Keeping 2 macs in complete sync - I searched!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by amoda, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. amoda macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 9, 2006
    #1
    Hey,

    I'm looking for some software that can keep 2 macs in complete sync (files, applications, browsing history, etc).

    I'm not sure if that's possible, by what I've been reading most people use stuff like Dropbox. I'm looking for something a bit more exhaustive.

    Currently I have a 17" MBP, but may be switching to an iMac/13"MB scenario. Ideally I'd like to have a system in place where I save my notes on my MB, but when I get home and turn on the iMac it's there without too much hassle. I know that sounds spoiled but I can see USBing/emailing individual files getting really old, really quickly.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

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    #2
  3. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #3
    Dropbox works extremely well for the note-taking example you give and by extension to the files bit of your wishlist. It's better than MobileMe in that the files are copied to the clients and thus readily available offline.

    Some Applications should be happy stored in Dropbox, others less so, and as to the browser stuff, which browser do you use? If Safari, try Mobile Me.

    B
     
  4. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

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    #4
    The problem with Dropbox in this example is that its all in the dropbox folder. A more powerful tool like Rsync or Unison will keep the users Home folder identical on both computers if it is set up correctly.

    This is based on my interpretation of what the OP is looking for. It kind of sounds like he wants to move between the two computers seemlessly, with everything in the same appropriate location on both.
     
  5. balamw, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010

    balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #5
    Sure, but the OP also wants "it's there without too much hassle." That's dropbox, not rsync/unison. ;)

    Another option that has worked well for me is to use version control. Find a subversion host (like beanstalk http://www.beanstalkapp.com/) and use that. Unlike rsync it is designed for concurrent modification and supports conflict resolution.

    I've set up unison a number of times over the years (linux<->windows, over rsync because of the native Windows client) and it never lasts. I always manage to get things out of sync and b0rked once I go beyond simple file things that dropbox (or just sticking files in the cloud) would be better at.

    IMHO complete sync (a la rsync/unison) only works well if you only are syncing between two identical machines and never use them at the same time. There's too much risk to really foul things up going beyond that.

    EDIT: Portable Home Directories should be the way to go, but judging from http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=1249 it's far from foolproof/set it and forget it.

    B
     
  6. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

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    #6
    You have a point. I use Rsync alot, but never to sync Home folders on 2 different machines. I could kind of see how that could cause an issue...

    Rsync for me keeps my iTunes folder synced to a freenas RAID, and also syncs my Freenas with a seperate external backup.

    TBH I have only used Unison once and I also noticed shoddy results, but many users praise it, so I assumed I did something wrong.
     
  7. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #7
    Before you consider dropbox as a solution, make sure that what you want to sync will work with dropbox. I tried using dropbox to sync my MBP and iMac for my Quicken 2007 data files and found out that dropbox will corrupt the Quicken databases. Fortunately I was super cautious and had a backup. The dropbox website has a forum where it says that Quicken databases will not sync properly with dropbox.
     
  8. belvdr macrumors 603

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  9. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #9
    Sounds like you're doing something much simpler than what the OP wanted, client -> FreeNAS -> backup all essentially one way. For that rsync sounds like an ideal tool.

    Personally, I use a combination of dropbox, Google Docs, subversion, Mobile Me, Windows Live Skydrive and a WHS based NAS to keep things accessible from all of my machines including the iPhone and iPad.

    B
     
  10. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #10
    Chronosync for files
    MobileMe for bookmarks, calendars, contacts, etc
     
  11. amoda thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 9, 2006
    #11
    That's exactly what I'm looking for, thanks for translating my rant :)

    Thank you all for the replies. I appreciate the suggestions, discussion and the super-fast replies!

    I'm really liking chronosync, it looks to fit the bill perfectly. It syncs essentially everything minus applications and can do so over wifi.

    Rsync is also a viable alternative.

    It looks like I really may make the switch!

    Again, thanks for your help :)
     
  12. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #12
    Also make sure you try out Live Mesh. It's pretty awesome, can sync between computers and/or the cloud.
     
  13. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

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    #13
    Yea I see what you mean. At one point I had two syncing with each other, but even at that I was cheating. They both ran 24/7, so I set up a cron job on both of them. 1->2 @6am, 2->1 @6pm. But yea, always a one way sync...

    Another trick I have used to maintain the same User folder on multiple Macs is to use a fast external drive and mount it as the /Users folder via this guide: Moving /Users

    However with that method you would have to have the external drive attached in order to use your Mac, so no way of using both computers at the same time.
     
  14. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #14
    It does look like a decent choice, just be careful to read the tips and be selective about what you want to sync. As they mention you can get yourself into trouble doing deceptively simple things like running iTunes or iPhoto on the two systems at the same time. At least it provides some conflict resolution that straight rsync does not.

    A good thing IMHO.

    B
     
  15. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #15
    Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for keeping two or more Mac's in sync till now.

    I've played with almost every sync tool that is available these days and have even made my own sync tool, which serves me fine so far, but Apple really has to work on a convenient, and most important easy way to keep several computers in sync.

    All these tools that are available today just don't really cut it.
     
  16. Auctioneer macrumors newbie

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    Dec 13, 2010
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    Wichita, KS
    #16
    Let me know...

    I am using time capsule and mobile me, but if you come up with a better solution let me know - seems crazy to keep all this data in five places. Between a work time capsule and mobile me and a home time capsule everything works out just seems like I am storing way to much on too many hard drives. I am often mobile between home office and office office, and remembering to ftp something or dropbox it seems like too much to do daily.
     

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