I’ve been using Live Sync for the almost four years, from before Microsoft bought Foldershare. It’s been slowly creeping into my everyday life more and more, until today I realized that I am so used to the personal cloud I’ve built with it that I can’t even remember what the life before it was. Well, almost :-)
I’ve decided to enumerate here the things I am using Live Sync for. If you have other ideas, shout out to francip at Twitter.
1. Live Sync of documents
The first thing I use Live Sync for is the classic one - I am sharing the Documents folder. The interesting part is that I am sharing that folder between four computers running four different OSes (well, more like versions and SKUs) – XP, Vista, Win7 x86 and Win7 x64. Since two of these computers are always on, it’s like having my documents up in the cloud. They are always there wherever I am.
An interesting side effect of this is that my Visual Studio settings are consistent on all machines. NOTE: There is a drawback to this, however. Visual Studio keeps something tied to the machine in its settings file, so every time you open Visual Studio after you’ve used it another machine, it takes a bit to initialize this piece of data. A bit annoying, if you ask me. Also, keeping VS open on one machine and starting it on another will result in two separate settings files. From there on you lose the settings synchronization until you resolve the conflict. Not a big deal for me either.
Another interesting side effect is that my Live Writer drafts are also synchronized. This allows me to work on any posts from any machine I am currently sitting on, before I publish it.
2. Live Sync for sharing
The second thing I use Live Sync for is for sharing pictures with my family back in Bulgaria. My mom and my brother both have Live Sync installed and syncing the same library. This creates a small cloud for the three of us. My mom loves it, as whenever there are new pictures of the grandkids, they instantly show on her computer. It did take some training to teach her to copy the pictures in a different folder, to avoid hitting the limit of number of files in a library. But it wasn’t hard and was totally worth it.
3. Live Sync and SVN
The third thing I use Live Sync has to do with a personal SVN repository where I keep some personal projects. I am doing two things with Live Sync:
- repository replication - Syncing the repository over Live Sync gives me continuous backup. Of course, it’s not the same as a proper backup – any problems with the repository would be replicated as well. However, it does protect me from hard drive failure and losing everything at once.
- checkout replication – I am also syncing the checkout folders for my projects. This means that any change I make on any of the computers is replicated automatically on any other, thus giving me a workplace in the cloud. It also allows me to update and/or commit from any of my machines.
4. Live Sync and OneNote
The fourth thing is replicating OneNote notebooks. I don’t have a separate library for this, I get it for free from syncing the Documents folder. However, I wanted to mention this separately, as it is really a marvel on its own. If you are OneNote user, I strongly recommend setting at least OneNote notebook replication. You get instant access to all your notes everywhere you are, even if OneNote is opened on any of the computer.
NOTE: There is a drawback if you sync OneNote Mobile from the same device on two computers. Active Sync gets confused and creates separate section for each computer you sync your device on. I’ve solved this problem by syncing my phone on one machine only.