I'm a big fan of cloud-storage services like Dropbox and Windows Live SkyDrive, which make it a snap to sync and share your files.
However, there's one limitation I don't like: To add a folder to your personal cloud, you have to relocate it. If you have a folder called, say, Tax Documents, you can't just earmark it for syncing to your Dropbox or Skydrive account; you have to drag it into a specially designated sync folder.
That's kind of a hassle, because any program(s) that automatically look for your tax documents in their original location will get confused. It's not hard to point them to the new location; it's just a hassle.
The other day I explained how you can sync any folder to your SkyDrive account, a good workaround for users of that service. But allow me to make the case for SugarSync, a cloud-storage service that's a lot smarter at syncing folders.
As I wrote way back in 2010, SugarSync gives you 5GB of free cloud storage (more if you're willing to pay). That's 3GB more than you get from Dropbox, though 2GB less than SkyDrive. (Feel free to use my referral link if you don't yet have a SugarSync account; it'll net an extra 500MB of space for both of us.)
Even better, you can sync any folder to your SugarSync account, without having to mess with your existing folder structure.
To do this, you'll need to have the SugarSync client software installed on at least two PCs. Then follow these steps:
1. Open the SugarSync File Manager.
2. Click Add Sync Folders, then check the boxes next to the folder(s) you want to share. (You can also right-click any folder in Windows Explorer, then click SugarSync, Add Folder to SugarSync.)
3. Next, click Manage Sync Folders. In the column labeled This Computer, click the folder you want to sync with another PC, and then click the Sync button that appears.
4. By default, SugarSync will enable syncing for all the other PCs on your account. You can clear the check boxes next to any PCs you don't want to include in this pairing.
5. Click OK, then click OK again to close the File Manager.
6. Now head to your other PC(s). You should see a little pop-up window in the corner requesting confirmation of the sync setup. Click it and follow the prompts to complete the process.
Presto! Now your selected folder gets automatically synced with your other PCs. Just keep in mind that anything you add or delete on one machine will be added or deleted on the other(s). That's the whole idea behind synchronization.
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.