For the past few weeks I've been experimenting with FolderShare™, a service that synchronizes file changes between linked computers over an Internet connection. I'm impressed, enough so that I signed up for the paid version after using the free version for only a few days.

In my software development work, I use both a desktop machine and a laptop machine. The desktop machine is at my office, while the laptop machine normally stays at home so I can continue working in the evening. Keeping the two machines in sync has always been a challenge, involving varying numbers of ZIP® disks, CDs, USB drives, and other portable media to physically transport files back and forth from one location to the other. Although that solution was workable, it was cumbersome and prone to biological memory errors (i.e., I'd sometimes forget to take a file home with me, or to bring it back to the office).

FolderShare enables you to establish a link between a folder on one machine and a corresponding folder on another machine. Once the link has been established (a very simple process), you can turn on automatic sync or on-demand sync. Automatic sync keeps the two folders in sync in the background while you work. This is the way I've been using it and I haven't noticed any effect on performance—no slow or unresponsive apps—while I work, even on the older, slower laptop machine. The process has been completely transparent.

I tested FolderShare while preparing my presentation files for the upcoming Southwest Fox conference. By placing everything I was working on for this conference in one root folder and setting it to auto-sync with the same folder on the other machine, I had automatic two-way synchronization between the two machines. Files updates, additions, and deletions on one machine were automatically reflected on the other. Anything I did during the day was ready for me to keep working on when I got home, and anything I did at home in the evening was ready and waiting for me at the office the next morning. No physical media involved. Very slick.

FolderShare setup involves installing a small (less than 1MB) program on each linked computer. Configuration takes place over a secure connection to your account on the FolderShare website. The free version limits you to two shared or synched folders, while the paid versions increase this to 100 or 250 folders depending on the plan you choose. The paid versions also enable other features, including the ability to access files in any folder on a linked machine over the Web. The FolderShare website has a chart comparing plan features. According to the chart, file transfers are encrypted and secure under all plans.

In my experience, FolderShare is simple to use and works as expected. Try it, you'll like it.

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