keeping a user account synced between two Macs

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by eliehass, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. eliehass macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2008
    I have two Macs in my home and want to have a user account on each of them that stay synced with each other so that any change made to one account propagates to the other. People have suggested dropbox to me, but it seems like that's meant for specific folders, not for an entire user account, and it works over the internet, whereas I want something that works over my home network.

    I'm pretty sure this can be accomplished using Lion Server, but as of now I don't have that, so if anyone knows a way this can be done, I would much appreciate it if you can let me know. Thanks.
  2. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    I don't really have a perfect solution, but you should know that DropBox does work over LAN/WLAN as well as the internet. So changes made on Mac A get pushed to Mac B on the network as well as uploaded to the internet. The info doesn't have to go through the internet first.

    As you have pointed out, it's not a perfect solution, but it might be a step closer with this info.
  3. eliehass thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2008
    Thanks. Is there any way to not back up to the internet? And could dropbox be set to back up everything and not just specific folders?
  4. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    You have to pay for dropbox above 2gb. There is not a way to keep dropbox from backing up online, because thats what it is supposed to do.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  5. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    That's the thing, it only backs up what's in that folder. You could easily put most everything in your user folder in your Dropbox folder. A lot of my user data is in that folder, but if you wanted true sync, you'd need to get the library folder in there, which would cause problems in your system.

    If you wanted to sync the information, but not the settings and whatnot, Dropbox would be great.

    Otherwise, you could try looking at using the rsync command in the Terminal. You'd have to set up some kind of script to run and be able to mount the other Mac as a network drive, but it could be done. For example, you could set up a script that would sync the changes from the Mac you were on to the 2nd Mac whenever you log out of the first Mac.
  6. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    My Dropbox is currently at 5.8 GB, and it's still free. Referrals, my friend, referrals.
  7. eliehass thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2008
    I need to keep anywhere from 60-100 GB synced, so I don't think I could go with dropbox...
  8. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    Do some research on the rsync command and see if that might work for you.
  9. sdpgreen macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    Syncing 2 Macs / User Accounts

    Hello Eliehass, et. al.

    Did you find a solution that you are happy with?

    I want to do the same - sync my MacBook Pro w/ my iMac (both running Lion).

    I want to be able to come home from a business trip and have all of the new / edited info on my MacBook (new photos (organized & edited), changes to various folders in "documents", random files/folders added to desktop, changes made in iTunes, etc) show up on my iMac, which I work off of while at home. And of course the reverse - sync the changes on my iMac to my MacBook before I travel again.

    Wouldn't it be possible to copy a User's Home Folder on Machine 1 to an external drive, and then use that to replace / update the Home Folder on Machine 2?

    Or possibly do a complete Disc Clone (i.e. Super Duper) of Machine 1, and then use that to "restore" Machine 2?

    What are the pros and cons?
    And any better solutions?

    I realize that my proposals may be over simplified, but also that my goal must be a common one.

    Thanks for any help!
  10. LNYMRKO macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    You can use Dropbox and symbolic links. I have both of my macs syncing the Desktop, Documents, Pictures and Music folders setup like this. As stated, you will need enough room on your Dropbox account to allow that however, I purchased the 50GB and may even need to upgrade to 100GB at some stage.

    It works quite well.. I create a new file on my desktop, and within seconds it is replicated on the other Mac. I delete it, and it dissappears just as quick.

    In order to setup symlinks, you will need to do the following:

    1) Pause dropbox syncing on both computers
    2) Open terminal on both computers and configure the same symlinks
    3) Un-pause dropbox syncing on both computers

    Symlinks example (off the top of my head, you may need to research further):

    ln -s /Users/Username/Folder /Users/Username/Dropbox/Folder

    EG: ln -s /Users/eliehass/Desktop /Users/eliehass/Dropbox/Desktop

    I would test it one folder at a time so that you know whats going on, start with your desktop for example (take a backup of it first in case). Also be aware of how long it will take to upload GBs of data to Dropbox.. mine took a few days to complete the first initial sync (uploading to Dropbox) - LANsync feature enables quick download speeds however to sync files locally (it will still goto the Dropbox cloud however).

    Be ware though... If you enable this on your iTunes folder you can only have ONE copy of iTunes open at any time on your Macs.. the process would be to close iTunes, wait for Dropbox to sync the XML library files on both computers before opening iTunes on the other Mac. I also wouldn't be using this to sync Library or System folders.. I havn't tested that as I only use it for replication of personal data not system/application data, so I wouldn't know if that would work or not!

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