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Keeping folders synced between several machines

I have tried the following two programs over quite some time, so I have a bit of experience with both, and now I want to know if there are any good alternatives.

  • Microsoft Live Sync (formerly Foldershare)
  • Microsoft Live Mesh

Live Sync/Foldershare is brilliant, but also mindbogglingly stupid at times. Sometimes it gets the order of things slightly wrong and presents me with one dialog box asking a question about one file (do you want to keep or delete), and then does the same thing over and over again for hundreds of files in sequence. The only way to postpone the decision is to basically kill the program.

Microsoft Live Mesh is a CPU hog. Funny thing is that it doesn't seem to register as hogging all that much CPU, but when Live Mesh uses 10% cpu, the machine becomes unusable. I suspect it is doing some kind of disk-trashing related resource hog alongside the CPU, which impacts the whole computer. When my gut reaction is to just kill "MOE.EXE" and "MOEMONITOR.EXE" as the first thing each morning in order to get on top of todays tasks, it's the wrong software. Also, Mesh doesn't seem to have any kind of GUI that handles conflicts, nor does it seem easy to figure out what kind of conflicts there are.

So, what alternatives do I have?

My requirements:

  • Work across multiple computers (not just 2)
  • No server-storage (that is, both Mesh and Sync uses a server, but it's optional whether I want to actually store my files on them, I don't want to store my files online, but the online server-database is fine)
  • Automatic, in the background, I don't want to manually initiate a sync, the software should sync the files as it happens, as long as the other computer(s) are online at the time
  • Unobtrusive and smart GUI, no "What do you want to do with this single file" 100 times over
  • Must handle lots of files, one of the directories is a photo directory. Live Sync now fails to sync that folder as it has a limit to the number of files in the directory.
  • Should be able to synchronize changes, not just whole files (it doesn't have to be able to merge simultaneous changes, but it should avoid transporting a 10MB log file if the only change is a line or two added at the bottom)

The requirements I don't have:

  • I do not need to be able to sync MDB or PST files (Access, Outlook)
  • I do not need freeware, I can easily pay for the software
  • I do not need the software to run on anything but Windows
  • I do not need to filter the file types or contents, if I point it to a folder, it can sync everything it finds
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marked as duplicate by alex, Ivo Flipse Jan 22 '10 at 7:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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See also: superuser.com/questions/349/… –  Rowland Shaw Dec 7 '09 at 8:55
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And: superuser.com/questions/79234/… –  sblair Dec 7 '09 at 12:00
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3 Answers

Wikipedia has a list. Of them, Synchronise It! seems to fit your needs the best., but SugarSync might be better.

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Dropbox may be quite useful. You get 2 GB of storage for free, or 100 GB (and unlimited revision history) for $19.99 a month, if needed.

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Unfortunately, it seems that Dropbox requires me to store a copy of my files on their servers, and my photo directory alone is way more than 100GB at present, so that's not an option. Looks quite good though. –  Lasse V. Karlsen Dec 7 '09 at 9:08
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Not sure if this meets all of your needs but have you considered Microsoft's SyncToy 2.1?

SyncToy 2.1 is a free application that synchronizes files and folders between locations. Typical uses include sharing files, such as photos, with other computers and creating backup copies of files and folders.

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