Syncing folders between Vista, XP, and OSX – part 1


It’s been a couple of months now since I purchased my Western Digital My Book  500 GB Hard Drive, and overall I really like it, but it isn’t working out like I had hoped. It’s really my own fault for getting Windows Vista just so I can play Halo 2, and I probably should have just gone for the gusto and got into a NAS, but I didn’t want to spend $300 and change, just to share my music and backup files between computers. It’s my home for crying out loud – I don’t need a SAN! Br4x tells me I should just get a Linksys NAS200 like his, but I think he just wants me to buy stuff through is Amazon Associates account so he can get more dough. First the good; then the bad.

The good

It’s ginormous! 500 gb, that’s big enough to hold a lot more stuff than I have accumulated, so I don’t ever half to worry about space. It’s small in stature, so the footprint on my desk isn’t even enough to notice. It’s quiet and has a sleep mode, preventing the platter from spinning like a whirling dervish, just bidding its time until it decides to crap out and take my data with it. The drive also has excellent write speeds (for being an external USB drive) , and powers up quickly from sleep mode. The biggest reason I bought it was its price however; $130.00.

The bad

It’s not a NAS solution. I switch between XP and Vista quite a lot and it doesn’t seem to like that much, so my wife’s computer is getting all uppity since it can’t always find it, or, for that matter, any other shared drives. That’s it, the only bad part.

As you can see, I like it more than not. What I need to be able to do though, is sync all of our music between 3 or 4 machines within the house. My XP box, my Vista box, my MacBook Pro and my wife’s computer. Also given the fact that we have about 40 gb of collective music stored, it could be a daunting task. So I am looking at some folder sharing/syncing utilities to help with this problem.

The candidates

I started a Google search and found a few possibilities but couldn’t find much reliable information to help me decide if they were going to do the trick, or delete my stuff instead. The first I found was Microsoft’s SyncToy, although it was quickly ruled out as a contender, as it’s a bit old – and it has Toy in its name. So after some poking around this is what I narrowed my search to:

FolderShare won out the first time test for two reasons: 1) it’s free and 2) it’s cross platform. I know I could probably just get something else for the Mac, but it would be nice to use the same thing across the board. Although I will still test out the other two over the next few months unless I am so overwhelmed by sheer joy with FolderShare.

FolderShare started off on the right foot since it installed perfectly on my Vista box with no errors, and is up and running. That’s saying a bit since several of my applications don’t like Vista at all. I haven’t set up any other computers yet, since, well… none of my music is accessible on my Vista install since the RAID drivers for my ASUS MoBo brick my desktop if I install them. I will have to reboot and reinstall FolderShare on my XP install as well, before I can really get started. That’s next.

I chose the applications based on recommendations, feature set, and the fact that I like Stardock as a company. That being said; I have my 3 top choices listed and selected – all I have to do is wade through them and get going.

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