If you work and play on multiple computers in the course of a week, keeping your important files in sync can be difficult. The day may come when you've got access to all of your files and data straight from the cloud, but until that day, a solid file syncing application is just what the doctor ordered. Read on for a closer look at the five best file syncing tools as voted by our readers.
Dropbox is a free, cross-platform syncing app that boasts quick, instantaneous syncs and file versioning through your desktop and their web-based interface. Currently Dropbox is in a private beta (we handed out invites a few weeks ago), during which the application is free and offers 2GB of storage space. Once Dropbox leaves beta, premium accounts will be available if you need more space than the free 2GB default. Currently Dropbox's biggest drawback is that you can't define sync folders, so you have to move everything you want to sync to the main Dropbox folder. Read more about Dropbox>>
Syncplicity is a free and premium, Windows-only tool for seamless, instantaneous file syncs. Like Dropbox, Syncplicity offers 2GB of free space and helpful icons to help keep track of the sync status of your files. Unlike Dropbox, Syncplicity can add any folder to your Syncplicity syncs, it has more advanced sharing features, and it already has pricing in place for premium accounts if you need more than 2GB (40GB for $US10 per month or $US100 per year). It's also available now, so if you've been waiting on a Dropbox invite, you might want to skip it and head over to Syncplicity. The biggest drawback to Syncplicity right now is its lack of a Mac client, but one is in the works and slated for September.
Windows Live FolderShare (Windows/Mac)
Windows Live FolderShare offers 2GB of free file sync between the FolderShare web site and Mac and Windows computers. Unfortunately the Mac version is ancient and reportedly has bugs with case-sensitive volumes, but either way it's a strong utility for both Windows and Mac syncing. In fact, it's what I used to sync Firefox extensions across Mac and Windows computers. Read more about setting up and using FolderShare>>
SyncToy 2.0 (Windows)
SyncToy 2.0 is the go-to application for many a Windows user looking to keep files in sync locally—either over your home network or with a USB thumb drive. The new SyncToy boasts several impressive features, most notably a smart drive letter detection that recognises your thumb drive even if it's assigned a different letter each time. What's more, SyncToy is the tool I use to sync my iTunes library between PCs. SyncToy is freeware, Windows only. Read more about setting up and using SyncToy>>
The only cross-over from our Hive Five Windows Backup Tools, both the freeware and shareware versions of SyncBack offer options for synchronising files between computers on a local network. Like many of the others, this backup favourite is Windows only, but it's more than up for the task if you need to copy and synchronise files between computers. Read more about setting up SyncBack for automated backups>>