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We're using a PC and a MacBook at home which are connected via a local network. We'd like to have a "master" address book for both computer, so that when contact information is changed on one of the computers, the change can be automatically also synced with the other computer.

How could we do that?

At the moment, we're using the MacOS X 10.6 and Outlook XP on Windows XP for managing addresses, but we'd be also willing to switch from outlook to something different, if it would make things easier...

Would there be a way to sync between MacOS X and Linux? I'm asking, as I'm currently considering replacing Windows XP by Linux and using Windows on the PC only if there is no alternative in a virtual machine.

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You want to share between windows, mac and linux? Where does linux come into it? You only mentioned osx and xp. – terdon Sep 15 '12 at 16:41
@terdon: good point - I edited the explanation in my question. – MostlyHarmless Sep 15 '12 at 19:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If both machines are on a LAN you could set up an LDAP server on one of them and make both system's email clients use it. Wikipedia has a List of LDAP software for various platforms.

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Thanks for your suggestions! What happens, if the computer with the server is switched off? Does the client then have a local copy of the data to work with or is the contact information only available as long as the server is available? – MostlyHarmless Sep 15 '12 at 19:24
@Martin: I'm not sure, there may be a cached copy depending on the OS the client is running on. – martineau Sep 15 '12 at 20:01

You should be able to do this by syncing both computers with gmail contacts. Not an ideal or elegant solution, but it should work. You can also probably do it through itunes on both machines.

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How is a cloud solution inelegant? IMO, it's the perfect solution for what the OP needed. If you want synchronization among multiple platforms with different set of tools, generally the best solution is to have the master copy in the cloud in a tool-agnostic format. – Lie Ryan Sep 15 '12 at 17:10
@LieRyan: IMHO this is not elegant, as I do not want to give all my contact information (personal info about other people) to a data collector like Google. Although I highly appreciate the quality of free google software and services, I have a very bad feeling storing any "confidential" content in their services. – MostlyHarmless Sep 15 '12 at 19:26
@Martin, exactly, any solution involving servers or software you do not control is not elegant. – terdon Sep 15 '12 at 21:34

If you used the Mozilla Thunderbird email client on both systems, there are extensions to sync them via the Internet.

Here's some additional information about sharing address books using Thunderbird.

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A variation of this theme not requiring an extension would be to configure Thunderbird (or perhaps some other email client) to store its address book file(s) in a shared Dropbox folder which would automatically sync their contents between the two computers. – martineau Sep 15 '12 at 20:07

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