A Microsoft tool that helps keep you in sync

Here's a tool that may have slipped under the radar for some. It has been in beta since Oct. 2007 and it seems like a throwback to a former tool but it is really much more. I'm talking about Microsoft's Sync Toy 2.0. The idea behind Sync Toy may sound familiar to some. Can you recall a popular software in the Windows family called Microsoft Briefcase?

The idea of the two is similar, the ability to synchronize files between multiple computers. With Briefcase you would place the items for synchronization into the "briefcase" and then copy them to the secondary PC or laptop. You can then make changes to the original and update it then copy that briefcase to your other computer.

Sync Toy is Briefcase on steroids. It takes synchronization to new heights. In fact it offers three options really. With Sync Toy you can:

  • Synchronize - New and updated files are copied both ways and renames and deletes are also executed on both sides.
  • Echo - New and updated files are copied left to right and renames and deletes are executed left to right.
  • Contribute - New and updated files and renames are copied left to right. Deletions are not executed on the target drive.

But there is more. Sync Toy will allow you to create multiple folder pairs and provides options to customize the sync between each of those pairs. Those options include amongst other things: the ability to exclude files or folders from synchronization, checking file contents and putting deleted file into the recycle bin.

Sync Toy also has the ability to set up folder pairs between network shares, USB thumb drives and flash memory devices.

But it is not just changes in the functionality that is interesting. Sync Toy is built on the .Net Framework and uses SQL Server Compact Edition for the synchronization database.

If it hasn't caught your attention before check it out now. Sync Toy is great especially if, like me, you have multiple versions of Windows. I have Vista on my desktop, but currently I run XP on my laptop. Sync Toy makes it easy to move files between the two which I love especially when I want to move from my office into my sun room to write about all the things that help to make A Better Windows World.

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