Sync software comparison chart for 2017
Sync software explained
Today’s average computer user no longer owns just a single PC. Most of us have notebooks and desktop machines as well as smartphones and other portable computing devices. Though being constantly "jacked-in" is convenient, modern computing culture has given rise to new problems such as being able to retrieve important files and data securely when you are not sitting in front of the machine it’s stored on. This is where file synchronization (sync) software and services come in to play.
What does sync software software do?
The advantages of using sync software are many – it allows you to keep your data secure, automatically updates files across all of your computing devices and also allows you to share your data over a network for easy collaboration. This is a far cry from the old method of manually replicating or sending your files from one machine to another via email or USB drive. Today, sync software has become an essential tool for anyone who needs instant access to their files from virtually any location.
How does sync software work?
At its simplest, sync programs synchronize specific files or folders between multiple devices. For example, if you have a pc at home and a netbook for travelling, software such as Syncables will maintain current versions of your files and folders on both devices and automatically update any changes from one device to the other. This can be done by directly connecting the devices, transferring the files over a network connection or by way of a cloud-based server – the latter being ideal for netbooks and smartphones with limited storage capacities.
With so many of us living our digital lives on the go, sync software has rapidly become a must have tool that allows us to do things such as telecommute, update social media sites, keep favourite songs and films always at our fingertips as well as collaborate with others on projects. But these programs can also do much more – from automatic back-ups to creating virtual media hubs.
You should first examine how you intend to sync your files by asking yourself:
All sync software should be able to support one-way, bi-directional and multi-directional syncs as standard. The software you chose should also be able to sync folders across all your devices and accommodate different operating systems such as syncing PC to Mac for example.
Security & reliability
In order to find the right program, you should examine questions such as:
Since syncing software is supposed to make life easier by keeping current versions of your important files on all computers synchronized, you must make sure that the title you choose is compatible with your current devices.
Ease of use
The main reason to invest in sync software is to simplify the task of keeping your files current over multiple machines. However, ease of use can vary greatly from program to program. You might consider:
Help & support
In the event that your program is not functioning correctly or you come across an issue that isn�t addressed in the help file, how can you find help? Things to consider in this area would include:
Q. What does sync mean?
A. File synchronization (or 'syncing') is a process whereby selected files, that are stored in two or more locations, are updated in all locations simultaneously. For example, if you are using a program such as SugarSync, you could make changes to a file on your desktop computer and it would automatically be updated on your netbook. This can occur instantly if both machines are powered on and have a network connection or it can happen the next time a machine logs on to the network.
Q. What is the difference between a one-way sync, bidirectional and multidirectional sync?
A. In a one-way sync or back-up, files are copied from one computer to another computer or device for later use. The stored files can be used to recover your computer in the event of a system crash or to recover a file that has become corrupted. Bi-directional syncing is where a file is synchronized between two computers and changes, such as deleting, modifying or moving on computer 1, will automatically be copied (or mirrored) on computer 2. With multi-directional sync, the only difference is that you can now sync three or more computers. Otherwise, it is the same principle as bi-directional synchronization. Changes made on computer 1 are now replicated on computers 2, 3, 4 and so on.
Q. What is the difference between file synchronization and online back-up?
A. In a traditional back-up, files or folders are copied from your computer to another location such as a USB drive, DVD or server. The files are kept as a failsafe to protect against file corruption or total system crash. With file synchronization, files are kept on several computers and are updated across all devices whenever a selected file or folder is modified. So, you can go to each different machine and see the exact same version of your synced files and folders at any given time.
Q. What does a 'sync conflict' mean?
A. If a file or folder has been modified in two different locations before synchronization, it will result in a conflict. This is resolved by manually selecting which file version is correct for syncing to all other computers.
Q. What is a USB flash drive?
A. USB flash drive is a highly portable, memory storage device that uses a USB interface to connect to your computer.
Synchronization or syncing is a process whereby data is constantly updated and kept identical across several devices such as your computer and a notebook or smartphone. The easiest way to sync your devices is by using specialized sync software.
Creating file copies that can either be placed in long term storage or be used for data recovery in the event of a system failure.
This term is used to describe an external location (somewhere in the ether) where computing resources reside, in contrast to traditional infrastructures where resources are normally kept in-house. The benefit of cloud computing is that you can connect to resources as and when they are needed from virtually any location.
Sync conflicts often occur when a file has been altered on two separate machines since it was last synced, making it impossible for the program to determine which file is the master and which is the copy - thereby stopping the synchronization from completing.
A highly portable, mini notebook computer with extended battery life. Though netbooks were originally marketed for browsing and email only, they can perform most of the same functions as a regular PC barring intensive graphics editing.