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Need help with simple sync programs between PCs and phone

Feb 7, 2020 3:06PM PST

Help! I'm an individual user, retired. I have one desktop upstairs (running Win7/64-bit), a laptop downstairs (running Win10/64-bit), and one smartphone (Samsung Galaxy). I need to sync between these devices. Complete backup software is nice, but it's not necessary. I just need files that are accessible without hobbling up and down stairs continuously and do not need anything too sophisticated. I am going cross-eyed from trying to compare cloud sync providers! Product "A" gets a glowing review on one site; but gets a "Z" review from another. I'm looking for a simple, intuitive, reliable program. Support for passwords on individual files or folders would be really nice. As a retiree, I can't pay corporate rates for cloud sync services. I'm willing to pay for something, but of course free would be nice. Any help or advice you or your readers could provide would be wonderful.

Thanks a lot!

--Submitted by Lynda R.

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I use Microsoft One Drive for this
Feb 7, 2020 3:50PM PST

15 GB for free or 1TB with paid subscription.

Google drive is also an option.

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NAS drve works for me.
Feb 7, 2020 3:56PM PST

Any program would probably make one of your PCs a server - maybe your desktop thus it would need to be on all the time. What works well for me is a WD My Cloud NAS drive - its always available on my network to ALL my devices (win 7pro 64, XP, win 10 and android) and available from remote via internet as well. I have it configured as a mounted drive on my PCs. It comes with all the software you'll need. Now I realize this assumes you have some sort of local network - mine is wired but wifi works just as well. All in all I have about 35 TB of NAS drive - the My Cloud is 3 TB. Room for everything and anything -- and then some.

There are lots of sync programs out there too - but I don't use any.

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Office 365 and ONE independent cloud service
Feb 7, 2020 4:51PM PST

I've got five devices I've got to keep in sync for my computer training and consulting practice: a Windows 10 laptop, a Mac Mini and MacBook Pro, an iPad and an Android phone.

By necessity, I need to be able to cover those four software platforms to meet the wide needs of the vast majority of my clients. By convenience, I've got to work with common file formats to use the same files/class materials across all of them.

I work with graphic design applications, and having common file formats/applications is vital. I use MSOffice 365 on all 5 machines, to be able to work with any office documentation file on any platform. At roughly $100 a year, it's cheap for my (and your) needs. For graphics files/portable documentation that's common across all four platforms, Adobe PDFs are the common currency of my industry and are accessible on every platform as well. For my personal music, which is important to me, I stick with MP3 format files near-exclusively.

Once the file formats are synced, manual file transfer is easy. MSOffice provides OneDrive; Apple offers iCloud. While both work well for their given platforms, there are little complications that crop up when you move to devices outside their walled gardens. You'd think maybe even by design. So rather than moving files by Sneakernet like you are now, I'd pick a neutral cloud provider as a depository for files you need for another — or every other — system. My personal choice is Dropbox, though there are other excellent choices as well.

Syncing will still be on you, but with common file formats and a common repository, it'll be easy for you to accomplish without wearing out your shoe leather.

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Network and sharing centre
Feb 7, 2020 5:37PM PST

Go to Windows network and sharing centre > connect to a network, and choose homegroup and sharing options to add and configure your devices.

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I also use Microsoft OneDrive
Feb 7, 2020 5:55PM PST

I teach at a community college. I have all my professional files on OneDrive. It automatically syncs my office computer, my teacher's workstation in the classroom and to my Moto G7 phone. Also, there is a web interface. You can send links and let others edit your files for collaboration.

I have never had an issue, except when there were local network problems. The web page I saw has 5GB free, 100GB for $1.99/mo. My organization uses Office 365, but that shouldn't be needed (unless you want it).

Here is the link:

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I also use Microsoft OneDrive - one more thing
Feb 7, 2020 5:57PM PST

You can revert to prior versions of files. If you make an edit and save, then change your mind, you can go back to a previous version.

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many choices, devices matter
Feb 8, 2020 12:00AM PST

I use Google Drive primarily, for this. They have two apps for the desktop to course from - backup and sync keeps a copy of each file in directories you specify synced to the cloud, while the other...file stream, I think?...treats the cloud as a virtual drive, using less local storage and only downloading a file (seamlessly in the background) when you use it. The phone app works great, it integrates well with web browsers and chromebooks, too. And the pricing is lower than most others - if you have an educational account, you may have unlimited storage for free (while the account is active).

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Great Backup Service
Feb 8, 2020 8:35AM PST

i am a also a senior and use iDrive. VERY happy with it. you can back up 1 GB at no cost. i have more than that, so i pay (not pricey). i think it is the most intuitive/simple cloud program out there.

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Home network
Feb 8, 2020 2:30PM PST

Howdy, Lynda;
Your two PC's should be on the same network at your home ... just share the data among all your terminals (laptop, phone, PC).

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Backblaze B2
Feb 8, 2020 4:43PM PST

I have a similar setup. I've been using Backblaze's backup for several years and am a big fan. It's unlimited storage run by very unobtrusive software. They also have a generic cloud storage system called B2 that you can use from any computer using any operating system. Their customer support is excellent. You might want to look into that.

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Feb 9, 2020 2:40AM PST

Dropbox solves very well the issue of synchronising files between my devices (I have 6 devices) and you get 2GB free (more if you recommend friends).

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Feb 14, 2020 10:37PM PST

A couple of months ago I tried logging into Dropbox and was told that I was limited to 3 devices unless I upgraded my subscription. Before Dropbox was taken over by M$, users were allowed an unlimited number of devices. You were also rewarded with extra storage when you would buy a new phone or tablet.

Ever since the takeover, I have been mostly using Google Drive, which I find is sufficient for sharing data across devices.

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Resilio Sync
Feb 14, 2020 5:03PM PST

I am using Resilio Sync. Home Pro version makes the whole job lots easier. Nowadays 1-2 GB of space is a joke. even 15 or 25. With Resilio installed on many platforms you may have your own cloud system with many options, thrash system, adding one online NAS drive would make it totally independent and always online, just like any other G-Disk or i-Something, just even spacier and better - because your own private.

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Feb 14, 2020 7:43PM PST

The simplest sharing may be to use Google Drive because it's as easily accessible on the go with your phone as it is at home on your computers. As others have suggested you can use Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive, but they need you to install another app on your phone, whereas Google is already there, ready to use.

Regarding your comment for allowing / including password protection allow me to make another point. It may be wise to use encryption on any files, folders, photos or videos that you feel are personal or sensitive. If you encrypt before uploading to the cloud then, even if the cloud storage, or your phone, or your computer gets hacked, your data is not accessible to the thief.

At home we use a longtime highly regarded app/program called 7-Zip. It includes a feature to right-click on any file/folder/photo/video and to zip it up (compress it), and you can set the default zip-up action to include 256-bit encryption with a password. 7-Zip is free. Just a thought in case it may help you keep private stuff private.

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One Drive
Feb 15, 2020 6:18AM PST

I use Office 365 Home that gives me 1 TB of storage for $99/ year for the office and One Drive. I also have an iPhone. I am able to look up files on the one drive from any pc or mac and work on them then save it again on the One Drive. I have the others mentioned here but since I use Office this is the lowest cost option for me and is the easiest for me.

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easy sync program
Feb 15, 2020 6:58PM PST

I use google drive. I have it on my phone and laptop. then I downloaded on to my husbands phone so I can send him pictures too. Whatever I want to sync I send to google drive then we can open the app on any of our devises and find the file or photo. I dont do well if the program is technical.

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