Synchronize Files

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Key to Instructions
To help readers follow the instructions in this article, we used two different typefaces:
Boldface type is used to identify the names of icons, agendas and URLs.
Sans serif type shows commands and instructions users should type into the computer and the names of files.
 
Q. I use a desktop computer in my office and a lightweight laptop when I travel on business. It takes 30 minutes or so to synchronize files between the two machines, so I’m always afraid I’ll end up with a file that is not current. Is there some convenient way to automate the process?

A. You have several options. Windows’ built-in Briefcase feature (see icon at right) is designed to synchronize and update the files on each machine when you connect the two computers with a USB cable or use a removable disk to transport Briefcase from your desktop to your laptop. For more information go to http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307885 .

More robust programs are available from third-party vendors. One of the more popular, Laplink Gold ( www.laplink.com ), sells for $99.95; Save-N-Synch ( www.peersoftware.com ) costs $30; and ViceVersa offers a basic version for $29.95 and a pro version for $59.95. You can go to the vendors’ Web sites and download fully functional evaluation copies at no cost.

My favorite synchronization product, though, is Migo ( www.4migo.com ). It offers automatic synchronization and storage in a convenient package. It’s a thumb-size flash drive that you can easily carry on a keychain. When you connect it to a computer via a USB cable, it monitors the files of which you want to ensure you have the most current versions.

Migo comes in several configurations: A 2-gigabyte model sells for $429.95, 1-Gb for $334.95, 512-megabyte for $229.95 and 256-Mb for $139.95. There’s even the Migo wristwatch, which has a 512-Mg capacity and sells for $229.95.

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