How to Sync files/folders between a Mac and a Windows PC?


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 16, 2005
Toronto, ON, Canada
Hi there,

I’m currently a Windows user (used to be a Mac user in the 8.x days) and am currently looking into getting an iBook (well, as soon as they get their updates: )

Anyhow, I’ve tried searching the forums for my question, but did not find anything on point, but do apologize if this has been answered already and I missed it.

I currently work on documents that are stored on a Windows desktop (while I am on a Windows notebook). Using Windows XP, you can designate certain files/folders to be made available “offline”, so that they are stored on the notebook, but can be synchronized with the desktop quite easily (which is important as different files are usually updated/worked on/created at the same time on the notebook/desktop (i.e. the server).

If/when I get an iBook, I still need to work with files that are kept on the Windows desktop. Now, I know I can just manually copy files back and forth, but wanted to know if there is an easy way to sync files and folders between a Mac and Windows machine so I don’t need to worry about which files were updates on the server and which files were updated on the notebook?

Any help would be appreciated! I am willing to look at “non-free” solutions, but I am a student, so can’t really afford anything expensive (as is, the iBook will be pushing my budget).

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
Adelaide, Australia
You could try .Mac but I don't think it's the best solution. It'll mean the files are stored externally on an Apple server so both the desktop and laptop can sync with it. You can access it from Windows or Mac. :)


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 16, 2005
Toronto, ON, Canada

Thanks for the suggestions! :)

I think of the options suggested so far, ChronoSync does what I need (ability to meld two sets of files; with some modified on a host and some on the server) best.

I’ve been doing my own research and found some more programs that I thought I’d list here (both to see if anyone has used these and can offer any comments and so that if someone else has the same question I had, they can see a whole bunch of their options in this thread):

Only $20 USD for individuals and free for students. Seems to be a nice, simple program that does 'sync'.

Unison File Synchronizer:
Requires a little bit of work to set it up (it seems; haven’t tried it yet), but is cross-platform and is open source (i.e. so free and the code is available).

You Synchronize:
A commercial solution that claims to be very reliable and fast, but at $49.95 USD, it is pricier than the other solutions raised.

If anyone has used any of the foregoing; comments would be appreciated! :)

Again, thanks to everyone who has offered suggestions thus far :)


macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2012
My solution

This is a rather old thread, but one on an important topic, so I wanted to share a solution I've found that works very well and will likely be free if you don't need more than 5GB or so of files synced between systems. It's a Dropbox-like Cloud solution called SugarSync, and it works quite well at keeping files between Macs and PCs in sync.

Take a look at the article I've written if you'd like more details of how to set it up.

Hope it helps!

M. Nichols
Products Editor
Pocket PC Central