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Five essential Windows sync tools

When you have two or more computers, how do you keep your digital life in sync? Start with these five Windows tools that help you handle files, bookmarks, passwords, and RSS feeds. Best of all, each one is free.
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Click the "Always available offline" check box to make a shared network folder available even if you're not connected to the network.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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As part of the process of making a folder available offline, you can define when synchronization takes place: on a set schedule, or in response to specific events.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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The simplest way to keep your local cache of files in sync with the network is to allow Windows to copy changes in both directions when your PC is otherwise idle.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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This dialog box allows you to define how much disk space is set aside for the local cache. Setting this number correctly is a key part of the setup process.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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When you reconnect after being offline, Windows syncs your changes to the network. During the sync process, it checks for conflicts like this one and gives you the choice of which file(s) to keep.

For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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The Live Mesh utility performs sync tasks automatically in the background as long as you're signed in to your Live Mesh account.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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By defaults, files are synchronized to online storage, called your Live Desktop. You can add Windows PCs and Macs (and, soon, mobile devices) here, then set up sync options for each one.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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This pop-up notifier in the system tray lets you see at a glance which devices are currently online and signed into the Live Mesh services. If you chose the option to allow direct connections, you can access other machines using Live Mesh Remote Desktop.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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This dialog box allows you to specify which local folder is associated with a sync folder. Using this option lets you work with programs that expect settings and data files to be in specific locations.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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Every entry in this list includes a URL, login name, and password, along with optional notes. The database is encrypted using your password, and only the encrypted data is stored online.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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If you're away from your main PC, you can access your stored passwords by visiting the lastpass.com website. You can log on to any page by clicking a link here.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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This dialog box allows you to view or edit saved log on information. Note that passwords are not visible by default. Click the Show link to unhide the password.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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LastPass is most useful when you install it as an add-on for Internet Explorer or Firefox. The options are slightly different for each browser; in Firefox, for example, you can display saved sites in the sidebar by clicking the last option on this page.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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The biggest security mistake most people make on the web is using (and reusing) simple, easy-to-guess passwords. LastPass offers a password generator (see the Generate button in the yellow browser bar) that automatically creates a complex password for you to use when you create a new web-based logon.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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The best way to use FeedDemon is to set up a free NewsGator account and then assign each installed copy to a unique location. If you catch up with your feeds at the office, they're marked as read when you get home.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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If you organize your RSS feeds into folders, you can choose to have some feeds that are unsynchronized, allowing you to keep personal feeds at home, and work feeds at work.

For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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As you browse through your feeds, you might come across an article you want to read later, when you have more time. Click the flag icon to mark it (in red). Flagged items are synced across locations, so you can view all flagged items in a single view.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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FeedDemon keeps track of the sites you read most regularly and stores this "attention data" for you. From the main subscriptions page, you can view the feeds you pay most attention to and even export a list (in OPML format) for use with other feed readers.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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The biggest advantage of having a local copy of RSS feeds, in my experience, is the ability to search through the archives and find a particular news item. In this example, I'm looking for items from my Deals folder that contain the word "Dell" and were sent this month.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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Xmarks (formerly called Foxmarks) allows you to upload your bookmarks from any supported browser and then sync the saved collection between different PCs or different browsers on the same PC. To start, you need to create an Xmarks account online.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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The first time you sync bookmarks in a given browser, you have the option to merge your favorites or replace one set of bookmarks with your master set.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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When you install the appropriate Xmarks add-on for IE or Firefox, you can specify whether bookmarks are synced automatically or on-demand. This status dialog box lets you kick off a manual sync if necessary.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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This collection contains more than 3000 separate bookmarks saved over the course of several years. Searching for a word or phrase using this web-based interface is lightning-quick
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.
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If you're careful to keep your work and personal web personas separate, you'll want to explore the option to create separate sync profiles. The default options allow for separate home, work, and mobile profiles, but you can others if you prefer.
For full details and download links, see Five Windows tools to keep your digital life in sync.

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