This is a bit of a lazyweb request, hoping that someone out there has already cracked this nut and is willing to tell me what they learned.

I've been using FolderShare, which was bought by Microsoft a few years ago, to keep a set of files in sync between my desktop and my notebook computer. Both run Windows.

But I'd like to do two additional things, both of which make FolderShare problematic:

  1. Sync a much larger tree of folders. This is where I run into FolderShare's 10,000 files per "collection" limit. That's becoming a show-stopper for me.
  2. Include a Linux client in the mix, if at all possible.

Ideally, I'd like a similar "set it and forget it" tool that just runs in the background, does the Right Thing in most cases, and which is intelligent about recognizing those times when both computers are on the same LAN (and therefore can sync very quickly peer-to-peer without a server in the middle).

Looking at the options out there, I've seen two credible solutions, both of which have annoying aspects.


A lot of folks consider BeInSync a sort of FolderShare on steroids. But it seems to require that all of my data be synced to one of their servers out in the cloud. I'm not sure I like that. I already have Mozy doing that on my laptop for backup purposes. I wonder if someone could build a tool that works with Mozy to accomplish what I need. Hmm.

Secondly, BeInSync isn't cross-platform, so it's not going to help with my goal of including a Linux host.


It looks like PowerFolder may do more of what I want. It seems to be a form of Open Source Crippleware and that bugs me a little bit too.

On the plus side, it's written in Java and is therefore cross-platform. It also has pre-build synchronization profiles that seem built to solve most of the common cases.


I'm a bit hesitant to build my own thing using cygwin, rsync, and whatever else I'd need to string together. Inevitably it'd require a server out there to be involved. That's okay, since it'd be my own server, but I have that nagging feeling that this is already a largely solved problem.

Have you managed to solve this problem? If so, how?

Posted by jzawodn at November 30, 2007 08:55 AM

Reader Comments
# Steve Kalkwarf said:

I use this:

It takes some fussing with, but I think it'll do what you want.

on November 30, 2007 09:06 AM
# Luis Alberto Barandiaran said:

Why don't you set up your linux box with samba enabled? That way you can sync it up to/from it without Windows having to even know that it's working with Linux... at least that may solve half of your problem ;)

on November 30, 2007 09:21 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

How is that automatic?

on November 30, 2007 09:23 AM
# optional said:

I second the recommendation for Unison. It's a remarkably well engineered tool that I've been using for over half a decade with great results.

on November 30, 2007 09:36 AM
# Craig said:

I have been fairly pleased with unison [1]. Not quite "set it and forget it," but fairly close. Perhaps the application could be triggered using one of the network profile detection & launcher utilities.


on November 30, 2007 10:08 AM
# shyam said:

I've come to depend on DeltaCopy [], which is wrapper around Rsync on Windows with most of the features you've asked for. As a bonus, since it is Rsync under the hood, any Linux box which has Rsync on it can connect to it and keep it going. No file limitations, no nag screens etc.

on November 30, 2007 10:56 AM
# Adam Rosien said:

Check out Sharpcast Hummingbird, now in beta. Mac coming soon. (I'm an employee.)

on November 30, 2007 11:18 AM
# jose said:

I think Unison is that you need, I think it's much better than rsync...

on November 30, 2007 12:30 PM
# Peter said:

I have been using SyncBackSE for this sort of thing (no Linux client). It has some small quirks, but overall it works quite well. ( ).

They also have a free version, SyncBack Freeware, which has a more limited feature set, but could also work for you depending on your exact needs.

on November 30, 2007 02:09 PM
# Palakkadan said:

You should try SyncToy , its a freeware by M$ , available at

Even though its targeted out as a digi-photo sync tool ,
I have used it to sync lots & lots of files ( 100,000 + ) over a T1 line.

Good Luck !!!

on November 30, 2007 08:03 PM
# Palakkadan said:

Ok , i forgot the linux compatibility part ;)

on November 30, 2007 08:06 PM
# Eran Sandler said:

How about iFolder (

It was originally a Novell project, now its open source (I think).

Has both Linux and Windows clients. You will need a "central" server that will do the sync for you. It's build on Mono (Open source .NET alternative).

on December 2, 2007 05:24 AM
# Scott Yang said:

Another vote for unison. It's coded in OCaml, does two way sync, it's multi-platform (there's a cygwin binary), and it can be easily scripted and automated.

on December 4, 2007 05:43 AM
# Greg Whitescarver said:

cwrsync - Linux rsync for windows (uses cygwin-style emulation without installing cygwing)

I use to to recursively sync windows filesystems over the network, and it treats me well.

on December 5, 2007 01:08 PM
# Kurt said:

I wonder if Git (Torvalds' revision control system) might work well for this purpose. It should certainly handle the size issue.

on December 9, 2007 10:27 AM
# Chris Shipley said:

Jeremy, did you end up settling on a solution? I'd be interested to know.

on February 28, 2008 02:03 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Unfortunately, no. I'm still using FolderShare. I'll probably play with Unison at some point but haven't had the chance yet. :-(

on February 28, 2008 02:18 PM
# said:

Hey - Here is what I setup... This guy does a nice job walking you through setting up unison.

on March 13, 2008 06:54 PM
# Sun said:

I've had good luck with a DOS cli called NTSYNC.exe.

Seems like FolderShare is free and works pretty good for me. II can't see one really needing to access to all files, so can tar or zip the files together to lower the file count. You can also set up additional sync profiles which would effectively double or triple your 10,000 file limit.

I hear FolderShare Professional before buying bought by Microsoft had no file limit and was able to perform bit comparison.

on April 4, 2008 06:51 PM
# Barry said:

I've been looking at a lot of these too. SugarSync is one that I just tried out which works exactly like Foldershare but keeps online backups too. It has a Mac and Windows client and is supposed to have a Linux client on the way.

The thing that bugs me about Foldershare is that is actually USED to have a Linux client...until Microsoft bought them.

The other one that I'm keeping my eye on is DropBox, which looks phenomenal, but it's still in private beta.

on May 8, 2008 09:28 PM
# andy mc dowell said:

please do a review on, I´d be really interesting to have some expert advice about it.

on November 10, 2009 11:44 AM
# said:
on November 28, 2009 07:31 PM
# said:
on March 7, 2010 10:14 AM
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