My Flypaper Mind Brenden Schaaf's opinions, ideas, comments, rantings, & minutiae

16May/090

SyncToy makes using your flash drive easy

synctoylogoUSB flash drives (also called jumpdrives or thumb drives) are great devices, but if you edit documents on your flash drive that you also use on your hard drive, how do you keep track of which file is the more current version?  And once you figure that out, how do you copy the "current versions" from your flash drive to your computer and vice versa?

Enter SyncToy, now in version 2.0, by Microsoft.  SyncToy is available as a free download for Windows and once you set up the relationship between your flash drive and a folder (or set of folders) on your computer it is a simple matter of inserting the flash drive into a USB port and clicking a button each time you want synchronize your files.

Furthermore, SyncToy isn't useful only when managing files between a computer and a  flash drive.  Maybe you copied an Excel file from your PC to your laptop so you could take it on the road, but now you have two versions of the same file in two locations.  Without a tool like SyncToy it would be very easy to miss copying the edited files to back to your main data storage location or you might accidentally copy an older version of a file over the top of a more recent version.

I use SyncToy extensively because I use four different computers to create/edit my documents for a class that I teach.  On 3 of the computers I store new/edited files on my flash drive with the hard drive on my laptop being my main storage location.  In the 2+ years I have used SyncToy (starting with version 1.4) it has never caused me any trouble and it has made my life significantly easier.  It is one of those programs that is "just there" and it "just works" -- something that can not be said often enough about other applications unfortunately.

Get SyncToy version 2.0 at this link: http://www.microsoft.com/DownLoads/details.aspx?familyid=C26EFA36-98E0-4EE9-A7C5-98D0592D8C52&displaylang=en

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A SyncToy preview screen showing changes that will be made to keep two file locations synchronized with each other. Files can be individually excluded from the process if desired. Click this image to see it more clearly.

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