

My desktop machine is only on when I am at home, and my laptop is on when im out, however I wouldnt mind leaving my laptop for ten minutes before I go out to sync the files (preferably over Direct LAN or Wireless Connections).

Is their a way to sync both files and programs I install?

Dropbox isnt an option as it only syncs one folder, doesn't have enough space and like most other cloud solutions would be terribly slow.

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4 Answers

If you can create a file share common to both bvckup works brilliantly - it does delta copies (so its fast) and is dead simple. You can set it to do the sync manually. I'd note the original sync has to be one way however.

Otherwise unison might work, but i found initial sync to take ages. Same thing though, does delta copies, but this has its own network backup method, so setting up a file share wouldn't be needed

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I just had a quick look at bvckup. Will it be able to backup both ways? –  MichaelH Mar 30 '12 at 2:28
    
no, one way only. Unison is a better option there –  Journeyman Geek Mar 30 '12 at 2:31
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I know you stated in your question that you're not crazy about cloud sync solutions, but you have the perfect use-case: each computer syncs to the cloud transparently in the background as files change or upon reconnecting to the Internet. If you have a broadband connection, you probably won't even notice the syncing most of the time. Cloud syncing also makes syncing even more convenient in cases like yours, where only one computer is usually online at any given time.

SugarSync and Live Mesh let you sync multiple folders. Keep in mind that you'll still need to install programs on both machines, unless you're using portable installations. SpiderOak also looks nice, but I haven't tried it yet myself. Except for Live Mesh, most cloud syncing services have paid plans that give you higher quotas. Personally, I have PortableApps installed in my DropBox folder, and I use SugarSync to sync other folders that I can't easily move to DropBox.

If none of the cloud sync solutions meet your needs, you can try Microsoft SyncToy or RoboCopy, or try checking out some of the answers to a similar question.

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I ended up answering my own question and like rob said in the previous answer ended up with a cloud syncing solution.

For those of you wondering, I ended up sticking with DropBox as it seemed to be the quickest out of the cloud solutions. It was also my chosen cloud solution due to its LAN syncing feature, which saved me bandwidth.

I made folder for My Pictures, My Documents and My Music in the DropBox folder and took advantage of Windows 7 libraries, redirecting the libraries to those folders.

There were three different ways to keep programs in sync, that I took advantage of:

  1. Programs That Had InBuilt Syncing. These programs (such as Firefox and Chrome), I could just signup to and they would sync history across all my browsers.
  2. Programs that I could redirect settings. These programs (such as iTunes), I could move their settings files into DropBox to sync.
  3. Programs that I could not redirect settings for. These programs were the hardest to sync. I ended up using Microsoft SyncToy to copy files from the program directory to the DropBox folder.

The only problem now is that I need more DropBox space!

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This is a perfect use case for http://labs.bittorrent.com/experiments/sync.html

I currently use Bittorent Sync to keep all my local and mobile computers in sync..

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Welcome to SuperUser! Looks like you've found a useful resource to meet MichaelH's needs. Consider adding to your answer to describe the capabilities of the software more fully and how it addresses the specific concerns he raises. That will make the answer more useful to both him and future readers of the post. –  chuff Jun 4 '13 at 1:20
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