Sunday, May 11, 2008

How to sync your flash drive with your computer

I've always hated the fact that the stuff on my flash drive is usually not found anywhere on my computer, much less backed up on an external device. The scenario is this: Write a paper at home, save it to the hard drive. Go to school to work on it, but guess what: it's not there.

The same is true in the opposite direction. I'm in a programming class working on an assignment, so I save it to my flash drive. When I get home, I have to plug in my flash drive, which has slow read/write speeds compared to my hard drive, and that doesn't work for me.

If you've ever had this problem before, I know you can relate. Enter SyncToy, a teeny tiny little program (971KB) created by some programmers at Microsoft that ends this "syncing sensation" once and for all.

It's as simple as this:
  1. Install SyncToy
  2. Set up a folder pair (tell it that you want the "My Documents" on your flash drive to sync up with your "My Documents" folder on your computer. (If it's your first time using SyncToy, a couple more steps will appear, allowing you to tell the program how it should sync your data.)
  3. Click "Run"
As easy as this process is, there is one downside: as far as I can tell, there's no way to automatically sync your folders each time you pop your flash drive into your computer. If there's a solution like that out there that's easy and free, please post it in the comments.