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Keeping Files Synchronized with Windows Live Sync

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Need the same documents or data across multiple computers, or want to share them with others? Discover Microsoft’s free service that keeps your files in sync. Eric Geier, author of 100 Things You Need to Know about Microsoft Vista, steps you through setting up the service and the sync software.
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Microsoft offers many free online services through what they call Windows Live. It gives you email service, an online calendar, sharing and synchronization features, Internet filtering, and more. In this tutorial, we'll be discussing the synchronization features offered by the Windows Live Sync service. It lets you synchronize, share, and remotely access your files from multiple computers and/or locations. It works with Mac OS X in addition to Windows XP SP2 or later.

If you need access to work files from your PC at home, for example, just install the sync software on both machines and it will keep your home PC updated with your work documents, and vice versa. You can also securely access the files from any computer in the world by logging in to your Windows Live Sync account online. Plus, you can give access to others so their PC is kept updated with the folders you choose.

Getting Started

The first step is to sign up for the service on its website. If you already have a Windows Live ID, you can log in with that; otherwise, you'll create one.

Next you need to install the sync software on each PC you want to keep synchronized. Once you log in to your account, you should see a download link for the sync software, near the top of the page. You can use this link from each PC to download the software. Once you install it, open the application and sign in with your Windows Live ID.

As you install and run the software on each computer, you should see the computers appear on your Windows Live Sync page, such as Figure 1 shows. They'll each have an icon under the Devices section, labeled by the Computer Name, the same identifier used when file sharing on your local network.

Figure 1 Windows Live Sync page.

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