Synchronize your computers with powerfolder

Martin Brinkmann
May 14, 2006
Updated • May 4, 2013
Backup, Software

Powerfolder is a great freeware application that you can use to synchronize files and folders over the Internet or a local networks. This is for example pretty useful if you are working with a desktop PC and a notebook at the same time and want to synchronize data between them. It can be used to exchange every type of data for example music, photos, own documents or videos. PowerFolder detects changes automatically and starts the synchronization as soon as it notices them.

Some key features are:

  1. Auto-detects changes
  2. Cross platform compatibility
  3. Automatically detects nodes on a local area network.
  4. Open Source

Update: The free version of PowerFolder is limited to 2 Gigabytes of direct sync and online space. It is furthermore limited to synchronizing 3 root folders with an unlimited number of subdirectories.

If your synchronization needs exceed the limits, you may want to take a look at free alternatives. One of the latest is Cubby, a Dropbox-like file synchronization and cloud hosting service, that is also supporting direct peer to peer synchronizations (Update: only the paid version of Cubby supports the feature now, the free version does not support it anymore).

The free version of Cubby is not limited in any way, and lets you synchronize folders and files with just a handful of clicks. Please note that you need to create a free account at the developer website before you can make use of the service and its features.

You basically install the client on all PCs that you want to keep in sync, and select the folders afterwards that you want to synchronize.

An alternative is Create Synchronicity, a tiny portable program for Windows that works right out of the box and without account creation at an online service. The only drawback is that it can't synchronize data across the Internet, as only local network synchronizations are supported (unless you can integrate the other PC into the network or map it as a drive).

To use it click on the new profile action on start and select a proper name for the project. The program displays the settings afterwards which you can use to select all syncing options. Here you can select the from and to directories, if you want subdirectories included in the syncing, and which synchronization mode you would like the program to use. It supports the following modes:

  • Left to right mirror (all files and folders found in the left directory structure are copied to the target folder but not the other way round.
  • Left to right incremental (new and modified files are copied from left to right, but deleted files are not synchronized)
  • Two-ways incremental (same as left to right, only that new and modified files from the target directory are also copied back to the source)

Another solution is the recently released BitTorrent Sync synchronization software. It is in alpha right now but can sync files directly between two different systems, regardless of whether they are in the same local area network or not.


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  1. Slivio said on May 17, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Awesome tool, thanks for the tip!

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