Saturday, 18 December 2010

D-Link ShareCenter Pulse and Microsoft Sync Toy: Automatically sync files and folders in Windows

Since I had no decent way of backing up my files and photos other than using an Internet based service, I recently bought a NAS box, namely the D-Link ShareCenter Pulse DNS-320 for £69.99 from Amazon (the price seems to have gone up since I bought it). See this review.

My first impressions after a few days are that it's a brilliant unit which comes with an iTunes server, uPnP server for streaming to PS3, Xbox 360 etc and also a built in BitTorrent client for downloading files without the need for a power hungry PC.

It doesn't come with drives (which you'd expect at that price) so I put a 500GB SATA disk in which is more than enough for my needs just now. It's very quick to set up, and within an hour or so I had it ready to accept my files and it was streaming my iTunes and AV library on the LAN to the PC, PS3 and 360.

But the problem I had was that I wanted to back up certain folders on my PC to the NAS without having to copy things manually. Ideally I wanted a utility that would monitor certain folders and if their contents changed, the changes would be mirrored between my PC and the NAS box. After some Googling around, I found a nice straightforward solution which does exactly what I needed: Microsoft SyncToy.

It's free, and is a very straightforward utility that you can use to sync folders automatically. You just pick the folders you want to sync, decide whether changes should be reflected on both devices or just one way, and off you go. It will mirror the two folders and any changes you make to one will be reflected in the other.

So now if I copy photographs onto my PC, as long as the NAS box is up and running the pictures will be mirrored to the folder on the NAS.