FolderShare: Sharing And Remote Access In Sync
FolderShare has been in one incarnation or another since the end of 2005, offering a platform for file synchronization, sharing, and remote access. At the end of last year FolderShare came to be known for a different kind of feature – losing files – but with the bug fixed and an overhaul in March, FolderShare is back.
As with many of the file synchronization programs, FolderShare requires a download, and as with many of the sharing applications, a web interface is needed, so it’s not surprising how the install works. Following a download and login into FolderShare, we find a straightforward interface. Microsoft has never been known for their sense of design, but they have left an uncluttered space that lays out exactly what we can do; create a personal library, create a shared library, and use remote access.
There’s a personal library for automatic synchronization, a shared library for files we want to share, and remote access so that we can access our files when we need them. All of the folders are walk us through simple prompts, which is a good thing, since Windows Live help was written for brevity. Files can be shared across PC and Mac, and there is control through a pull down menu for users to decide what level of control to offer.
For sharing, FolderShare guides us with a series of steps on the website. First we select where on our computer we would like the files to be shared, and then create a folder. The folder stays on our system, making it easy to drop files we would like to share now or later. One of the better sharing features is within the folder; users have the option of setting specific permissions. Choose to assign the role of Reader, Contributer, Editor, or Senior Editor, depending on what level of access the user prefers. All parties sharing files or folders are required to have FolderShare installed, but there is no limit on the number of participants that can be shared with. Just input the emails in share dialog box, and away we go.
Synchronization also begins online, and after choosing the folders we would like to sync, we create a “Personal Library.” The Personal Library can be whatever folders we like on our computer, and as many as we need, each library with the option of automatic synchronization or on-demand synchronization. Automatic sync’s every time we connect, and on-demand lets us choose when we synchronize. The benefit of this control and library structure is that we keep our original structure – FolderShare preserves our folders and subfolders so we can easily find what we are looking for.
FolderShare gives us another way to find what we are looking for – no matter where we are. Through the website the Remote Access link brings us to a management screen, allowing us to access any file on computers that we have approved. Source computers are required to be on when accessing, and have FolderShare installed. Likewise, shared folders are also accessible, depending on the host’s permissions.
Our test of FolderShare proved FolderShare to be a pragmatic solution; there was little argument that the synchronization worked well among the platforms, though with a glitch or two came up with Adobe files. There was also some instablity as we neared the 2gb limit (or 10,000 files), but FolderShare’s popularity and ease of use offset that. With the exception of remote access, files between sync’ed computers were secure. FolderShare does recommend caution and safeguarding the files when using remote access, as files accessed are not encrypted. Find FolderShare and other synchronization options with the Listio search files+sync.
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