I have a laptop and a UMPC here, plus a server. My idea is to have the UMCP always up-to-date (it's always on) with the latest changes I do on my laptop, so I could just grab it and go...
And before the UMPC arrived here the idea was to have an automated backup to the server.
So it was really a two way sync until now: the laptop is the master, and the server only receives updates (since I don't use it for work). Files are stored on a 1TB external drive on the server, which is automatically synchronised to a second drive on the same machine.
This has worked ok so far, but I didn't manage to get it to be "automatic", always requiring a manual kick start. With the UMPC I wanted to establish a two-way sync with the laptop, because I could work on the (more) mobile device. But it failed miserably so far.
The bad experience? BeInSync deleted files. Lots of them. Files that were present in both the laptop and the UMPC, but the software decided to delete them. I am not happy of course.
Here's what I tried and what failed:
Memeo AutoSync: it works great if you are synchronising drives and folders in the same machine and it does it automatically (that's what I am using on the server to sync the 1TB drive to the other external drive).
However I've noticed some deletes not happening on the destination andI wouldn't recommend using it on a mapped drive: every time I tried it will work for a while, but it will come with "Drive not available", even if I can happily open Windows Explorer and browse the drive. Most of the times the "Restart Service" option doesn't restart the scanning, and when it does it simply uses so much resources rescaning everything that I just gave up on this software.
Foldershare: it works ok, but limits a set to 10,000 files. I have way more than this in My Documents. It will do the synchronisation automatically, but the file limit is a kller.
Microsoft Office Groove 2007: great collaboration tool. Shame the Folder Synchronisation doesn't work on 64 bit operating systems. Did the folks at Microsoft realise there are lots of people running Windows Vista 64 bit now?
BeInSync: this was a great promise that failed to deliver, It provides synchronisation between folders, folder sharing to friends, web access. And it does it automatically.
It would be great if it wasn't for a few things: it seems to "forget" to do things and then you have a big backlog. It is really slow between PCs even on the same LAN. It's sometimes non-responsive. And it deleted a lot of my files which were not deleted in any of the sides of the sync, which is why I am now restoring a backup. It messed up so much that I can't just copy a few files back, but have to restore the entire thing.
Laplink PCSync: it's a good promise, tried it once and it worked ok. Best thing is the client-server configuration, so you can synchronise things over a private network, even while away from home or office. However it must be run on a logged session, which means leaving your computer logged in all the time - a pain.
GoodSync: another good one, but alas it will only work in manual mode and requires quite a lot of interaction.
The next two are not synchronisation solutions, but help:
HandyBackup: This is a backup software that also has a synchronisation option, which works really well, but again it's manual or on schedule, not "hot synchronisation".
It's really a good software and I use it on the Geekzone server to backup files every night, after the database backup runs.
Carbonite: this is an on-line backup tool. It works well and it's a "hot backup", it claims unlimited (fair use) storage on the cloud, but it won't backup all your files. First it won't backup files larger than 2GB (I have a couple of virtual machines I want copied off site but can't) and won't backup any .exe files (what about all the installers for the programs I buy on-line? I need a copy of those!)
But Carbonite won't synchronise devices - it's only a backup solution. But it's Carbonite who was here to allow me to restore files I've changed in the last two days since my last full backup to the server.
Windows Home Server: great software, it can automatically backup (not synchronise) your PC to the server, keeping everything tidy and central. But Microsoft failed to deliver a 64 bit client and it may not have one until v2 comes out sometime in the future.
So, really, it's hard to find a decent solution for this problem...
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