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

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