The State of Syncing, Still Pretty Bad

I’ve been looking at options to sync data between a couple of my computers for a while now. I had a nice little setup with a USB Key and SynchBack SE until I was seduced by Live Mesh, but more on that later.

I’ve got a simple setup, everything I want to sync is in one folder, called Sync, on each machine. Currently the size is under a gig. If I found the right solution, I’d move OneNote folders and some other items but the total would still be under 3 gigs.

I’ve used SyncToy in the past as well as FolderShare. SyncToy kept generating duplicates and FolderShare requires both machine to be on to sync. Often that doesn’t happen for me. Frequently one machine is in my bag while I use another.

I’ve also looked at online options just for backup of synchronized data. Microsoft Skydrive was interesting and you can drag and drop with IE but you can’t drag and drop folders. You have to create the folders yourself. Bummer. Gspace for Firefox lets me store data using my gmail account but it refuses to login to the account I want to use. The Gmail drive shell extension logs on properly but there’s a folder depth problem with my data. Some of the data is too deep for the Gmail structure.

I’d really like an online, asyncronous option but I’m not willing to pay for SugarSync. I thought Microsoft’s Live Mesh was the answer. Getting the folders just right and syncing took a lot more effort than it should. Once setup, some items simply refused to sync from some PC’s. They would be on one machine and on the web but would never migrate to the other machines. Obviously there’s still a lot of beta left in Live Mesh.

So I’ve gone back to USB syncing but left Live Mesh up as a backup. I also backup to a portable HD regularly. I really like the idea of Live Mesh but I’d like a button to force it to sync. There are times when I know I won’t have a particular machine available and I want to make sure that everything available via the web.

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