Synchronize Your Data With Multiple PCs, Macs, and Mobile Devices

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Sync PCs to Macs

Windows Live Mesh and its direct-synchronization-only variant, Windows Live Sync, aren't fleshed out for the Mac platform yet, and successive upgrades to OS X have broken the syncing capabilities of both Microsoft tools.

To sync directly between a Windows PC and a Mac, you must first confirm that full network sharing is in effect between the two platforms. Setting this up can involve a complicated series of steps on the OS X side of things, so be sure to read Apple's handy walkthrough for the process. Once you can see shared folders on your Windows machine, and your Windows machine can see shared folders on your Apple machine, you're ready to start synchronizing.

Don’t discount the power of Syncback’s advanced features. Nothing ruins a flawless, unobtrusive synchronization like hundreds of pop-up warnings related to conflicting file versions between two or more systems.
Head online to the 2BrightSparks Website, and grab the Syncback Freeware program. While the app installs itself on your Windows machine, use Windows Explorer to surf to a shared network folder on your Apple system. Right-click the folder, map it as a network drive, and assign it a unique driver letter for your Windows PC. Once the Syncback installation is complete, launch the executable file and create a profile, which represents a single link between a folder on your Windows machine and a folder on your Apple machine. After you give this link a name, a screen containing a multitude of options appears before you.

If you want to run a one-way backup between the mapped network folder (a folder on your Apple system) and a Windows-based folder--or vice versa--the first three backup options are for you. We're interested in synchronization, however, to insure that the mapped network drive and an individual Windows-based folder will always contain the same items on both systems. Select any folder on your Windows system to serve as one of these portals, and then select the mapped network drive you created earlier as the destination folder. Highlight the syncing option that best applies to your folder structure and click OK. A description of your synchronization setup will appear below the listed options; to tweak the description, click the program's Advanced tab. Select options in the Filter tab to include or exclude to a greater specificity--useful if you want to limit syncing to, say, all of your music files in your Windows downloads folder.

Finally, click the OK button to set up your profile. You can create multiple profiles for additional syncing tasks as you see fit. You can manually run these whenever you like it through the SyncBack program itself, or you can instruct Windows to run synchronizations at fixed time intervals. To do this, right-click a profile you just made and select Schedule. Click the set password button and enter in the password associated with your Windows User Account. From there, click the Settings tab and set the syncing frequency. Remember, this procedure won't work unless your Apple system is running; similarly, your Windows system must be set to log automatically into your mapped network drives at boot-up.

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