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Vista's Sync Center - Not the Best Sync Option

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 8/2/2009

Sync Center can help you keep your data in sync when you store data on more than one device. You can use Sync Center to sync music with a portable music player, pictures with a cell phone, or documents on a PDA. (The device's software is almost always better though.)

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    Sync Center can help you keep your data in sync when you store data on more than one device. You can use Sync Center to sync music with a portable music player, pictures with a cell phone, or documents on a PDA. (The device's software is almost always better though.)

    If you keep files on a desktop PC and on another device, such as on a mobile PC, music player, thumb drive, PDA, or mobile phone, you need some sort of syncing program to manage the duplicate data. For instance, you might carry a USB flash drive back and forth between your office and you home so that you can work on the files, say, on the weekends. However, if you do, you need some way to sync those newer and altered files with the older versions of the same files when you return to work. Sync Center can do that for you. The same holds true regarding portable music players. While you manage your music collection on your PC, you use a portable music player while away from the computer. You need to be able to sync the two so that any music you add to or delete from your computer is also added to or deleted from your music player.

    Now, there are other programs that will have more features than Sync Center and you should use them. Media Player and iTunes are great for managing your music. Cell phone software is good for syncing your phone with your computer. And your office might offer syncing software for your documents. You get the idea. In a pinch though, Sync Center will do; just don't say I didn't warn you.

    There are two ways to sync data between two devices. The first is a one-way sync. With this, anytime you change information on one device, like a PC, the same information is changed on the second. It's a one-way street. One-way syncs are often used for music players and cell phones.

    The other type of sync is a two-way sync. This type of sync is a two-way street. You might create a two-way sync between a USB flash drive and an office pc. Changes made on the home PC and saved to the flash drive will sync to the network PC, and vice-versa. Two way syncs are generally used in work environments.

    Here are some sync rules to remember.

    • When two versions of the same file are different, Sync Center selects the most recent version to keep by default.
    • When a file has changed in both locations, Sync Center tells you there's a sync conflict and lets you to choose which version to keep. You can keep both if you aren't sure.
    • When two files are identical, no sync is performed.
    • When you add or delete a file in one location but not the other, Sync Center adds or deletes the file to the other location.

    To use Sync Center you must first create a relationship between the two devices, and then perform a sync:

    1. Turn on the mobile or external device, and connect the device and the computer using a USB cable.
    2. In the Start Search window, type Sync Center.
    3. Open Sync Center.
    4. In Sync Center, click Set up new sync partnerships.
    5. Click the name of the device in the list of available sync partnerships. [See Image 1]
    6. On the toolbar, click Set Up.
    7. Select Sync this device automatically.
    8. Under Available Playlists, select Sync Playlists.
    9. Select any playlists listed that you want to sync, one at a time, and click Add.
    10. To remove a playlist, select it under Playlists to Sync and click Remove.
    11. Click Finish.
    12. To sync, click your device in the list of sync partnerships, and click Sync.

    Note that you can also choose to shuffle what syncs and change the priority of a playlist - which you may want to do with music or photos. Shuffling will play the synced music, photos, or videos in random order and priority will make sure the items at the top of the list are synced before anything else.

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    Images

    Sync Center