How to Sync Files Between Two Computers

How to Sync files between two computers

- A step by step tutorial to sync your files easily between two computers.

Being a desktop user for many years now, I recently bought a laptop so that I could work while on the move. Naturally all my files/folders were on my desktop and I had to copy certain folders whenever I knew I was going to be away .

The problem is that these days I use both my laptop and my desktop. And so whenever I work on one of them, I am compelled to copy the changed files/folders over to the other machine so that I could resume working from anywhere I wanted.  After getting frustrated with this manual process, I decided to hunt for a file synchronization tool on the internet.

Most of them were “cloud based” sync software/services like Dropbox. But my purpose was rather simpler, I needed to synchronize files between two computers and not backup the files on a cloud. (putting your personal data on a cloud is a very bad idea, but that’s for another time.)

I found this simple tool from Microsoft (surprising huh?) called SyncToy. It does exactly what I need, Sync files between two computers. The interesting thing about this software is that it supports everything from Windows XP to Windows 7. So even if you have two computers that are running different versions of Windows, you should be able to synchronize files between the two.

Let me show you how to sync files between two computers that are running windows 7.
Please note that I assume both computers that you are trying to sync are in the same network (either LAN or Wi-Fi)

Step 1: Download and Install SyncToy 2.1 from here SyncToy Download

Step 2:  Setup a “Folder Pair” – A folder pair is pair of 2 folders that you want to synchronize or want to keep in sync. To do this, go through the following steps:

2.1 Click on “Create New Folder Pair” button

Microsoft SyncToy

2.2 Enter the path to the folders in the “left folder” and “right folder”
”Left Folder” – > Enter the path of the local folder – you can also choose the folder using the Browse button.
”Right Folder”-> In my case, I wanted to sync the folder called “projects” which was on the “D: Drive” of my desktop. So I entered “\\IPAddress\d$\projects”
Tip – If your folder is in C drive of the target machine use C$ instead

Synchronize files between two computers

2.3 Click on “Synchronize” button and hit Next

Synchronize files

2.4 Enter a name for your folder pair – Use something that you can remember if you are creating several folder pairs and click Finish

SyncToy Folder Pair

Step 4: If you have entered the correct paths while defining folder pairs, you are almost there.
If you want to check which files have changed and will be copied between the machines, click “Preview”
Or to directly synchronize, click “Run”.

That’s it. The next time you need to synchronize, just open SyncToy and hit “Run”, your files should be synchronized between two computers.

If you have any questions or having difficulties with SyncToy, please post your question in the comments section below with some detail about your issue.

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  • Miguel Enriquez

    Not like me i want/need immediatly a user open, change a excel file (by sample) and close, backup…. with synctoy cant…. :(

    • Yusuf

      You should use Google Drive!

      • S.Suresh

        Sir, can you pl. explain with example how to type in ip address. Eg I have a Windows XP Desktop and a Windows 8.1 tablet sharing the same wifi router. The IP address shown by the tablet (control panel–>network) is 192.168.1.8. When I type \192.168.1.8d$projects, error message given is “not found”. Thanks.

  • ehow

    what if one of my laptop is window 8, and the other is window 7 ? will it work?

    • Yusuf

      Yes

  • Awei

    how do I know the “IPAddress” to enter? if I have both computer on the same LAN, can I just brows to both locations (let say drive C) and let it sync the entire drive (may take a while)?

  • jimbob

    Do I need to have SyncToy installed on both computers?

    • Yusuf

      Yes

  • techomaniac

    Thanks just needed something simple and easy to get running!

  • dhruv

    what if the two computers are on different networks?

    • Yusuf

      You can do 2 things

      1) Port forward to that computer (Not recommended AT ALL from a security point of view)
      OR
      2) Use VPN to connect to the target network

  • dimatak

    KrojamSoft SyncFile is a good program I have been using with great satisfaction..

  • eeglah

    I am having trouble with the “Right Folder” of the pair. I am trying to browse and am being cut off at my HOMEGROUP password. Can someone PLEASE contact me directly so I can get some help on this? Very frustrated, and would really appreciate the help. Thanks!

  • Iglesias Alfrado

    I would recommend you to try also KrojamSoft SyncFile.i think you will like how
    the program works.

  • Paras Parekh

    if i want to sync an excel document then how can i do it with this?

  • Prashant Khalkho

    Sir, I Loved your article. I was searching a way to do this for past few days and today i found it.

    But in fact, I want to sync excel files between my laptop (win7) and my Smartphone (lolly pop) by connenting them through WiFi. I dont want to go for any cloud. Is it possible?

    Please Guide me..