Synchronizing With a Notebook Computer's Local Disk
Why would I want to synchronize with ThayerFS?
There are many advantages to keeping your data on ThayerFS, and we ask that you do so for any important data. This works extremely well with a computer tha is always connected to Dartmouth's fast campus network, but having your data on ThayerFS can be inconvenient when you are using a notebook computer connected to a slow Internet connection or have no Internet connection.
In such cases the ideal scenario is to have the data on a local disk on your personal computer so you can use it wherever your are and then have an automatic way to synchronize it back to ThayerFS when you have a fast Internet connection.
With full synchronization provided by the solution described below, you can edit files on the notebook computer or ThayerFS (from any computer that can access it), and the synchronization process will resolve the changes to make sure both sides have the latest versions of all your files. It is best not to edit the same file on both sides without a synchronization between the edits.
Before configuring synchronization, you need to decide what folder(s) you wish to synchronize between ThayerFS. Bear in mind that you will need enough space on the notebook computer's local disk for all the synchronized folders and files, and also remember that the synchronization process will take longer for more files and data, especially for the initial synchronization or if a lot of files and data change.
Windows has an excellent built-in mechanism for synchronizing with ThayerFS. We have confirmed that it works well using XP Professional. We have not tested it using other versions of Windows.
Windows has a "Make Available Offline" option for files and folders that tells Windows to automatically synchronize them. You can configure this directly from the Windows GUI by browsing to the file or folder you wish to synchronize (remember that it must be on ThayerFS), right clicking on it, and selecting "Make Available Offline". You can reverse this operation by simply selecting "Make Available Offline" again for that file or folder. If you make a folder available offline, all its contents will be synchronized too.
When you are not connected to ThayerFS, your synchronized files and folders will still be available from the local copy at the same location as they are when connected to ThayerFS. When you connect to ThayerFS, Windows will automatically synchronize as appropriate or give you the opportunity to initiate synchronization. When you log on with a network connection that can't connect to ThayerFS, Windows will still attempt to synchronize for a while. If you lose connection to ThayerFS for some reason, you may need to ask ThayerFS to synchronize in order to re-establish full access to non-synchronized files and folders.
We are still investigating how to best accomplish this sort of bidirectional synchronization for notebook computers running OS X. With some caveats, Chronosync fits the bill pretty well. If you are interested in learning more about this possibility, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.