Laplink Gold Gets Multiple PCs in Sync

If you have more than one Windows PC and want to transfer files between them, have them synchronize files, or control one remotely from the other, you'll want to give Laplink Gold for Windows 7 ($90, 30-day free trial) a spin. It lets you do all that on PCs directly connected via a cable, over a network, or over the Internet.

Once you've set up Laplink Gold for Windows 7, you have multiple ways to connect to other computers.
Don't be confused by the software's name; it works with all versions of Windows since Windows XP. You'll need to install Laplink Gold for Windows 7 on all the PCs that you want to connect.

PCs with Laplink Gold for Windows 7 installed on them will be able to connect to PCs that have earlier versions of Laplink on them, with a caveat. You can use Laplink Gold for Windows 7 to take remote control of PCs with earlier versions of Laplink, but the company does not recommend using PCs with an earlier version of Laplink to take over remote control of a PC running Laplink Gold for Windows 7.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when installing Laplink Gold for Windows 7. You'll most likely need to tell your firewall to allow the program to make connection to the Internet. In addition, during installation, make sure to sign up for the Laplink Internet, which is free for the first year, although you'll have to pay $15 per year if you use it for more than a year. If you don't sign up, you can't make a connection over the Internet, although you can make connections over your network or via a cable. Also, you'll need special cables from Laplink to connect your two computers. And if you have an older version of Laplink installed, first uninstall it.

Once you have everything set up, select the kind of connection you want to make--via a network, a cable, of over the Internet using Laplink Internet, or even via a modem or dial-up networking. At that point, you can easily transfer files between the machines, synchronize files between the machines, and take control of remote machines as well.

File transfers and synchronization go quite fast with Laplink Gold for Windows 7, because instead of sending entire files, it sends only the portions of files that have changed. There of other features as well, such as text chat and voice chat, and the ability to print on a remote printer.

Existing Laplink users will welcome this software, because it now works with Windows 7. But the Laplink line has been around for quite a few years, and it's beginning to show its age. Other services, such as Windows Live Sync you synchronize files between PCs over the Internet without you having to pay for a service after a year of use, for example. And the setup of newer programs tends to be simpler as well. Laplink Gold for Windows 7 requires that you spend a bit of configuration time if you want to allow various types of inbound connections, something that services like LogMeIn make much simpler. LogMeIn only allows for remote control, so it's simpler in features, too. But synchronization software such as Windows Live Sync are also easier to set up than Laplink as well.

In addition, although Laplink Gold for Windows 7 does an excellent job, there is the question of price--is it worth the $90 price, given the number of free Web services and software that performs similar tasks? LogMeIn, for example, makes it easy to take remote control of one of your computers over a network or the Internet, and free service-and-software combos such as Windows Live Sync and SugarSync Free do an excellent job of synchronizing files.

If you're looking for an all-in-one solution and are willing to spend some, consider giving Laplink Gold for Windows 7 a try. But you may find that the free services are all that you need.

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