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FolderShare is one of those hidden gems out there that I can’t live without.  Originally developed by a company called ByteTaxi, it offers real time synchronization of files between machines via a private peer-to-peer (P2P) network.  Microsoft bought ByteTaxi, Inc. in 2005 and immediately started offering the software for free.

Straight from the FolderShare website, the application allows one to:

  • Synchronize all your devices – Retrieve work files at home or access photos at work. With your devices in sync, you no longer have to be frustrated that your information is on another computer.
  • Share files, photos, and home videos with your peers – Select the content you want to share, invite members, and they will be able to access the shared files directly from their device.
  • Access your computer or device remotely – FolderShare mobile access allows you to access your computer from any web browser.

For me, I have it set up to synchronize Bookmarks across multiple machines, photos and music between all the family computers, and synchronize work files from work to home and back again.  It not only makes me more productive but is a great way to ensure that your data is safe. 

Of course, as with all software, there are some downsides and unfortunately most of them revolve around Microsoft’s lack of continued development of the application.  While Microsoft has publicly committed to enhancing the service, we haven’t seen an updated in the client in 2 years.

Here are some enhancements I hope they do:

  • Implement as a service so you don’t have to be logged in for synchronization to occur.
  • Better Windows Vista Support.  (Default directories and the like)
  • Windows Home Server (WHS) support.  I think building FolderShare in to Windows Home Server would take WHS from a good product to a GREAT product.  With it’s always on state, it is ideal as it can act as the central repository everything syncs to.
  • Ability to synchronize folders on the same machine.
  • Better handling of FolderShare trash with a better Restore function.
  • Extend the ability to see the status of shared folders to include computers of others users that share the same folders.

So, at the end of the day, I highly recommend FolderShare if you need to synchronize files between machines.  There are some competitors like BeInSync but even with Microsoft’s lack of development, it still beats them out. 

Note to Microsoft – Please continue development of this product and don’t let in languish any longer.  I would even pay for this software if asked in order to see some of the enhancements done.

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