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Laptop/Desktop Synchronization...

The recent topic about web synchronization got me thinking again about the problem of Laptop/Desktop synchronization.

Right now, I'm using Network/Unplugged in plain sync mode to sync common directories between my laptop and desktop.  It's far from a wonderful solution:

* It's extremely slow at figuring out which files have changed or not (it's not client-server -- it access all the files over windows file shares).

* The conflict resolution screen is annoying.  It takes 3 clicks (w/ a dialog) to resolve a single conflict.  If I have 100 conflicts, it could take half and hour of mindless clicking to resolve it all. 

What I'm looking for is a good tool that will allow me to sync my laptop and desktop.  It should be client/server (to minimize useless network traffic) and have an intelligent conflict resolution screen.  In fact, it should have an overall nice and simple GUI.

Any Recommendations?

Almost Anonymous
Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Right-click on Desktop and select New-> Briefcase

Use this to synchronize files from your home network to your laptop.

Mickey Petersen
Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Beyond Compare

Best $30 I have ever spent.  I can sync the essential directories from my laptop to my main development system in less than a minute over a 100MB LAN

The only thing I have yet to find a solution to is synchronization of Outlook .PST files.  I can obviously use Beyond Compare to copy a new version over an older version, but so far I've never found a way to do a proper update/merge on two PST files.


Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, September 3, 2003

I usually sync my .PST files by using my Palmpilot/PocketPC.

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Basicly, your options for PST files are:
1) Something other than outlook
2) MS Exchange server
3) IMAP for mail.
4) VNC or Terminal Services, potentially with a GPRS / 1xrtt cellphone
5) Develop feelings of loathing for Microsoft and give up.

BTW -- Briefcase is pretty awful.  Just find a file comparison and sync tool -- there's a few others than listed above -- and that'll be your best bet.

Make sure you synch regularly.  That helps things along.

Multi-computer synch, where your tasks, schedule, and address book are available on your work desktop, home desktop, laptop, PDA, cellphone, and clock, would be really nice.  But it's probably pretty hard to deal with unless you do keep it regularly in synch.

Flamebait sr.
Wednesday, September 3, 2003

The file comparison and sync tools aren't exactly what I'm looking for.  The issue is the 25,000 files I'm syncing.  Now only a small fraction of those files will be changed but file comparison tools will have to do alot of work over the network (SMB over WiFi) to determine which files have changed.

I'm looking for an intelligent client/server app which will take some of the load off.  I might just have to write one.

Almost Anonymous
Wednesday, September 3, 2003

If you always have your laptop with you, then you don't need to sync the .pst files between the desktop and the laptop.

Simply use the laptop .pst file as the file for both laptop and desktop, connecting over the network.

This won't work if you have Exchange Server at work, nor is it a good idea if you don't always take your laptop to work, but for a guy who works from a home office it is the most elegant and robust solution.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, September 3, 2003


Try Beyond Compare anyway - the eval version is free.  I'm not sure I have 25,000 files to sync each time, but it is a Metric Assload <tm> for sure.

SJ: If I always had my laptop with me then I wouldn't have to sync!  No kidding!

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, September 3, 2003


Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Since we're on the subjet, if someone knows of a single-file (ie. stand-alone) freeware EXE for Windows that synchronizes a directory with an FTP server recursively, I'm interested :-)

Frederic Fauer
Thursday, September 4, 2003

I'd be interested to know if anyone has a problem synching Outlook from a server based office system onto a home pc which doesn't have access to the mail server to validate names for attendees of meetings

Neville SImmons
Sunday, January 18, 2004

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