Get In Sync with File Syncing Software

Get In Sync with Syncing Software

Data backups are becoming increasingly important for every computer user. But what about synchronization software - and what’s the difference between the two? As it turns out, there is a subtle but very important difference and usage scenario for backups versus synchronization. With backup-only solutions, you typically specify one-way synchronization so that whatever is on your PC gets backed up to your storage solution.

Synchronization solutions are two-way solutions where folders and files are synchronized to keep two or more locations in step with each other. While backups work for archival storage and disaster recovery, synchronization is useful for people that move between different physical PCs but want to keep their data synchronized across locations.

There are a number of different usage scenarios for synchronization. For example, synchronization makes a lot of sense with USB flash thumb drives in particular. Let’s say you’ve got a file on your work PC that you want to bring home, so you could keep a thumb drive and your main PC hard drive continuously synchronized. Take the USB drive home (or anywhere else), work on your file, then bring the USB key back to work and synchronize folders. Then again, you could just use software that will let you synchronize two PCs over a network, too.

In this review, we look at a number of different tools designed to help facilitate easy synchronization for different scenarios. We look at GoodSync, SyncBackSE, Allway Sync, FolderMatch/FolderClone, SyncToy, BeInSync and FolderShare to see how they compare.

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    Your comment
    you forget to mention that one
  • No SuperFlexible File Synchronizer? Too complicated for you?
  • Foldershare has been in beta for years - I think it's abandonware (though I use it and love it)
  • You seem to have forgotten the tried and proven robocopy from the Windows Server 2003 resource kit. It runs in a simple batch file, which can be generated by robocopygui. It's ugly but works extremely well, can be scheduled using Task Scheduler, can sync changes in both directions, and is a favorite business solution that works just as well for me at home, even in Vista x64.
  • i like unison
    freeware, open source, and works cross platform and remotely.
    allows remote SSH sync, too. pretty simple, no automated options, though. pick one dir, then another (local or remote) to sync it to...and it does the hard part. asks about files it is not sure about.

  • maybe not open source. there is a link to the source code...but it is broken. well, free, anyway. ;-p
  • Hey ! Where is MirrorFolder? you missed the best !
  • tot
    You definitively forgot PowerFolder!!! (
  • tot
    You definitively forgot PowerFolder !!!
  • tot
  • mmhh nice list a little bit late for me:D. i finally came to PowerFolder. I think its better and i can run my smaller clients
  • What about Windows Offline Folders and My Briefcase?
  • I was surprised you left out Microsoft Groove. In addition to being an amazingly easy to use sync program, it also has wonderful team collaboration features built in. I can drag a file in to groove and auto-sync with an unlimited number of computers across the interet, lan, or even wireless ad-hoc.

    When I worked overseas, we used Groove to handle a 4 man project team's collaboration efforts. Whenever one of us updated a directory on our computer that was setup as a shared directory, the other users were updated automatically. Wonderfully easy to use.
  • Allway Sync is rather buggy and has several times during sync deleted all files on both shares.
  • Capivara works very well for me!
  • Vice Versa is hands down the best tool. Archiving function is awesome
  • imho, by far the best sync software is vice versa 2 pro (not tested here)
  • smikwily
    FolderShare was Free, then Free/pay (limits on Free version). After MS bought them, they went free again - hence the "FolderShare is now free of charge" on their overview page.

    I've used it for years and have been happy with it. Works good for groups as well, as you can allow someone else to download files from a folder you have (at least they used to).
  • Beyound compare is my all time favorite and its very fast.
  • Agreed about Beyond compare but it is a different breed. NOTHING is as fast as Beyond Compare nor as powerful. SCOOTER Software are geniuses. But it is not used in the same way as these products.

    The reality is long term rebustness without failing. SyncBackSE is more stable that all of these including Vice versa Pro which I crashed after three days on large Jobs but agree is the best looking product out there today and I too am amazed not included here.

    I tested everything mentioned here with large sync jobs. GoodSync/ALLway sync are definately the second best but the xml database is just not refined enough yet. They are the exact same product. How that was missed I do not understand. The author admits it. SyncbackSE just does not fail and can support running mutiple simultaneous jobs. The fact it uses Windows Task manager is an advantage not a disadvantage. Why reinvent the wheel. Can you do better? Plus they wrote a front end for it. Damn did you really test these products or install them, run through it and right the article. This was not done well at all.
  • Second Copy has ben a favorite for many years. Easy, simple interface, wizard driven, lots of options. No remote sync though. Too many security issues. Use Google or something to store your files if you need remote anytime access.
  • The author didn't discuss delta file copy (partial copy). Superflexible, Jungledisk..... Also Fileback PC is another GREAT sync and backup util.
  • Have just tried Allway Sync and GoodSync and still prefer SuperFlexible File Synchronizer. Pity you missed that one. From previous comments, I'm not the only one who prefers it.
  • try