Windows Live Skydrive, LiveSync and ZumoDrive


I’m always looking out for new and innovative software that can simplify how I work. One feature I’m always looking for is to be able to access any of my files anywhere. With the internet, the idea of a file statically being in one place, shouldn’t exist. Yet I know that if I’m at school, there’s no way for me to access the homework I was working on last night. Of course if I made sure to upload it to a website or copy it to a flash drive it would, but I’m looking for a service where I don’t have to think about individual files.

I used to use the offline files service that Windows Server 2003 uses, but this dramatically increased log-on and log-off times – To the point where it was almost impossible to use the computer. I now use Zumodrive. This really is the perfect software for my use case. Currently I’m only using the free version, but am tempted daily to pay for the 10GB version at only $3.99 a month. However, today I used a new service for the first time. Microsoft LiveSync. Visit https://sync.live.com to get the software client for your computer.
Once you’ve installed and setup the client software, you’ll have your files accessible over the internet.

This is what I see when I log into my account from another computer, for example:

You can see that from here all files on my computer are accessible, not just the ones I’m syncing. Which is a useful, yet scary thought. Whenever I’m out, I can access any file on my computer just by it running LiveSync. But that’s where we come to an important point. Your host computer has to be on, running and connected to the internet for this to work. If the host computer is disconnected from the internet for any reason, access to any files will be cut:

This, however is only half of what the application was designed to do. As the name suggests, LiveSync is designed to synchronise folder. That is, to keep the contents of a folder, across two or more computers, the same. The standard use case for this would be to install LiveSync on a work and a home computer and let them synchronise specific folders. That way, when at work you can access all your files from home and vice versa. The best thing is that this feature does work offline! As the files are downloaded from the host and saved to your hard drive. This does mean that if you have 5Gb of data on each computer, the first sync will take ages.

The best feature I’ve found out about it is that LiveSync works with Windows Server. This means that while the server is on, I can access any file from the 1.5Tb of disk space without having so make it available to any specific service. It also means I can synchronise my Zumodrive files with the server. This way I have a copy of my documents on the cloud, on the server and on the host computer (my laptop)… double backup solution!

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