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Are there any tools that would allow me to basically have all the same stuff I have on my laptop on my desktop? Right now I have a file server that stores the My Documents folders, but I'd like to be able to sync my IE and Firefox bookmarks, passwords, subversion repositories, FileZilla configuration, and so on. Frankly, I'd even want to sync new software installations and upgrades.

I guess that I could spend tons of time trying to figure out what files store what settings in Windows and then install SyncBack or something, but isn't there an easier way? I'm running Windows XP and considering upgrading to Windows 7. I'll greatly appreciate any suggestions!

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I like this question. I'd be interested in the answers people suggest – ianfuture Nov 2 '09 at 19:07
@Merstzik: What do you want to achieve with the bounty? Are you looking for something specific or just more solutions? – Tom Wijsman Mar 29 '11 at 11:31

14 Answers 14

You could use

You could use portableapps for others but that wouldn't work for two computers at a same time like briealeida said.

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Look into using Windows Live Mesh. There's a storage limit though. Just a thought.

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This is the one I was thinking of yesterday but couldn't remember it's name. I reckon this might be the one you are after. – ianfuture Nov 3 '09 at 20:36

Microsoft Synctoy is pretty good at syncronizing files over a network share.

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  • Syncing Documents should be really easy, just use a service such as DropBox or Syncplicity.

Now for the programs. I wouldn't really recommend any direct copying of program files, since this can cause conflicts with the registry, and other such complications.

My real solution would be to use PortableApps.
With a bit of patience, this solution can work wonders. The applications are perfectly self-contained and can store settings and other such program data.

Just get yourself a reliable USB flash drive, and throw some apps onto it. The apps you mentioned are all available as portable apps (with the exception of IE).

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I love PortableApps but what if the OP wants to use both computers simultaneously? – briealeida Nov 2 '09 at 19:18
@briealeida I see what you're getting at. I can't offer a really elegant solution using PortableApps – Redandwhite Nov 2 '09 at 19:36

Windows Vista+ added hard links, which I use with DropBox to sync Firefox settings and so, without FF complaining they're missing! Use mklink from cmd!

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or Link Shell Extensions -… – Nicu Zecheru Apr 5 '11 at 12:22

Windows Live Mesh. In addition to synchronizing selected directories between one or more computers, Live Mesh provides the capability to remote control computers that are part of the mesh. That's particularly handy when you are away and forget a file in a non-synchronized folder (as I did this morning). Live Mesh also provides a "cloud desktop" that allows you to access all of your files through a browser regardless of what computer you are actually using.

Live Mesh is still a beta product. There is also a Mac version (also beta).

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All of the above suggestions are good.

  • Specially Windows Live Mesh is a great piece of software. you can use that software to synchronize file folders on multiple computers. There is a folder size limit of 25 GB.
  • Windows Live Sync ( another folder/file sync software without any folder size limits
  • for software tools you can always use the portable versions of software then installer. Above 2 tools will help you synchronize software utilities

Hope this helps.

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While for the browser passwords there is a solution like lastpass, bookmark synchronizers etc., there isn't a general solution.

The suggestion of redandwhite to use Portable Apps, can solve this for products that have a portable version, but not all do.

The File and Settings Transfer Wizard can be a partial solution for Microsoft products, but you're certainly going to have a problem with license activation.

If I could work out a general solution for this problem, I would be too rich to spend time on this forum.

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From the requirements I don't think it can be easily or cheaply done. The only thing I can think of is to install a Virtual Machine Host (e.g. VMware or Virtualbox) on both machines, and then sync the folder holding the VM Guest between them. Although I suspect you would have to have both VMs powered off to sync properly.

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All you need to do is use Portable Versions of applications (Most applications have them now days)

If you use DropBox just drop those portable apps in to the folder and you will have the same settings, contents, etc on every computers in 3 seconds. For example, you mentioned FileZila goto Protable File Zilla and add that to your dropbox folder, and you will see the exact same program with your server information and settings on the other computer.

Use that website to find the portable apps, they have a great database. Let me know if you have any questions :)

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I just thought of EyeOS. Its a webbased Operating System. Take a look at it here: EyeOS demo Server

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I use the freeware AllwaySync for all my synching needs. Lots of ways to trigger sync, including connecting a USB storage device. Fast, stable, and reliable.

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Windows Live Sync would do the trick. Works only for Mac and Windows though.

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Dropbox + is great for keeping settings in sync between computers. Move the settings files to Dropbox an drop a Symlink in where they came from.

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