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I have seen a lot of similar questions, but I'm looking for a specific solution and I don't know if any of the common programs offer that solution or which of them would be best suited.

I have a PC, a laptop and an external hard disk. In the future, I will have to switch back and forth between working on my PC and working on my laptop. I want to make sure that whenever I have to switch devices, I have the exact same files on both computers, and I want to do it entirely without internet access using my external hard disk as the "middle man" so to speak.

The biggest hurdle for me is the kind of files I have to work with. All of my projects have node_modules folders, which are freaking humongous... around 200 MB. Doesn't sound too bad, but multiply that by a few dozen, and it becomes a problem. Thankfully, those folders are entirely auto-generated with npm, thus I don't have to carry them back and forth. Of course, with my dream file syncing software, I would be able to mark those folders as "NEVER SYNC" and not have to worry about the software scanning a million files it doesn't need to copy.

Do any of the file syncing programs offer that functionality? Besides that, I just want to make sure that all folders stay the same across devices: the newest changes to a file are carried over to all devices, new files are copied to all devices, and deleted files are deleted across all devices.

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  • Haven't tried that myself, so I cannot tell for sure: but git-annex could be a possible solution. AFAIR, each "peer" can decide which files/directories to hold locally; so in the worst case, that "NodeJS galaxy" gets indexed but its contents won't get synced. I don't remember if there was auto-commit or if you'd have to trigger syncs manually, though…
    – Izzy
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 18:59

3 Answers 3

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FreeFileSync offers what you are looking for, you csn create the rules of how you want the files to be copied and it can detect automatically if a file needs to be copied or not

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rsync can copy files between disks without Internet, and it has a variety of exclusion options. For example, the option --exclude node_modules will exclude all your node_modules directories.

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SyncBackPro, SyncBackSE, and SyncBackFree by 2BrightSparks all meet your requirements:

  • No Internet required - YES!
  • No file transfer limit - YES!
  • Mark certain folders (and files!) as "Never Sync" - YES!
  • Newest changes to a file are carried over to all devices - YES!
  • New files are copied to all devices - YES!
  • Deleted files are deleted across all devices - YES!
  • Work with Windows - YES!

SyncBack is stable and is actively developed to add features and fix bugs.

I have personally found it to be very reliable. It can verify all data after transfers are performed, which is a great feature.

As a bonus, the developers offer a free portable version, offered here.

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