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Up until Windows 8, Windows had a feature called "Briefcases" which would help you sync folders on your computer(s) with removable drives (and vice versa). This feature was removed in Windows 8. I know that you can get briefcases to work with Windows 8, but it is buggy and may be removed at any time, so I am looking for a 3rd party alternative.

Essentially, a briefcase would remember the paths and locations of any files/folders that you copied from the host computer into the briefcase. Then, when asked, would compare the files it has with the original files residing on the host machine. If there were any changes it would sync them onto itself, or provide you with several sync options in case of a conflict.

I need an equivalent that:

  • Will do something similar to what I just described above.

  • Is free.

  • Works on Windows 8

  • Supports exFAT formatted USB drives.

  • (Optionally) supports Linux.

I would prefer not to have any fussy services/daemons/servers/etc running, but am willing to compromise on that point if needed.

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It used to be free (and I still run one of the last betas, I really ought to upgrade) but bvckup should replicate this functionality. You can set it to automatically backup and use 'device tracking' to identify a specific device - it'll pause till the device is detected.

It's tiny, does delta copies, recovers from errors, and does quite a few other shiny things. Considering I use it to back up and keep in sync slightly over a hundred gigabytes of small files, It works.

One issue is that it only does one way sync per job, If you want two way sync, you may need to set up two tasks to do sync

  • They still provide the last beta so I am going to try that. This looks really well made and polished, I hope it works out. – Seth Aug 2 '14 at 19:56
  • I am accepting this answer for now because this is what I ended up using. I haven't tried it in WINE on Linux yet however. – Seth Sep 14 '14 at 16:06
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I use FreeFileSync. It matches most of what you've described:

  • Free
  • Supports Windows 8 and Linux operating systems
  • The Windows version supports exFAT
  • Has two-way sync
  • Keeps backups of previous versions of files
  • Has a portable version which can be installed and run on a thumb drive or memory card

You can find more detailed features here

  • Several anti-virus engines consider this a type of adware/spyware. Can you comment on this? What has your experience with this program been? – Seth Aug 1 '14 at 22:53
  • I have been using it without problems for a while. You might want to decline one "Search Protect" ad during installation (my guess is that's where the "PUA.JoyDownloader" alert came from). I don't think these threats are worrisome, but it might be better to ask the experts at the Information Security domain – Tymric Aug 1 '14 at 23:11
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    Looking into it more it appears it is just PUP fro the advertising engine OpenCandy, so I'm not terribly worried about it anymore. – Seth Aug 2 '14 at 5:26

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