Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 09, 2016, 03:50:49 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?  (Read 42133 times)

urlwolf

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,797
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Do you keep two computers synchronized?

I think this is a common situation nowadays; a modern OS should consider it as an usage case and make provision for it. But alas, no OS does!

I want to have my entire 'data' partition synchronized at work + home.
Ideally more than 2 computerx should be possible.

The idea I have in mind is to have a central server that contains the latest copy of everything, and then clients that grab stuff from the server on a timely basis (e.g., hourly).

I'm planning on using SFFS, it's ... flexible; but it's a pain! You have to estimate which areas are the most active and should be copied to the server... and which areas are inactive and not worth monitoring.

Of course, everything can go horribly wrong and you may have an older copy overwrite a newer one. This takes careful planning, and to tell you the truth, I'll never be sure.

I'd love to get to push one button, and make sure all computers are synchronized, but the reality of it is that it's really dangerous and hard to achieve.

Anyone having such a setup working?
How did you do it?

Thanks!

justice

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,898
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2008, 11:57:51 AM »
http://DropBox. Only 2GB at the moment, but in the very near future 50GB. It just doesn't get easier than this, they solved the problem. You don't have to push a button.

Darwin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,984
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2008, 12:07:22 PM »
Great topic - I'm just wandering into this morass myself...

For now, I'm using a USB backup drive and Super Flexible File Synchronizer (fortunately for me, I'm synching two notebooks), but I'm keen to read about other ways in which this is tackled. As discussed elsewhere, the biggie for me is e-mail, particularly sent messages. Why is it so freaking difficult/risky to sync two pst files?
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

yksyks

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 476
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2008, 12:40:03 PM »
At the moment I'm quite happy with FolderShare. It's for free and you can have up to ten synchronized "libraries" of up to 10.000 files. What I like about it is the fact that this is not a remote storage, just sync service. The advantage is that when both the computers are on the same LAN, they are connected peer-to-peer, so you can sync many gigabytes in a couple of minutes, which would be impossible via internet.

I only had slight problems with Excel files ever changing theirs timestamps (described here).

For this reason and for the case of any other disaster I'm running on one of the computers FileHamster, which keeps automatically different versions of important files.

This setup is not suitable for every situation, but it works completely unattended, reliably and doesn't cost me a dime. Hope this helps.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2008, 01:11:45 PM »
I want to have my entire 'data' partition synchronized at work + home.
Ideally more than 2 computerx should be possible.

The idea I have in mind is to have a central server that contains the latest copy of everything, and then clients that grab stuff from the server on a timely basis (e.g., hourly).

If it's your own business, and you're using Windows Server, you're already set to go. Set up users to have roaming profiles and host the home directory on a network drive. Then you can log on using any machine on your network (or connect remotely) and much like Moby Dick, your files will rise to meet you.

You can also invoke the "make files available offline" option for mobile PCs. Whenever you log in (or out or both depending on how you set it up) all files in the specified directories will be synchronized.

If that's overkill, (or you're talking about a home network) give Allway Sync a try.

http://www.allwaysync.com/

Set up a directory on whatever you're using as a server and use that as your central storage point. Use AllwaySync to keep things synchronized. Combine that with one of the web backup services like Drop Box to create an "offsite failsafe" and you'll be better protected than some businesses I know.

BTW: Make sure your system clocks are also kept in sync. File timestamps are absolutely critical when you're synchronizing files.

 
Why is it so freaking difficult/risky to sync two pst files?

Primarily because a pst file is a database rather than a simple collection of individual message files. Your Outlook e-mail application enforces its own internal integrity and structure checks on the database. Hard to tell exactly how Outlook tracks things, but I would assume it hashes the pst file periodically and stores the result internally. It then checks the latest hashkey when it opens the pst file. If there's a mismatch, it knows some other app has changed the pst file. Outlook tends to view any changes made to pst by outside programs as file corruption.  So to do it correctly, Microsoft would need to provide some sort of "smart merge" feature for pst files. And  I doubt MS will be in any rush to provide that feature since it would remove some of the rationale for needing to buy MS Exchange. ;D

Darwin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,984
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2008, 01:56:50 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to reply to that, 40hz  :Thmbsup: The solution I use now is to open the pst from one computer in the other installation of Outlook and simply "copy to folder" the sent items that I want synced. It's not that cumbersome and doesn't even take that long, but it's the principle of the thing that bothers me  ;)

The italicized phrase above used to have me seeing red when I was in Korea... ESL teachers are apparently a principled lot! That and professional - I was constantly  being tut-tutted for the lack of professionalism in the way in which things were done by the company we worked for. These are the same people in whom a sense of professionalism extended to effing and blinding at the manager if they didn't get the schedule they requested for the month  ;D
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2008, 01:59:07 PM »
I think this is a common situation nowadays; a modern OS should consider it as an usage case and make provision for it. But alas, no OS does!

Technically this isn't true as that is what online Operating Systems are for but you have to juggle with the bugs and the privacy issue etc. etc. but it is a service worth following as the technology matures.

The common thing I hear is users just using online services like Google Docs to maintain their files.


PPLandry

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 694
    • View Profile
    • InfoQube Information manager
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2008, 02:50:40 PM »
Why is it so freaking difficult/risky to sync two pst files?

This is one situation where using some other email client (one which saves emails as .eml files), would be better.
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present -- Albert Camus -- www.InfoQube.biz

MrCrispy

  • Participant
  • Joined in 2006
  • *
  • Posts: 331
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2008, 03:40:36 PM »
I'm always surprised at how few people are aware of Live Mesh (mesh.com). I don't like Dropbox at all, the 2GB limit and the requirement for everything to be under the dropbox folder is too limiting.

Live Mesh keeps my documents, music and other data in sync across 3 pc's and also keeps a copy online so I can access it from anywhere. And it has remote desktop to any pc as well. I think its a fantastic product.

Darwin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,984
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2008, 04:09:03 PM »
Hmmm... 5GB - nice and I've already got the Live! ID to sign in and start using it. What's the cost going to be when this goes live (pun intended!)?
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,723
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2008, 04:22:12 PM »
I use Microsoft Groove 2007 for my local networked computers, but it still keeps them synchronized across the intertubes (laptop when at school, etc.) which is nice when working on an essay or programming something. But it really isn't meant for large scale synchronization.

It has a 2GB folder limit, but you can synchronize as many folders as you want. So it's kind of like having an infinite number of Dropbox accounts, except you can use any folder on your computer, and the data doesn't have to be saved in the same path on each computer. For example, I might want to keep my essays on my computer in a "D:/School/2008/English/102/Essays" directory. But on my wife's laptop, just in the "My Documents/Essays" directory for easy finding.

My only real complaints about Groove are that you can't filter files by anything other than what Microsoft Office determines to be good or bad. And it's all or nothing. Meaning that if you want to update exe files, you have to disable the filter and allow all files in the directory to be shared. It would be great if I could add individual exceptions to each directory as needed.

Other than that Groove is awesome!


PPLandry

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 694
    • View Profile
    • InfoQube Information manager
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2008, 04:29:11 PM »
I'm always surprised at how few people are aware of Live Mesh (mesh.com). I don't like Dropbox at all, the 2GB limit and the requirement for everything to be under the dropbox folder is too limiting.

Live Mesh keeps my documents, music and other data in sync across 3 pc's and also keeps a copy online so I can access it from anywhere. And it has remote desktop to any pc as well. I think its a fantastic product.

I tried live mesh and it was a very bad experience (XP SP3). Files were not being synced or very slowly (not like DropBox instant sync) and when I tried to uninstall it, I had major problems. Now it is partly installed with remnants here and there and a second virtual screen called "Live Mesh Remote Desktop Curtain Driver" and no idea on how to remove it
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present -- Albert Camus -- www.InfoQube.biz

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2008, 05:10:22 PM »
Quote
Oh well. I was all set to go with DropBox, based on lots of praise, but the price killed the deal.

I'm no ueber-downloader or power user, but I do need a complete off-site backup for peace of mind. Since I'm gradually getting rid of my CDs, my backup will max out down the road at about 500GB, I'm estimating. (I'd like to do a complete image of my 2 drives as well.) I'm sorry to be stating the cold, hard facts, but $10/mo for 50GB is nonsense -- just way overpriced. ElephantDrive and KeepIt will do $5/mo for unlimited storage (1TB+). Their GUIs are very functional. And ED uses Amazon, which isn't going to be closing shop anytime soon.

Good luck to you guys, but I don't understand why you don't alter your revenue model to attract all the users who are clamoring for no-hassle system backups.

Last reply in their Going Public Blog Post. I haven't tried the service but I too am baffled by the recommendations.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 05:14:38 PM by Paul Keith »

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2008, 05:21:10 PM »
The solution I use now is to open the pst from one computer in the other installation of Outlook and simply "copy to folder" the sent items that I want synced. It's not that cumbersome and doesn't even take that long, but it's the principle of the thing that bothers me  ;)

But your solution is so simple and workable! That's it's own principle right there. ;D

In the immortal words of The Clash: "Sod Art! Let's dance."

Darwin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,984
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2008, 05:30:16 PM »
In the immortal words of The Clash: "Sod Art! Let's dance."



You're right, of course. This system has served me in various incarnations for years - it really became workable when I started using SFFS - and there's no compelling reason for me to switch to anything else.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,141
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2008, 05:40:14 PM »
Thanks for the interesting thread. I tend to use Microsft's FolderShare to link to whatever files I need across my PCs, because it meets my 4 main criteria for use:

1. Good functionality (i.e., it does what it should).
2. Good price (i.e., FREEware or, at worst, reasonably-priced shareware).
3. Self-contained and independent (i.e., no forced dependencies on other, unnecessary or proprietary products).
4. Stability (i.e., it works, and has no annoying bugs - ß products are OK though).

I had not heard of DropBox or Live Mesh (mentioned in the comments above, so I went to the home pages for these two to run through the intros.

Result: I am going to try out DropBox.

WARNING! --- Start of rant ---
I went to Live Mesh first and clicked on "Take a tour", only to have a pop-up tell me that I had to "Install Microsoft Silverlight for a better experience on this site". Yeah right. Criterion #4 just fell over and I hadn't even got anywhere near the software I was interested in. Strike one. What beats me about this is why anyone in their right mind would force a dependency on an unnecessary product in order to communicate their sales benefits pitch. Experience shows demonstrably that, to be successful, marketing communications must operate at the lowest common denominator. They will never know how many people they just turned away by that single simple act alone.
On top of that the "Silverlight" pop-up wanted to access some new site - "agappdom.net" - that would not own up to who/what it was, so I became suspicious of it.
Live Mesh can get lost for all I care.
---End of rant ---

kartal

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,529
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2008, 05:45:34 PM »
2 free alternatives for file folder syncing
http://www.collaber.com/
http://www.collanos.com/

these are also great for teamwork. They are similar to Groove.

I also love powerfolder for  syncing computers
http://www.powerfolder.com

Grorgy

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 821
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2008, 06:40:54 PM »
I keep my 2 computers more or less in sync (data not programs, I try to keep the laptop as lean as possible).  The amounts of data involved are not huge, 30gb of music looked after separately, and about 5gb of other stuff.  Files i am working on regularly, essays and notes, are kept in dropbox and now evernote, the other stuff that doesnt change day to day (new documents downloaded from libraries or databases whatever) gets the SFFS treatment (as does new wallpapers and Icons and photos)  Works for me, but as I say I don't have a lot of data, though, it does grow week by week.

urlwolf

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,797
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2008, 06:43:48 AM »
@grorgy:
yes, large collections that change little with time (i.e., music, papers) are a pain because scanning them for changes takes a lot of time and HD activity.

How are macs faring in this business? I have heard good things about time machine... nothing about synchrization.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2008, 07:46:57 AM »
I have heard good things about time machine...

Time Machine is very impressive.

I also suspect it's just Subversion VCS tricked out with one of those stunningly beautiful front-ends Mr. Jobs & Co. do so well. Apple actually made version control look pretty. That's gotta be some sort of breakthrough right there.

Who says you can't put lipstick on a pig? ;D

justice

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,898
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2008, 07:49:08 AM »
as long as you don't kiss it.

urlwolf

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,797
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2008, 11:25:02 AM »
The first OS that solves the synch problem gets my vote.
I'm serious. I'm sick of not having the latest version of each file, or not being sure.

I'm mailing files back and forth because I'm too lazy to set up SFFS and run all the tests needed, plus I know sooner or later I'll overwrite something valuable.

cmpm

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 2,025
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2008, 11:53:51 AM »
http://www.adrive.com/

has been much better with 50 gb of free storage
fairly fast upload
no autosync though
can keep more then 1 copy of whatever with this much space
java or basic uploader available

http://www.xdrive.com/

5 gb of free storage with sync capabilities
desktop app is adobe air now
much better then the first program they had
or there is a web interface that works very good

http://www.syncplicity.com/

if you want to spend money this is instant syncing
home network or internet
it can be paused in an instant with it's tray app
keeps deleted files in it's own recycle bin
fastest i've seen, though i haven't seen a lot
2gb free, the rest is $
as a beta tester i got 4gb free
so i could be biased :)

-----

note-always save old file after revisions

Darwin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,984
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2008, 11:55:46 AM »
SFFS is actually pretty foolproof. It DOES take some time to set up, but you can set up a huge number of different profiles and run them automatically, without user intervention required. You have options when setting these sync profiles up to add new files without deleting old ones, etc. So I guess my point is: don't be lazy! Get off your duff and set SFFS up! It's worth it  ;D
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

urlwolf

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,797
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how?
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2008, 01:12:57 PM »
I guess it takes less time to configure SFFS than to change the entire OS :)
@cmpm. thanks for the resources.
I have my own server so I'll sync to that, no need for a third party (besides, I prefer not to upload important stuff like working papers or code to a place I have no control over).