I got a Windows Home Server at home which contains my files on Windows Network Shares. I also have two Laptops, one running Windows XP Home and one running Windows Vista Home Basic.

I wonder if there is some offline/synchronization feature available that allows me to take a Network folder with me. The idea is to keep all paths as \\server\share\myfile, but that \\server\share is mirrored on my local hard drive and used in case the server is not reachable.

I believe to remember that XP Professional/Vista Business have this functionality built in, but sadly I only have Home Versions available.

Is there something that just works? I have SyncBackSE which gets the synchronization really well, but obviously it does not support "re-mapping" \\server\share to my local drive if the server is not available.

3 Answers 3


I do not know of anything part of the operating system that would allow you to automatically sync folders to your home server. Offline file access under Windows XP and Vista Pro would be what you need.

However you may want to look at getting a Dropbox account. It offers exactly what you are looking for but with their server as the central repository. The only unknown is if you could get your home server to sync with dropbox if no users are logged in. I've never tried to do that.

  • That's what I ended up with - Dropbox does what I want and the data is not sensitive (so I'm not worried about giving it to a third party)
    – Michael Stum
    Jan 7, 2010 at 5:56

If I understood you correctly, you would like to have an offline copy of a certain share on your laptop. Something that syncs automatically when the server is available, and provides the data if not.

I don't know of anything else than Windows Offline Folders for that. But you could mimic that by "simply" keeping a local folder (or more) in sync with a server folder (or more).

For that I use https://sync.live.com.

One server (well, two actually), four laptops (one's a mac) and everyone syncs with everybody else nicely. Totally automagic. No hassles, no data "in the cloud". The sync-program also works from an usb-stick, if thats needed at some point.

Positiv: Works as advised

Cost: free

Negativ: Does not sync folders with more than 20.000 files in it. (and there is a way around that too).

Hope I could help.


Have you looked at SyncToy 2.0 from Microsoft? I've never tried it, but I've heard positive stuff about it.

  • Just installed that for another project (where Dropbox is not appropriate), and SyncToy is excellent! Can be automated, has a lot of good options (Optional Full File comparison instead of just size/date, allows to specify if I want synchronization or just pure left-to-right or right-to-left one-way merge, and it's free)
    – Michael Stum
    Mar 28, 2010 at 22:29

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