You Synchronize software is for Mac OS X (10.2.6 or later) users who keep files at
more than one location and have a need to synchronize those files as and when needed.
It will even synchronize files on different platforms under different Operating Systems.
"Consolidation" is a simple method of synchronization, but is error prone
and may lead to duplicate files or loss of data by overwriting the files. You Synchronize
software overcomes these issues with "Time and State" synchronization techniques
using CRC32 bit checksums to determine if a file has changed.
Resources used to test
- Mac 3 (B&W)
- OS 9.2.2
- OS 10.2.8
- Microsoft Word 98 for
- Dave File Sharing Software
between Mac and PC
- Seagate 9 Gig Internal
Hard drive (with Mac)
- IBM 18 Gig Internal Hard
drive (with Mac)
- Western Digital 30 Gig
External (Firewire) Hard Drive with Mac
- Maxtor 250 Gig External
(Firewire) Hard Drive with Mac
- Dell PC Dimension 2400
- OS XP Home Edition 2002
- Microsoft Word 2003
- Internal Hard drive
Mac/PC Connectivity: Ethernet TPC/IP over Wireless Router (Cisco Linksys)
You Software provides both "Buy It" and "Try It" links of their
products on their web site. When you download the software, you have 15 days to try
out a fully functioning version of the software before deciding to purchase. You
can purchase the retail boxed version for $69.95, or purchase a single user license
for the download version for $49.95.
You Synchronize is easiest (and cheapest) to download from the web. Installing You
Synchronize is quite simple; after downloading the .dmg file, the file automatically
mounts. The installer script automatically copies You Synchronize to your desktop,
ejects the volume, and opens the application.
You Synchronize is very simple to use. In the You Synchronize dialog box under the
Settings tab, simply choose a "Local" folder at one location and choose
a "Remote" folder at another location, and then click on the synchronization
button ("Sync"). The synchronization process changes the contents of the
files in the Remote folder if the modifications in the Local folder are more recent,
and changes the contents of the files in the Local folder if the modifications in
the Remote folder are more recent.
You Synchronize - Local and Remote folder selection
There are a total of fix tabs in the You Synchronize dialogue box, and four primary
(aka, always showing) buttons. The
four buttons are Projects, Schedule, Inspect and Sync. The six tabs are Summary,
Differences, History, Archive, Settings and About You.
PROJECT BUTTON: The Project button opens and closes the Projects drawer. From
the Projects drawer you can create (add), rename, and delete projects. Next to the
Projects button is a dropdown arrow to provide quick access to your projects. To
save your Local and Remote folders for synchronization for a number of different
folders, it is important to create Projects. The top-level folders called Local folder
and Remote folders can contain any combination of files and folders for synchronization.
Different projects allow you to perform different levels of synchronization without
having to re-create the settings each time you want to synchronize.
To synchronize more than one set of folders, you may need to create multiple Projects.
If you don't specify a project, your Local and Remote folders are placed in Default
For example, say you have a folder that contains an Excel Spreadsheet. A working
copy resides on a Laptop in primary drive and a backup copy on secondary drive of
the Laptop, and another copy on the desktop. Your colleagues and other employees
may have read-only access to the copy on your desktop for their use. Using You Synchronize,
you can set the Local folder to the folder that contains the Excel Spreadsheet on
the primary drive and set the Remote folder to the folder that contains the backup
copy on the secondary drive. After synchronization, contents of the backup Excel
spreadsheet will be identical to the primary Excel spreadsheet. This is becomes your
default Project. However, you still need to bring the copy on your desktop up-to-date,
so you create a new project, "Project 1", to synchronize the backup copy
on the secondary drive to the copy on your desktop.
You may create a number of Projects based on the size (number of different files)
and complexities of your folders.
SCHEDULE BUTTON: The Schedule button allows users to perform unattended synchronization
(true to its name) on a selected Project (where Local and Remote folders are already
identified). You can add, duplicate or delete a schedule (month, day and time of
the day), and enable or disable a schedule.
INSPECT BUTTON: The Inspect button gathers information about what will be
synchronized prior to performing a synchronization. This gives you an option to see
what's going to happen before any files are updated, allowing you to change your
SYNC BUTTON: The Sync button immediately performs synchronization on targeted
SUMMARY: Contains basic information about last synchronization, such as Local
and Remote folders, date, time, and duration of the process.
DIFFERENCES: This lists all changes that that could occurr between the files
synchronized. There are twelve possible scenarios for synchronization. These show
up on Local and Remote folders change list displayed under Differences Tab.
- File Unchanged: Files
that have not changed are not displayed.
- Local File Added: A file
added to local folder will be copied to the Remote folder after synchronization.
A '+' will appear against the file in Local folder.
- Remote File added: A
file was added to the Remote folder and will be copied to the Local folder. A '+'
appears against the file in Remote folder.
- Local File Removed: A
file removed from the Local folder will be removed from the Remote folder upon synchronization.
A '-' will appear against the file removed in Local folder.
- Remote File Removed:
A file removed from the Remote folder will be removed from the Local folder upon
synchronization. A '-' will appear against the file removed in Remote folder.
- Local File Modified:
A file modified in Local folder will be changed in Remote folder upon synchronization.
A yellow warning sign will appear against the file in Local folder.
- Remote File Modified:
A file modified in Remote folder will be changed in Local folder upon synchronization.
A yellow warning sign will appear against the file in Remote folder.
- Duplicate Additions:
Different files with the same names have been added to both Local & Remote folders
since last synchronization. A red stop sign will appear against these files in both
Local folder file lists and Remote folder file lists. These files are not synchronized
upon synchronization. The User may by control clicking on the file; select 'Keep
This Duplicate Change' will change the status of the file.
- Duplicate Removal: A
file is removed from both Local and Remote folders and no changes are required upon
synchronization. Names of these files are not displayed.
- Duplicate Modification:
A file modified in both Local and Remote folders will show a red stop against the
file name and the will not be synchronized. By control clicking that file (Local
or Remote but not both), the user may by selecting 'Keep This Duplicate Change' will
change the status of the file.
- Local Modification, Remote
Removal: A file modified in Local folder but removed from the Remote folder will
be copied into the Remote folder upon synchronization. A yellow diamond sign against
such file appears in the window.
- Remote Modification,
Local Removal: A file modified in Remote folder but removed from the Local folder
will be copied into the Local folder upon synchronization. A yellow diamond sign
against such file appears in the window.
HISTORY: Shows all detailed information of all changes that were made during
synchronization and any errors that may have occurred. History files are created
in 'You Synchronize Folder' created in the user's Home Directory. All files are plain
text. The user may delete any or all of the History files.
ARCHIVE: Allows the user to view the archived files stored in 'You Synchronize
Storage' folder created in user's Home directory. The Archive option helps to eliminate
any potential data loss during synchronization. Synchronizing files can cause loss
of data in two ways:
- A deleted file in the
Local folder may remove the file from the Remote folder upon synchronization
- Modification of a file
in Local folder, the file in Remote folder will be updated upon synchronization thus
overwriting the old version at the Remote folder (and vice versa).
The deleted files as well
as previous versions of updated files are archived upon synchronization.
SETTINGS: The settings tab is the primary working tab in You Synchronize.
It allows the user to select the Local and Remote folders whose contents the user
wants to synchronize. It lets you set how the synchronization will be handled such
as type (one way or two way synchronization, Local Replaces Remote or Remote Replaces
Local), comparison (checksum, or file signature, or checksum and modification date,
or modification date only), and what files to exclude. Users have the option to select
one or all to archive, secure deleted files and/or place deleted files in trash,
and more. It also includes an option for "One Button Synchronization".
Two way synchronization
means that changes in either locations (Remote and Local) will propogate to the other.
In other words, if the Local file is changed, the Remote file is updated during
synchronization, and if the Remote file is changed, then the Local file is updated.
I should point out here that the Local folder may have numerous files, as well
as the Remote folder. However, only those files that are changed are updated. If
a file is changed in the Local folder, but not changed in the Remote folder, then
the change is made to the Remote folder during synchronization. If a different file
is changed in the Remote folder but not in the Local folder, than that change is
made to the Local folder. I found that when changes were made to the same file in
both the Remote and Local folder, the file in the Local folder overrode the changes
in the Remote folder. When updating files in both places, the user needs to be very
careful about the way synchronization is applied (see test #6 below).
A few words on excluding files: Selecting a file (in a Project) for exclusion will
add the file to an exclusion list. If a folder is selected for exclusion, then all
files and folders within that folder will be added to the exclusion list. For example,
a user may synchronize an entire User Document folder, but may want to exclude emails
or contacts database. It is important to exclude files from both Local and Remote
folders that don't need to be synchronized. The files that don't exist in the Local
folder, but are present in the Remote folder, will be copied to the Local folder,
and vice versa (see test #8 below).
ABOUT YOU: As expected, provides basic information about You Synchronize,
such as version, serial number and to whom the software is registered to.
Following tests were carried out using a Microsoft Word 2003 document:
- Word document on desktop
and a copy on Seagate internal drive. Changes were made to document on desktop. Both
documents were synchronized. The same changes were indeed carried to the document
on internal drive.
- Word document on Seagate
internal drive and a copy on IBM internal drive. Changes were made to document on
Seagate internal. Both documents were synchronized. The same changes were indeed
carried to the document on IBM internal drive.
- Word document on IBM
internal drive and a copy on Western Digital external drive. Changes were made to
document on IBM internal. Both documents were synchronized. The same changes were
indeed carried to the document on Western Digital external drive.
- Word document on Western
Digital external drive and a copy on Maxtor external drive. Changes were made to
document on Western Digital external drive. Both documents were synchronized. The
same changes were indeed carried to the document on Maxtor external drive.
- Word document (2003)
on PC desktop in a folder. Selected the folder as shared. Mounted this folder using
Dave on Mac desktop under OS 10.2.8. Tried to open Word document on the mounted folder
using Microsoft Word 98. The document did not open. Saved a copy of document on external
Maxtor drive. Restarted Mac under OS 9.2.2. Opened the copy of document external
Maxtor drive using Microsoft Word 98. Made some changes to the copy of the document
on external Maxtor drive. Synchronized the mounted folder on desktop of Mac (OS 10.2.8)
and external Maxtor drive folder containing changed document. In the mean time PC
had gone into sleep mode. Opened the original Word document (Microsoft Word 2003)
in the shared folder on PC desktop. The original document PC desktop was indeed changed
to the copy of the document external drive (Maxtor) to Mac. Cool!
- A Word file at Local
folder (in Seagate internal drive) was modified and same file at Remote folder (external
Maxtor drive) was also modified. Two modifications were not identical. A two way
synchronization was selected. After synchronization, file in Remote folder was changed,
but file in Local folder was unaffected. Expected results were that the two files
would be updated to incorporate changes made in both places. The data in the files
are identical, but the modifications in file at Remote folder were not carried to
the file at the Local folder. You Synchronize failed this test. I believe the file
at Remote folder got changed first to match the file at Local folder. The modifications
before synchronization at the Remote folder were overwritten during synchronization.
Remote to Local synchronization did not make any difference since the files had already
- A Word file was modified
at Remote folder (on external Maxtor drive) only. Synchronization did change the
file at Local folder.
- A Word file was kept
at a Local folder on desktop and a copy was stored at Remote folder in external Maxtor
drive. The file in the Remote folder was renamed. Extensive changes were made to
both files. Also, five different files were moved to the Remote folder. After synchronization,
the changes in the Word file in the Local folder were not incorporated in the renamed
file at Remote folder. However, a copy of the Word file was created in Remote folder,
and a copy of the renamed file was created in the Local folder. Finally, all five
files with various extensions were also created in the Local folder. You Synch appears
to treat renamed files as new files.
For the most part, my
tests show that this software is quite reliable and very useful. There was a learning
curve in determining exactly how and when it performs changes. The User's Guide
is a very simplistic "how-to" document. It does not give any details on
how various features of this product are implemented. For example, there is one statement
where the documentation mentions that modification date is not used in the synchronization
process. It states that a "Time and State" technique based on CRC32 bit
checksums is used instead. It does not define this technique in any manner the provided
me a good understanding of it.
You Synchronize is
a useful tool for synchronizing files at different locations under different platforms,
great for people who are always on the move. It provides a fast and easy tool for
importing and exporting files between Local and Remote folders in a one-step operation.
More than two locations cannot be synchronized in this one-step operation, but can
be done using Projects. You Synch keeps track of what changes were made, and to what
files. Unmodified files are archived, so you don't have to worry about losing data.
The cost of this product is insignificant in comparison to the enhancement it provides
in productivity. One should become thoroughly familiar with how it works before
committing complete faith, and that does require some computer expertise. For those
that with moderate to expert computer literacy, I highly recommend this product.
- Productivity enhancement
- Archives data
- Good paper trail
- Great value
- Simultaneous two way
- Novice users may stumble
in understanding how it works
- More than two locations
cannot be synchronized simultaneously (must create Projects)
- User's Guide is inadequate
4 out of 5 Mice