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Summary:

Like most Web Workers I have moved quite a bit of my work data online into the cloud, but my laptop and USB memory keys still contain quite a lot that is critical to me and my business. With the proliferation of online file storage and […]

Like most Web Workers I have moved quite a bit of my work data online into the cloud, but my laptop and USB memory keys still contain quite a lot that is critical to me and my business. With the proliferation of online file storage and backup services, the need for software like GoodSync might seem to be disappearing, but in reality the need for data portability, synchronization and backups is as important as ever.

So when the folks at Siber Systems offered us a copy of their GoodSync file synchronization and backup product to review, I jumped at the chance to put it through its paces. I’m already a happy user of their fine RoboForm password management product so my expectations were high.

Goodsync is file synchronization and file backup software that works to keep files in sync between multiple PCs, desktops, laptops, Servers, webDAV and FTP locations, along with Mobile Phones and PDAs.

I really like how easy it is to get started and create a sync or backup job. Just select the folders you want to sync or backup on either side of the pane, analyze shows you what changes will be made, and then press sync to make it final.

GoodSync - Job Creation

It looks simple, and it is, but there is a lot of power available beyond the basic setup. Advanced options include auto start, scheduling, file conflict resolution, and filtering to include only specific file types. The advanced options can potentially be overwhelming but I think that is because of the nature of what is available. I did have to go to the manual a couple of times to confirm options and set up steps but was able to find what I needed.

I really appreciate the analyze functionality which shows what changes will be made before it does anything. During the job setup process, it goes a long way to make me feel comfortable before I commit to actually doing a transfer.

I find the interface to be intuitive and generally easy to use, although because of the complexity of what is being presented, it can be crowded at times. Icons try to provide visual clues as to the actions that will be carried out but with so many, it took a couple of visits to the manual to help identify them. There may be a bit of a learning curve to get comfortable with it, but once it “clicks” it works well.

GoodSync - Interface

Good synchronization software might not be a necessary item for everyone, but if you need this functionality, GoodSync is well worth a look. I found myself identifying multiple uses for it as the weeks went on and am currently using it to sync multiple USB memory sticks as well as an extra backup of my business data from my laptop. I tested the FTP and webDAV functionality and it all worked as advertised.

One feature I wasn’t able to test is the ability to do chained synchronizations – keeping 2 computers which aren’t connected synchronized by using an intermediary device like a USB disk or external HDD. It sounds useful for those who maintain distinct work environments, or for making sure there is a spare PC available in an emergency.

GoodSync is for Windows only and a free trial is available. The trial is fully functional but after 30 days it limits the number of files and jobs. A Pro license is $29.95 with additional licenses for other PCs for $9.95

Is there a place in your arsenal for good old fashioned sync software? How are you using it creatively?

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  1. Looks good, but Allway Syn$c is free and there’s a portable version – see my writeup here to compare!

  2. I’ve been using Dropbox and loving it, although it doesn’t automatically synch folders.

  3. Joel Strellner Thursday, June 26, 2008

    I second Allway Sync. I have been using it for months to backup all of my pictures and music on my computer to my Terastation.

    It doesn’t have the best interface, but it works well.

    They have a free version for light use and a pay version for more heavy users. No 30 day trials since you get the personal version completely free (which should be more than enough) – you only upgrade if you want to, and even then I think it is the same as the free version.

  4. I’ve been very happily using SecondCopy (http://www.secondcopy.com/) for this purpose for years. Used mainly for keeping local desktop work synced with network shared drives, external backup drives, sharepoint doc libs, DVD backups (spanning supported)or other PCs etc etc.

  5. Simon Davis » Blog Archive » File synchronization between home and work with GoodSync Thursday, June 26, 2008

    [...] Blitstein over at Web Worker Daily wrote a great review of our GoodSync file synchronization software. Towards the end of the review, he writes: One [...]

  6. Been using Google Calendar sync and it’s the bomb. Thanks for the tip on GoodSync.

    BTW, I wanted to add your posts as a feed. Those of us Scott Blitstein fans out there that want to track with your writing, that would be pretty cool. Just something to pass along to the folks.

  7. I’m in a Windows environment at work and have long used SyncToy, a free download from Microsoft. It works beautifully. I’m a Mac guy and I like this software. And it’s free.

  8. John, I liked SyncToy too until I realized that it simply can’t handle file conflicts. If no one else is going to be using the directories you’re syncing, there’s no problem, but otherwise it’s quite dangerous.

    Other than that teensy problem I quite liked it :)

  9. v7.5+ of GoodSync now supports backing up or syncing to Amazon S3, so you can backup to the ‘cloud’ as it were. Here’s a positive GoodSync Review.

  10. WebWorkerDaily » Archive Web Work 101: 10 Apps You Can’t Do Without « Sunday, March 1, 2009

    [...] GoodSync [...]

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