Keep Your Windows® 7 Computers in Sync
So are you tired of mailing yourself documents? Saving different versions of the same files as with suffixes such as “draft_final”, “final”, “final_final”, “really_final”? You should really be using one of these services.
While your instinct might be to go for something popular like Dropbox, some of the lesser known services might be better suited for your needs. So here are some of the file syncing services that you can use for your Windows 7-based PC.
Dropbox is probably the most popular of all synchronization services, and for good reason. It is free up to a point, easy to use, available for all platforms. However, it isn’t the cheapest service, if you do decide to pay. Nor is it the one with the most features. Oh yeah, and it isn’t the most secure.
But you know what, it just works. You get a folder, you put stuff in it, and said stuff magically appears on all computers you install Dropbox on. What’s more, you can share a folder with someone else, and contents will then sync between your computers. If you are trying to use Dropbox to sync between two computers that are already on LAN, it will sync between them via the LAN instead of using your Internet.
Free Space: 2GB
Minimum Monthly / Yearly investment: $9.99 / $99.00
Minimum upgraded space package: 50GB
For all the simplicity of Dropbox, it doesn’t allow something as simple as syncing folders outside the Dropbox’s territory. If you have your own particular way of organizing stuff — and why shouldn’t you — Dropbox rudely intrudes and piles everything in its own corner.
SugarSync is a lot saner in this regard. You can pretty much sync any folder anywhere on your system. And when you install SugarSync on an additional system, you can pick which of the folders you wish to sync here. This way you can easily sync some files to all your computers, while other files only to some of your computers. SugarSync also allows you to store some files that don’t need to be synced, kind of like a backup.
SugarSync also has a mobile client for nearly every mobile platform. So if you have 10 mobiles, you might just want SugarSync.
Free Space: 5GB
Minimum Monthly / Yearly investment: $4.99 / $49.99
Minimum upgraded space package: 30GB
SpiderOak is one storage provider that takes security very seriously, any data that leaves your computer and goes to theirs is encrypted automatically. If you forget your password, you are pretty much screwed. There is no password reset option, just the hint — but you’ve already forgotten what that means, haven’t you?
SpiderOak separates syncing and backup, so you can have arbitrary combinations of both. What this means is that you can back up a folder called “documents” on your Windows and sync it with a folder called “docs” on your Linux PC. You can even sync between two folders on the same PC — say between a folder on your local drive and one on your external drive.
SpiderOak offers storage in chunks of 100GB, for $10 / month each. Add on as many as you need, but unfortunately this is all the granularity it supports.
Free Space: 2GB
Minimum Monthly / Yearly investment: $10 / $100
Minimum upgraded space package: 100GB
Insync stands out among these services in that it is the only service that doesn’t even provide its own storage. No, you don’t have to mail them hard drives to store your data on. Rather this service uses the storage provided by Google Docs, and just adds a synchronization layer on top of it.
The service itself is free, so is Google Docs but only up to 1GB. If you do decide to pay though, it is possibly the cheapest of them all. At just $4.99 per year, you can get 20GB of storage. For the $100 Dropbox charges per year for 50GB of storage, you can get 400GB on Google Docs. What’s more, the storage you buy for Google Docs extends your Picasa and Gmail capacity as well too.
Currently Insync will sync the entire contents of you Google Docs account, which might not be what you want.
Free Space: 1GB
Minimum Yearly investment: $4.99
Minimum upgraded space package: 20GB
Ubuntu One is a sync service that comes integrated with Ubuntu. So, Ubuntu users essentially get a free sync service, in addition to their free OS. You can, however, still use it if you use Windows 7, and it even supports iOS and Android.
Like SpiderOak, you can buy additional storage in chunks, in this case, of 20GB. So if you need 60GB, buy three chunks for $2.99 / month each. They also offer a music streaming service which allows streaming your music collection to your mobile device. It also integrates with their music store, such that any music you purchase from them will automatically appear in Ubuntu One.
A limitation of Ubuntu One is that it can only sync folders within your user profile directory.
Free Space: 5GB
Minimum Monthly / Yearly investment: $2.99 / $29.99
Minimum upgraded space package: 20GB.