Synchronizing Files and Folders
This guide is for all the road warriors who use a PC at
work, notebook on the road, and two or three other computers throughout the day.
With this guide, you can synchronize your files between your PCs, so you always
have the latest files at hand. - Version 1.0.1
Sexy topic huh? Well if you
have a laptop or a work computer as well as your home desktop, you should know
about file synchronization. It can make your life a heck of a lot easier if you
do work on more than one system during the week.
In this article we will
explain the process of file synchronization and show you the two major methods
of synchronization within Windows XP. We will also tell you why you want to do
What is file synchronization?
File synchronization, in its simplest form, is automatic copying. Files from
a specified directory on one system are mirrored to a
directory in a second system. Whenever changes are made, or at specified points,
the computers communicate and share any changes that have been made to the
directory or files.
New files created on one system are replicated to
the other, as are changes made to existing documents. This allows 'offline'
work, where a computer disconnected from its file synchronization 'partner' can
be used to work on the shared files. When the computers are connected again, any
changes or additions will be carried over to the other system.
|"When a person returns to the office, their laptop can update the modified documents on the server automatically, over the network, preserving all changes and ensuring that there is only ever a single version of each document."
The most typical example of a situation
where you might want to use file synchronization would be an office worker who uses
a laptop both at home and on the network at the office,
or one who uses a laptop to take work home. File synchronization allows all the
work done at home to be instantly added to the work desktop
(or the office's server) as soon as the laptop is connected to the office
The same thing happens automatically in reverse
when the user disconnects the laptop to leave the office. In this way, the
worker always has the latest version of their files on hand, without having to
juggle and manually replace the 'home' and 'office' versions of the same work.
Both computers maintain an updated set of the same files.
synchronization can be used in more than just a simple two-computer setup. An
administrator might enable offline file synchronization on certain folders in a
network drive used to store communal documents. In this case, authorized persons
at work could make changes to the documents outside office hours, and have these
changes replicated automatically the following day, allowing other people at
work access to the newly updated files.