We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
2,862 Tutorials

Automatically synch files between two PCs

Computer file synchronisation explained

Our Helproom Expert explains how to use and edit the same files across multiple PCs.

QUESTION I often use my laptop on the road and need a way to transfer files to my desktop PC when I return home. Is there any software that will keep track of the changed files and synchronise the two PCs automatically? Jerry Sheard

HELPROOM ANSWER Software to do this ranges from free basic utilities to sophisticated business-oriented synching applications. We've reviewed a number of backup and synchronisation tools in our Complete Guide to Backing Up Your PC.

You could also take a look at Microsoft's free SyncToy. This creates pairs of folders for synchronisation and applies sophisticated rules for dealing with conflicts – such as what to do when a file is renamed on one machine, but deleted on the other.

Windows Task Scheduler will be useful if you want SyncToy to run at predetermined times or in response to a system event.

You will need to ensure that both the laptop and the desktop PC are connected via a network. Also check that the computer running SyncToy can access the necessary folders on the other PC over this network, with the relevant file permissions to allow files to be written and deleted as necessary.

A couple more options include GoodSync and FreeFileSync

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor for more Windows advice.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model