I have a desktop PC at work, and a laptop at home.... or elsewhere.

What I want to do is use a USB HD to store my documents (about 130 Gb, maybe more). That would serve as backup and also port my files to my laptop. I'd like any of both computers to automatically sync all files there with local copies, so that I can work at either of them and keep updated copies of everything in both (plus the USB drive, which would allow me to work in other computers, too, apart from being another backup). Dropbox ins't a solution for me, due to pricing and 100Gb limit.

The workflow would be as follows, to clear things up:

  1. I work on PC1. Changes in files are automatically synced to USB whenever a file is modified.
  2. I go home and boot PC2. I plug the usb drive and local files are synced (if changed) with the most recent usb copies.
  3. While I work at PC2, again, changes in files spread to my USB drive.
  4. Whenever I go to PC1 again, I plug my usb and again everything synces.

So the questions would be:
a) Am I crazy?
b) Can it be done?
c) Will I have any file conflicts (provided I'm the only one that will modify the files)?

  • Have a look at this question: askubuntu.com/q/474/3940. An automatic procedure will not work securely - it needs to be you to tell when to sync. Why not always work on your external drive? – Takkat Jan 13 '11 at 15:53
  • I could work always in my external drive, but I'd prefer not to do it due to 2 main concerns: 1) Reliability (usb accidentally unplugging, for instance) 2) Speed: i sometimes use large files, and transfer rates are... well, USB ones. On the other had, I had seen that question, but still don't know if I will have problems with the two PC's configuration (the question you point to seems to be a single PC layout) – luri Jan 13 '11 at 15:56
  • sync is sync, no matter on how many devices. But you really need to take care never to puzzle source and destination ;) – Takkat Jan 13 '11 at 17:44
  • This question seems abandoned, there is not further information or activity added to it for several months. I am flagging this to be closed by a moderator. If you think this issue is still affecting you you can flag a moderator to re-open it. – Bruno Pereira Feb 3 '12 at 1:21
  • The problem is the delay in syncing before you can use your files. It would be much easier to use your portable drive to store you home directory, and just back that up to the local machine each time you connect. – virtualxtc Jan 7 '14 at 8:31

A vague answer would be to use rsync to sync to and from your HDD to a selected file structure on your systems. I typically just use rsync to push changes from my server to backup HDDs, but (without trying this on my own) I can't see why you couldn't rsync to and from the drive. This, however probably wouldn't be something you would do automagically. Just have a script you could call when you want to sync up the drive. You could go hog wild and write a script to listen for when you plug in that specific HDD and then kick off the rsync scripts if you really wanted.

rsync on wikipedia
Basic rsync tutorial

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Thanks for the links... I'll take a look at them because, actually, I haven't ever used rsync, as I recently moved from the 'other side' of OS's. There I used Viceversa Pro, which was good but wasn't automatic, and each execution needed to scan all files in source and all files in target to sync.... Took long, of course. I was thinking about something as what is described in this page... would something like that do the trick? ...and could I somehow set the script described there to run whenever the filesystem (the part of it I choose: one or more folders) is changed? (i.e. not timed events, but HD events driven)

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  • Still doing my search.... I've found freefilesync, which, combined with RealTimeSync, could do the work I need. I don't (still) know several things about this software: if it's quick enough (dunno what comparison algorithm has been implemented), if it's reliable enough (no data loss, no file corruption....), if it copies whole files or the parts of them that have changed.... – luri Jan 13 '11 at 23:52