Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Allway Sync

Remember when I talked about using FolderShare to help my wife work back and forth between home and her office?

Her work system administrators have gotten increasingly thorough. In the end, they've blocked FolderShare. I completely understand why they're doing that.


If I was ever going to see my wife, I had to restore her ability to work from home. I talked around at work and found robocopy and SyncToy. robocopy comes in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. It's a command line utility but there's a GUI to "help." While it's very capable, it's pretty awkward.

Then there's SyncToy v2.0 Beta. It's bigger than a breadbox. For example, it requires the .NET Framework v2.0.

I kept looking.

Somewhere I came across Allway Sync. It's free but limited to "synchronize no more than 20,000 files per 30-day period." I can live with that. They have a portable install made especially for installation on USB drives.

I found her a 512MB USB drive and copied her work My Documents to it. Then installed Allway Sync and created an automatic synchronization job.

On her PC at work, I created an icon on her desktop that will launch Allway Sync and run that synchronization job. And I got her a USB extension cord so she had a place to plug her USB drive in right on her desktop.

When she gets to work, she plugs in the USB drive and clicks the icon. It syncs automatically. She removes the USB drive and works normally throughout the day. When she is ready to leave, she repeats the process. Now the USB drive has a copy of her work My Documents.

At home, she plugs the USB drive into her ThinkPad and works from there. An unexpected benefit is that since she keeps the USB drive on her key chain, she can actually work on any PC by just plugging in the USB drive.

Still not as nice as FolderShare but works good enough within the restrictions of her work.

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