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I know there is a similar topic on syncing between computers, but I'm looking for an application to run on one computer that will sync a "document/file" folder with a folder on my secondary/external USB drive.

What would be the best solution?

I know I could use Dropbox & Live Mesh, but they use up bandwith which isn't very good when I drop in a lot of large files.

I'm running Windows 7, but I assume any solution for Windows Vista would work just fine.

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Ooh - good question. I'd be interested in Mac OSX Tiger/Leopard suggestions. –  robsoft Jul 18 '09 at 8:57
    
don't use the one that comes with it if you are using sandisk u3 usb drive. it is buggy... –  kishore Jul 18 '09 at 10:22
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@robsoft I haven't tried it, but unison cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison looks like it may work for mac, haven't actually tried it though. –  cobbal Jul 18 '09 at 15:09
    
@cobbal - thanks for the suggestion, will go and take a look. –  robsoft Jul 24 '09 at 7:24
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7 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

You could run a freeware synchronization program. I've used SyncBack (freeware) and I'm very happy with it. I use it to synchronize some folders to as NAS at home.

Screenshot Syncback freeware

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Worked very well, thanks for the suggestions! –  Ivo Flipse Jul 22 '09 at 7:46
    
Lol I already +1 you here ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Jul 27 '09 at 14:55
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You probably shouldn't be hotlinking that image. Upload it to ImageShack. –  MJeffryes Jul 31 '09 at 10:30
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I've used SyncToy from Microsoft in the past - although do note that version 2.0 does have issues with syncing to NAS devices.

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Likewise. I use it to back up data between drives. Combine that with task scheduler to do automatic periodic backups. –  Steve Melnikoff Jul 18 '09 at 11:48
    
SyncToy worked well too, but I preferred SyncBack –  Ivo Flipse Jul 22 '09 at 7:47
    
Other bugs too. superuser.com/questions/13493/… –  Will M Sep 5 '09 at 15:30
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I use Unison with Windows/Cygwin as well as with OSX. SyncBack is a pretty good choice for windows though.

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Unison is great. Been using it for years. Readers should note that Cygwin is not necessary to use Unison on Windows. –  dggoldst Aug 10 '09 at 20:53
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By the look of the work you're doing, I might suggest setting up something like Subversion to do this for you. There are good clients for Windows available, and binaries for the server (and I use the term loosely).

Generally thought of as "for programmers", Subversion (or version control in general) is an amazing tool for managing any kind of document.

Advantages to version control for documents

  1. Easy sync.
    • Version control is designed for developers to easily work on the same set of documents, and keep them all up to date. These design considerations will help you keep your external hard drive, multiple PC's, etc, up to date.
    • If you find the use for it, you can even access your documents via the internet and no longer need to sync to a hard drive.
  2. Control.
    • Version controlled documents can be locked from changes.
    • You can lock people out of changing your documents by only granting them read permission.
  3. Revert.
    • Ever deleted a paragraph only to find you need it three weeks later? Version control can easily revert back to an older version of the document.
  4. Collaboration (related to #1).
    • Share your documents with many users, easily kept up to date with the latest copy.
    • Keep track of who made changes via the check-in log.

Just wanted to toss out an alternative approach, instead of just alternative software.

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Subversion (personally I prefer Mercurial) is fantastic for documents you are working on and actively maintaining. It works much less well for just synching arbitrary folders with files you are not actively changing or maintianing. I love Mercurial for programming and even for more traditional writing. I would not use it to maintain my MP3 collection or even a collection of pictures of my kids. –  TimothyAWiseman Nov 7 '11 at 22:05
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I agree with Ivo, SyncBack is really a great program. Before that I was happily using Second Copy, which works very well also. Note that SC has a free trial and costs $29.95 for the full version.

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WinMerge could also do the trick.

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Allway Sync is a tool that does this.

Short description:

It uses innovative synchronization algorithms to synchronize your data between desktop PCs, laptops, USB drives, remote FTP/SFTP servers, different online data storages and more. Encrypted archives are supported. Allway Sync combines bulletproof reliability with extremely easy-to-use interface.

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