a question for my readers…

My wonderful G has been using a service called LogMeIn for a while now on his PC’s. It let’s him keep all of his computers synced at all times. It also allows him to gain access to his home or office PC from any computer with an Internet connection.

In my dreams, my iMac at work and my laptop at home would be completely mirrored at all times. I just saw that LogMeIn also has an Apple feature. Are you familiar with the Mac Version of this service and have used it? I am not sure a service like this would work for me as some of my project files are h-u-u-u-g-e!

Dear swissmiss readers, how do you keep your data on your multiple computers synced?

30 Comments leave a comment below

  1. I for one use MobileMe, which works pretty wonderfully now that all the issues/bugs have been ironed out. Both my work and home computers are Macs, but I know it supports Windows as well. If you don’t mind the yearly fee, it’s well worth the price, and even more so if you have an iPhone. If you’re looking for a free solution, though…I can’t be of much help. :-P

  2. I was using a mix of rsync and subversion depending on which projects I needed to work with at any given time. I just ran rsync regularly so that my computer at home follows my work computer’s lead. For projects that I’m going to use on other computers as well I’ll setup Subversion and then use it’s checkout option. The nice thing there is that if I made a mistake I have a nice rollback option. It’s probably a little overkill though, now that I’ve seen it written down.

  3. Use one MacBook Pro. Have a widescreen at the office. When you are at the office you use the widescreen, keyboard and mouse making your laptop a secondary screen (that way you don’t have to work on a smaller screen). Your files will always be with you, right there on the laptop. That’s what I do :)

    Or you can use remote connections if you don’t want to retire any of the computers.

  4. You might already have what it takes to this, and you just didn’t know it!


    The only thing you might need is a .Mac (mobileMe) account, but this story says you don’t even need that…


    I haven’t tried Back to My Mac, but I have a .Mac account and find it useful. Access mail from the internet, a remote disk for files a place for a website, and being able to get to your contacts and calendar is nice too.

    Hope that helps…

  5. I believe the Mac version of LogMeIn is more like a remote desktop tool, like Apple’s screen sharing.

    Keeping two computers in sync is quite painful. I tried that for a while without success. Now I’m using a single MBP for work and home. At work it’s hooked to a big screen, a keyboard and a Wacom, which makes it as comfortable to use as the iMac I had before.

    If you really want to keep business and private separate you can always create two user accounts.
    The only annoying thing might be that you have to carry your laptop to work.

  6. LogMeIn works fine on the Mac, but it’s just a VNC front end with some nifty abilities to drill through your firewall and run in a browser. Which is a long way of saying that it doesn’t sync anything, it just allows you to connect to one computer from another.

    In my experience using it, it’s fast enough to troubleshoot problems, grab a file, or read an email but you wouldn’t want to use it for work all the time (and your performance will, of course, depend on your connection speeds).

    (BTW VNC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vnc )

  7. 1. I love your blog and check in multiple times a day
    2. I am a first time commenter (de-lurking now).
    3. I would love a system like that for my macs, I have not found a syncing system that I am happy with, but this sounds interesting…

  8. Have you considered a file server and VPN? Basically the concept is to store your project files on the server (doesn’t have to be anything super powerful as long as it has a decent amount of storage although I’d recommend something that can run OS X reasonably well). Then share the drive and connect to that shared drive on your iMac at work to edit/save the files etc. If you setup a VPN you will be able to access the same server as if you were in the office.

    Again this is pretty slow remotely as it depends on both your office and home net connection speeds. However you will have the benefits of only one file instead of trying to keep files in sync between multiple machines and you also have one point to backup instead of worrying that the backup might not have gotten the most recent version of a file.

  9. I have an iMac I use at work, a Windows laptop and a Windows desktop at home, I keep my data synced with a free service called Dropbox: see http://getdropbox.com. However, the free accounts are limited to 2GB of data, but in the future their will be a premium service with substantially more space.

    I’ve got a handful of beta invites if you’d like to give it a shot! Just send me an email. :)

  10. i personnaly use sugarsync to sync my mbpro, mbair and a dell laptop

    It is completely transparent. You just install it and then forget about it

    When you change a file somewhere it is instantly synced on other laptops. You also get an online version which can come in handy when you need to access something on another computer

    Hope this helps

  11. mobileme – and, contrary to what you read, i think it works like a charm.

  12. Nothing works better than carrying the data with you.

  13. I use SugarSync (www.sugarsync.com). It’s much cheaper than .mac/ mobile me and works cross-platform. You can also access your files securely online in a pinch.

    It’s a very well-rounded service. Check out their site for more info.

    There’s also a free trial period, so you can see how it works before subscribing.

  14. It’s in beta but it works awesome in keeping specific directories synced.


  15. Hi Tina,
    I also use Dropbox like Khamis. It’s so easy to use, it’s amazing. Dropbox mounts to your Mac and creates a folder in the sidebar of Finder. Anything you move/copy into that folder gets synced to your Dropbox account. Any other computers also running Dropbox then sync from your account.

    Best part is you can view, download, and manage the contents of the Dropbox folder from any browser. So if you’re in a public place without your laptop or want to show someone a file or picture on their computer, just log into the Dropbox website and pull it down from there.

    And it works for Mac or PC. It’s saved me so much time previously spent emailing files to myself.

  16. I’m actually in the process of writing something to deal with syncing machines. I’ve got linux, mac and windows machines, and I want all of them to have all of my data mirrored. I want this for two reasons; one is so I have all my stuff whatever machine I’m on, and the other is so that all of my machines have to fail, explode, burn down or get stolen before I lose anything.

    For those of you who said “use one machine, carry it around”, I hope you have a good backup strategy; tempting fate to destroy your life’s work with a single hard disk failure or a mugging is not a good idea.

    The system I’m building is akin to Unison:


    I’m doing several things slightly differently than Unison, or I’d just use Unison. :)

    For text and so forth, a revision control system (svn, git, mercurial, darcs, bzr… ) is the best way to go. For files that don’t change much (pdfs, mp3s, fonts…) use Unison or something like it.

    A final note: the reason you don’t want to use a revision control system for the unchanging files is that every revision control system I’ve tested actually keeps two copies of each file; the one you know about, and the one hidden in the metadata directory. The metadata copy is so that the revision control system can determine what has changed in your local files without having to hit the server, which is nice, but it means your disk is effectively half as big as you thought it was.

  17. I am old-fashioned in this case, I carry along a portable hard disk everywhere I go.

  18. I use MobileMe. It works very well.

  19. Microsoft are busy working on a new product to sync pc, mac and all your mobile devices, it’s still early days, and they haven’t released support for mac yet – http://www.mesh.com (I use a portable hard disk and LogMeIn)

  20. Microsoft also has a product called foldershare that works quite well with syncing your computers. It works on both mac os and windows.

  21. Dropbox installs one folder on each computer and keeps them synchronized. It also keeps them backed up on an internet account… if you don’t have any problem with that, it’s an excellent solution.


  22. I’ve also been using SugarSync to keep my project files synchronized between computers and to be able to access my files from the cloud from my iPhone. I’ve even used it to read ebooks occasionally. It all runs in the background and I never have to baby sit it.

    I’ve also had Dropbox installed for months now, but don’t use it because using it is not as invisible to me as just saving files in any folder on my Mac’s file system that I’ve told SugarSync about and knowing that it will be synched up instantly without my intervention.

    This is not a free solution, but this is turned out to be the right thing for someone like me who wants things to just work. My days of playing with rsync and different backup software like Chronosync (which I still use on backup drives, however) to keep machines mirrored are over. I’ve lost too many hours over that hassle.

  23. Just got my DropBox beta invite and am testing it against MobileMe to see which fits into my workflow better.

    I haven’t tried DropBox sync features yet, but so far it wins on simplicity and ease of use. Not that MM is the least bit complicated but DB is so easy to use it’s almost invisible. In addition to the aforementioned sidebar folder is a taskbar icon, so it’s not even necessary to open the finder to have access to your DropBox. I never have enough screen real estate so that’s an important factor.

    MobileMe seems a lot more full featured out of the box plus it installs on the iPhone as well. If you want remote logging, MM is probably your best bet. It had a very rocky start but they seem to have all the bugs worked out now.

    Neither is free, but imo it’s worth $100 have a solution that works the way it’s supposed to. I’ll have to check out SugarSync though.

    I have an extra DB invite if you need one.

  24. I use delicious to sync bookmarks, NewsGator to sync RSS feeds, IMAP to sync email, and an FTP server if I need to transfer larger files back and forth. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet gone so far as to sync all of my files everywhere I go, so I can’t help in that regard, but there are definitely some great free services out there that make keeping everything synced and organized a lot easier if you know what you want from them.

  25. I’ve been using SugarSync. Works great with Mac, price much better than MobileMe for more space. Great just as a backup solution too.

  26. I fifthteenth DropBox. I mistakenly tried some MS solutions and it worked, but not a swift or easy as DropBox(one i got my beta invite). I’m not currently syncing two computers, but it does work well for transferring and accessing stuff from anothers computer via the browser.

    Oh yeah….it’s free. Has that on Mobile Me

  27. DROPBOX!!!

    i have a mac and it works great.

  28. You’ve probably gotten the info you’re looking for, but just in case …. Mobile Me will keep your files syncd. If you’re using Leopard then you can use the remote desktop feature.


  29. I have a MacBook Pro, have a user account on my girlfriend’s MacBook Air and an iPhone. I use a mixture of MobileMe (which, like others here I find works very well) and DropBox, because the only thing which I think sucks about MobileMe is iDisk. MobileMe takes care of all my mail accounts, address book, calendar etc and does so very well. DropBox works fantastically for file syncing – I haven’t had to think about it at all since installing it, which is a great sign, and you have the added bonus of it acting as an off-site backup, as well as a way to share project files with others using the Public folder. You won’t be able to sync your entire hard drive, but there’s more than enough for project files etc. (unless you’re editing video, natch). It also only syncs the parts of files that have changed, meaning that it doesn’t have to reupload the entire file every time.