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Author Topic: Windows Live Sync Alternative?  (Read 10173 times)

yksyks

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Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« on: November 24, 2010, 05:02:02 AM »
In the thread Synchronizing a few folders between two machines? I confessed that I'm using the Windows Live Sync. I'm still quite satisfied with it, but they are going to stop this service soon and replace it with Windows Live Mesh 2011. This service promises to be better, but it won't be available for Windows XP anymore. What a shame... I refrain from any comments.

So, at my 400th post here I'd like to ask this honorable community for advice about possible alternative. What I need:

1. Unattended bidirectional sync between pairs of folders on different machines (all Windows based — XP and Vista)
2. Resolving conflicts (when edited on both sides at the same time), either by report, dialog, or by automatic renaming of conflicting copies (WLS does the latter)
3. Working on LAN, and when not on the same LAN, automatically using internet without complicated VPN setup
4. No storage on dedicated servers or intermediate media, as this would slow down the process
5. Freeware

WLS does all this, and in addition it even allows remote access to files. After quite thorough research I'm still unable to find an adequate replacement. Is it really that unique?

Thanks in advance for any idea.

yksyks

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2010, 12:14:58 PM »
Not a single response... Is MS really so indispensable?

OK, so what if I back off from freeware?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 03:42:34 AM by yksyks »

cmpm

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2010, 01:05:10 PM »
You can use 5gb of skydrive*works on XP* to sync with live mesh.
I've not tried but this says it can-

https://devices.live...torage?wa=wsignin1.0

yksyks

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2010, 02:44:15 PM »
Thanks, but I can't. According to the page you mentioned:
Quote
To begin syncing folders here, start Windows Live Mesh, or install it if you haven't already.
So, I'm back again at the XP limitation...

Besides, 5 GB is okay, but it would take ages on my connection to use it. That's why I wanted to have internet just for connecting to the sync database, not the data in majority of cases, only when I'm off the house LAN, but the main "big" sync is done locally. This seems to be an absolutely unique feature of Live Sync.

Bamse

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2010, 03:03:20 PM »
Not what you asked for but I hope you test and report back ;) Gbridge http://www.gbridge.com/

To get you interested a quote from their forum:

Quote
I got to gbridge because I was looking for an alternative to microsofts live synch which no longer supports xp. It would be nice if there was a simple way to setup two synch. I got it to work relatively easy but it seems odd to have to set it up in both directions. Would be nice if you could just click a button for two synch.


Close but close enough? May be the closest you can get.

cmpm

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2010, 03:08:00 PM »
I was thinking to get logged into skydrive from the W7 computer,
and sync from there. If you can do skydrive and mesh on w7.

GoodSync is my recommendation (again), if that don't work.

http://www.goodsync.com/

$30
#3 I haven't tried in your requirements.
The rest works.

cmpm

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2010, 03:11:54 PM »
You can mount skydrive with Gladinet if that helps.

http://www.gladinet.com/

40hz

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2010, 03:16:17 PM »
Not a single response... Is MS really so indispensable?

OK, so what it I back off from freeware?

I have several clients asking the same thing.

AFAIK the short answer is that there isn't any product out there that does exactly what Mesh does (i.e. sync+cloud storage+remote connections) the way Mesh does it.

The offsite storage part is easy enough. Lots of suppliers from Microsoft to Dropbox will give you a free account. It's the seamless synchronization part that gets kludgey. In theory, you should be able to map Skydrive and use any folder sync software with it once you do. In practice, it either doesn't work reliably - or it doesn't work at all.

I'm guessing somebody will come out with a product sooner or later to address this problem.


« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 03:20:47 PM by 40hz »

Deozaan

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2010, 03:20:43 PM »
Sounds like Dropbox would be perfect if you didn't have #4 as a requirement.


40hz

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2010, 03:22:27 PM »
+1 w/Deozaan. Right now, I think using a DropBox account is as good as it's gonna get.  :Thmbsup:

wraith808

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2010, 09:14:15 PM »
Not a single response... Is MS really so indispensable?

OK, so what it I back off from freeware?

Holiday weekend. /me shrugs

But, that aside, I use a combination of Jungle Disk and Dropbox.  I reviewed them here a while back.

Jungle Disk (with ZumoDrive)

Dropbox (with Sugar Sync)

yksyks

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2010, 04:38:34 AM »
Thanks to all responses (and sorry for my impatience). It seems that it would be easier if I back off from #4, i.e., if I reconcile with the cloud storage. Let's see how it would be in a real operation. At the moment I'm tempted to use either DropBox or SugarSync (the latter now with 5 GB storage for free). Don't you know how these two handle conflicting changes?

@ Bamse: I've never heard of Gbridge, thanks. It seems to be a bit overkill for my needs, though. Besides, it does not perform a real bidirectional sync, but uses two one-way sync jobs instead. Because of that I suspect it of not handling the conflicts properly.

wraith808

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2010, 09:23:06 AM »
Thanks to all responses (and sorry for my impatience). It seems that it would be easier if I back off from #4, i.e., if I reconcile with the cloud storage. Let's see how it would be in a real operation. At the moment I'm tempted to use either DropBox or SugarSync (the latter now with 5 GB storage for free). Don't you know how these two handle conflicting changes?

@ Bamse: I've never heard of Gbridge, thanks. It seems to be a bit overkill for my needs, though. Besides, it does not perform a real bidirectional sync, but uses two one-way sync jobs instead. Because of that I suspect it of not handling the conflicts properly.

I had a terrible experience with Sugar Sync- so much so, that I'd never recommend it nor even try it again.  Only Dropbox saved me from a terrible loss of data.  I don't know how they handle conflicting changes, however- since they're real time and I've never been using the same file in two places from two different machines, it hasn't even been a thought, truthfully.  I suppose you could check it out by having a file open in one place then editing it in the other, and saving it on the one you opened first...?

You could also get away with #4 if the machines were on the same network with Dropbox, as it can sync across the network.  It also syncs to the cloud, but you don't have to use the bandwidth twice that way.

40hz

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2010, 10:30:42 AM »
There's an article about IDriveSync up on the I Love Free Software website that looks promising. Link here.

Quote
IDriveSync is a free application  to synchronize your files on your Windows PC or MAC OS and across any five computers. The free file synchronization software is simple to use and you can easily sync and share your files across computers just in few simple clicks. Once you set-up IDriveSync, your camera uploads is synchronized everywhere automatically in original resolution just by installing and logging into the application. The application is free of cost and you can sync up to 5 Windows PCs and Mac computers.


Haven't gotten a chance to try it yet, but it looks good if the description is anything to go by. Of course, the devil is always in the implementation and details so we'll have to see.

(Note: I'm not sure what the bit about the camera is about in the above.  The rest of the article indicates it's for all files and folders, and not just for photo sharing from a camera. I suspect it's an editorial 'typo.')

There's some additional links at the bottom for other articles about products that perform similar functions.

Those might be worth a 'drive-by' too.  :)
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 10:36:50 AM by 40hz »

yksyks

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2010, 12:49:52 PM »
@ wraith808: Yes, I've read your reviews, thanks! So I understand you don't recommend SugarSync. On the other hand, there are reviews on SugarSync resulting in something like: "I'd never ever get back to DropBox!"

You could also get away with #4 if the machines were on the same network with Dropbox, as it can sync across the network.  It also syncs to the cloud, but you don't have to use the bandwidth twice that way.

That's really something! Is it really so? I was not able to find this on theirs pages. For me this would change the situation dramatically, as my computers are 95% of time on the same LAN, so there's no need to sync them both via the same slow ADSL. But when they are apart it would be nice to have the sync running automatically via the internet, as the Live Sync still does—for the time being.

@ 40hz: The IDriveSync was a new item to my collection of links to sync services. Looks promising, however, with regard to the above mentioned function of DropBox it's not the winner. Besides, if I got it right, all the files to be synced are copied locally to IDriveSync Explorer folder, which seems to me a wasting of time and disk space.

But isn't this approach similar to DropBox folder? Or can I sync just any physical folder without duplicating its data to some "magical" place? It seems that only SugarSync can. Am I right?

Deozaan

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2010, 01:18:18 PM »
Don't you know how these two handle conflicting changes?

DropBox renames conflicting files.

As I said, DropBox is perfect for your requirements except that it will always upload to the cloud (even while using LAN to sync your computers). That is to say, that it performs the internet portion of requirement #3 by uploading your files to the cloud.


tomos

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2010, 02:04:15 PM »
Don't you know how these two handle conflicting changes?

DropBox renames conflicting files.

I've had the experience that dropbox was confused when I replaced a file with an older local backup - it renamed the version it had already (I think it added a date suffix), and copied the newly restored one - I was satisfied with how it handled the situation
Tom

wraith808

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2010, 03:56:55 PM »
@ wraith808: Yes, I've read your reviews, thanks! So I understand you don't recommend SugarSync. On the other hand, there are reviews on SugarSync resulting in something like: "I'd never ever get back to DropBox!"

You could also get away with #4 if the machines were on the same network with Dropbox, as it can sync across the network.  It also syncs to the cloud, but you don't have to use the bandwidth twice that way.

That's really something! Is it really so? I was not able to find this on theirs pages. For me this would change the situation dramatically, as my computers are 95% of time on the same LAN, so there's no need to sync them both via the same slow ADSL. But when they are apart it would be nice to have the sync running automatically via the internet, as the Live Sync still does—for the time being.

I didn't know that people had that sort of reaction to Dropbox, as I've never had a problem, other than the obvious ones that they allude to in all syncing software, i.e. what if the software is syncing while a file is locked.  I've personally not had a problem with that, but then again, I don't sync the kinds of docs some do.  I will say that if you do try Sugar Sync, I'd suggest giving it a once around the block while pointing towards documents that you *do* have backups of somewhere else.

As far as the LAN Sync:
DropboxLANSync.pngWindows Live Sync Alternative?
DropboxPreferences.pngWindows Live Sync Alternative?

40hz

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2010, 05:24:37 PM »
One reason I use DropBox, besides being generally happy with how it works, is because it's platform agnostic. Since I straddle Win/Nix/BSD, with an occasional need for OS X to accommodate some of my clients, DB is the current best for my requirements.

Being able to get to things from a smartphone is also a big plus. Never saw the point of it until the first time I desperately needed to get into something and all I had on me was my overpriced "California fruit phone."

Some of the hacks you can pull off with DB also garner bonus points in my book.  :Thmbsup:

Deozaan

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2010, 02:05:29 PM »
Oh yeah, that is one important thing: Dropbox needs to be connected to the internet at all times on both/all computers for LAN sync to work. That's kind of disappointing.

Off-Topic reply about a "fruit pad"
Being able to get to things from a smartphone is also a big plus. Never saw the point of it until the first time I desperately needed to get into something and all I had on me was my overpriced "California fruit phone."

My brother has a "fruit pad" and the coolest feature it has is the ability to VNC/Remote Desktop to his Windows PCs from anywhere (with an internet connection, of course). ;D



Stoic Joker

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2010, 03:25:38 PM »
My brother has a "fruit pad" and the coolest feature it has is the ability to VNC/Remote Desktop to his Windows PCs from anywhere (with an internet connection, of course).

I'd still (quite honestly) like to know how you're supposed to right-click on anything with one of those.

@40hz - I promise to do my best to give proper credit when I use California Fruit Phone ... It just sums the whole thing up with a bow so nicely - I truly applaud you for that brilliant description! :)

40hz

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2010, 03:41:42 PM »
@40hz - I promise to do my best to give proper credit when 8) ;D I use California Fruit Phone ... It just sums the whole thing up with a bow so nicely - I truly applaud you for that brilliant description!

Thx. I also have a few other 'other' names for it when it won't let me do what I want.  8) ;D


yksyks

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2011, 02:26:38 PM »
Thanks to all for your suggestions. I studied them all, but waited almost up to the last minute before taking a decision (the Life Sync is going to disappear by the end of March). That's why I'm back here only now.

And as you might guess, the winner is... Dropbox!

Using it for a while up to the free limit, and considering purchasing the 50 GB space, despite it would take almost two months of constant upload to fill them up using my terrible ADSL...

So far it seems to be quite reliable and simply does what it's supposed to do. Even my pet peeve about Excel files time stamps is handled in a relatively bearable way (the timestamps change on the other computers and never go back). The only drawback I encountered was the LAN sync, which first uploads the files to the server and only then performs the LAN sync. (Yes, I should have read the posts here more thoroughly.) So the initial sync took 15 hours instead of couple of minutes on direct LAN. In a real life it won't be that dramatic, I suppose.

Anyway, if there's a new competitor, please post it here.

Thanks again!

wraith808

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Re: Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2011, 03:31:30 PM »
My brother has a "fruit pad" and the coolest feature it has is the ability to VNC/Remote Desktop to his Windows PCs from anywhere (with an internet connection, of course).

I'd still (quite honestly) like to know how you're supposed to right-click on anything with one of those.

In the one I utilize, there is a mouse icon that you move around the screen.  It has a pointer arrow attached, and whatever that is point at is what you click.  There's a right click button on that also.