Windows 7 Sync Center

The Sync Center is business-oriented carryover from Windows Vista, a Control Panel applet that aims to make synchronizing files between your network and computer easy and seamless. Does it work? Let’s find out.

So you’ve got a networked drive, right? Open up My Computer, and take a look.

Preparing to sync with a network drive

Preparing to sync with a network drive

The easiest way to get your files synced, as shown above, is to right click the drive you want to sync and select Always available offline. At this point, your files will begin syncing. The amount of time this takes is, of course, dependent on the amount of data you’re transferring and the speed of your network connection.

Waiting for files to sync

Waiting for files to sync

When everything’s done, a symbol will appear next to the network drive signifying that it has been synchronized.

Synced files

Synced files

Notice that when you’ve synced a network drive to your hard drive, the drive’s total size is given as the same as the total size of your hard drive. Be careful not to exceed the actual size of the network share, or you could encounter problems the next time you try to sync!

Now that you’ve got your files synced, you can access all of them even when you’re offline. If you’d like to see the status of your synced files or change any other settings, the best way to do it is to use the Sync Center, available in the control panel.

The Sync Center

The Sync Center

Most of the settings in here are self-evident – you can see the status of your synced files, as well as the results of recent syncs or any sync conflicts. You can access the remaining settings of interest by clicking Manage offline files.

This property window allows you to change the amount of disk space allocated to offline files, allows you to encrypt your offline files, and allows you to automatically switch to working offline if Windows detects a “slow network connection.”

And those are the basics of syncing files in Windows 7! All in all, I’ve found it to be more reliable than syncing in Windows XP, but your mileage may vary depending on the number of files and locations that you’re trying to synchronize.

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