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I've got an application which stores its settings and other data in a specific folder on my hard drive. I cannot change this location without reverse-engineering the application.

I use the application on two computers at my home. I would like them both to share the same folder, so when I saved my data on one machine, it would become available on the other one. I know this will work because it works by simply copying the files, but that quickly gets tiresome and I would like a more elegant way, preferably with features built inside Windows. One of the machines is constantly online, so if I could somehow "redirect" the folder from the other machine to the shared folder on the first one, it would solve my problem.

Can this be done somehow?

Note - the constantly-online machine is running Windows XP Pro, and the other one (a laptop) is running Windows 7 Enterprise.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If your partitions are in NTFS, you could make a NTFS link between the folders, as explained in this other answer.

This will effectively make the same folder available in both places. Any change you make from one location will instantly happen in the other location, because both locations are actually the same folder.

The NTFS Link shell extensions will let you easily create and manage these junction points (and hard links also) from the Explorer context menu.

However this will most likely work only on one of the computers, the one which physically has the shared folder. I doubt you can do that to point on the shared drive.

Edit: Maybe you could combine this with NTFS symbolic links. Unlike a "junction", like the one created with the previous solution, this one allows you to point to network drives as well. The drawback is that it works only on Windows Vista and further versions.

So I guess you would have to make the shared folder on the XP machine (which is already the setting, after re-reading your question), make a junction, with the first solution, with your program folder, and then make a symlink from 7, to this shared folder.

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No, those are hardlinks and junction points. But the Wikipedia article did have a nice further link that Windows Vista and above supports symbolic links, which is what I need. :) – Vilx- Nov 9 '09 at 10:24
Yes, I was adding it in the meantime ;) – Gnoupi Nov 9 '09 at 10:29
Don't know why I would need the junction as you said in your answer - I can simply share the folder on WinXP and make a symlink in the same place on Win7. – Vilx- Nov 9 '09 at 10:32
Oh, true, I was assuming for no reason that this folder couldn't be directly shared. Indeed, it's easier. – Gnoupi Nov 9 '09 at 10:34

You can use the freeware Allway Sync, which can sync both ways.

For syncing over the internet, see this article : Free Ways to Synchronize Folders Between Computers.
It describes how to automatically synchronize two folders using Microsoft's free FolderShare service.

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However this Allway Sync seems to require a "manual" sync, it doesn't automatically synchronize folders on any change, from what I see on their page? – Gnoupi Nov 9 '09 at 10:42
One of the numerous sync utilities is a possibility, of course. It also has the advantage of working when the network is unavailable (and the disadvantage of conflict management when it becomes available). But in my case it is easier and simpler to just use a sybolic link. – Vilx- Nov 9 '09 at 10:56
I came to Allway Sync thru another site that said they do auto sync. I don't use it, although it's highly recommended everywhere. Because I had my own doubts, I've added FolderShare of which I'm sure. – harrymc Nov 9 '09 at 10:59

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