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Before we can synchronize two folders on two different devices on the same network we will need to make sure that at least one of the two folders is visible on the net that is, the folder chosen must be made public. The network folder can be made visible through the Windows folder sharing system, which we have seen in detail in our Windows sharing guide. To summarize it is necessary:
- Create a user dedicated to sharing (with password).
- Share the folder with advanced settings (right click -> Properties -> Sharing -> Advanced Sharing).
- Add the user created for sharing, assigning read and write permissions in the configuration screen.
- Assign access permissions to the folder for the chosen user (right click -> Properties -> Security -> Edit -> Add).
- Log in to the shared folder from the PC on which we want to synchronize.
Now that the shared folder is visible, we can use it for synchronization using one of the programs that we will analyze in the following chapters.
The first program that we can use for synchronizing files and folders is FreeFileSync.
With FreeFileSync we can open the local folder on the left side of the program and the shared folder on the network on the other window and start a synchronization based on the file creation date, the presence or absence of files, and other parameters of your choice.
The app also allows you to choose the synchronization method to use (mirror, one-way, only changes, etc.) and offers a scheduling system to synchronize at regular intervals. Those who need constant synchronization can also activate the related process, which will always keep the two folders updated.
Another very good program for synchronizing folders between two PCs without the cloud is Resilio Sync.
With this application we can synchronize two local folders in a very simple way, indicating the path of the shared folder as the target to be synchronized and choosing one of the folders on the computer as the source to update all files and folders.
Alternatively, we can use Resilio Sync to directly synchronize folders locally, without having to share them personally thanks to an effective P2P direct sharing system (without going through any server); to learn more we can read our guide on how to best use Resilio Sync.
Another very powerful program to synchronize files between computers directly (without going through the cloud) is Syncthing.
With the Syncthing app, we can continuously synchronize two folders on the same network, using the shared folder as a goal for sharing and leaving the program in auto-start (necessary to obtain continuous folder synchronization).
Exactly as seen for Resilio, Syncthing also offers a dedicated synchronization system, so you can synchronize two folders on two different PCs simply using the same account on both computers or by adding the direct sharing link (which guarantees access to the folder without going through no server, in P2P mode).
On this program, we can read our guides on how to create a personal cloud server or how to quickly share files from a PC without a cloud.
The programs that we have shown you above are undoubtedly the best for synchronizing files between computers directly without limits, without taking advantage of cloud services. FreeFileSync is the simplest and most immediate to use and can be easily configured; Resilio and Syncthing offer advanced features for synchronizing multiple folders and also allow you to generate folders to be synchronized without first having to share them on the network (as seen in the chapter dedicated to the prerequisites).
Anyone who does not want to install anything on their computer can also use a simple and trivial trick to synchronize a single folder: after sharing the folder on the network, access it from the secondary PC, create a shortcut to the folder (to be saved on the desktop or in the personal folder) and save the files to be synchronized directly within it, so as to synchronize them. Obviously, the lack of network connection will cause the folder to no longer be accessible: it is, therefore, advisable to always synchronize the files “really” and to have a local copy of the synchronized files, so as to always be able to access them (even without a LAN network).
We can learn more by reading our guide on how to synchronize files between the various Cloud services to double them.