A question I often receive is "What is the best technical way to regularly synchronize between two machines" and that's a question that deserves an answer.

However, it's also a question that doesn't have just one answer. There are many ways to keep information current on multiple systems, and each one has advantages and disadvantages.

The first solution is simply to use some form of portable media to copy information back and forth between multiple computers. While the floppy disk isn't really an option any longer (due to its limited capacity) there are several other good choices:

Additionally, while you might need to purchase a special "reader" unit for use with a desktop computer, these cards can be used in notebook computers very easily. PC Cards (PCMCIA) will plug right into any notebook computer and both Compact Flash and SmartMedia can be inserted into PC Card adapters so that they too can be inserted right into your notebook computer's PC Card slot.

As you probably already own one of these various storage cards for use in your digital camera or PDA, this becomes a very cost-effective use of your technology!

As "external" drives are coming down in price, (often less than $250) and each CD can hold at least 650 MB of data, this is great way to get a high rate of return on your technology investment. And, since just about every computer can read your CD's you can use this to share information with large groups of users, distributing CD's with your company's latest listing presentation or sales forms to everyone in your office, for instance.

The second common solution to synchronizing data is to use some sort of networking software to connect multiple systems.

You'll want to visit your local computer store to find out what equipment and cable to buy, but the set-up is pretty simple and the cost can be as low as $30 per unit.

Once your systems are networked, you can move vast amounts of data very quickly, and with no special skills needed. Just "drag and drop" files from system to system as you would with any hard-drive or floppy.

While this type of software might take longer to master, the convenience of being able to make a phone call from one computer to another, and then to manage and synchronize your files over the phone, might just be the right solution for many.

As you can see, there's more than one way synchronize two or more computers. Your best choice depends almost entirely on your own specific needs and circumstances.


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale