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perpetual sync between two or more machines

Posted on 2016-09-29
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I have an executive who wants his two laptops to be in sync with everything... data, preferences, etc. He wants the second machine to be ready to go the minute the first one develops problems. The user is a type A who works around the clock in multiple locations, will not give up his machines for access unless urgent and doesn't want the laptops to sit open and running all night. Anyone know how to do this impossible task? One is Win 8.1; the other is Win 7. OS is not important but data and prefs are.
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Question by:Dave Denoy
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Neil Russell earned 1000 total points
ID: 41822268
Tell him to invest in an RDS infrastructure and remote in to work. No way to do what he wants "Instantly in real time".
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by:Dave Denoy
ID: 41822284
LOL! Thank you. When the impossibility was explained, he said to his assistant, "Make it happen" I think these executives have seen to many sci-fi movies.
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by:Neil Russell
ID: 41822289
At least he never said "Make it so, Number one!"
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Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 1000 total points
ID: 41822320
You will, of course, at some point need access to his systems to set everything up ... you need to somehow get him to understand at least that basic point.

To make things as seamless and identical as possible, I'd do the following, assuming the laptops are modern enough that they can run VMWare without signficant performance issues:

(a)  Set up a virtual machine running the OS he'd most like to use.   Ensure this has all of his data and prefs set correctly.   Then set the systems to automatically run that virtual machine.   That way they'll both be identical.

(b)  Synchronizing the data is a bit more complex if he won't allow the systems to be running overnight (or even during a specified "sync time").    Perhaps the simplest approach would be to set up a sync utility to keep all of the data from the "current" machine (the one he's using) synced to a USB flash drive ... and be sure he knows that he MUST transfer that flash drive to the other system whenever he wants to start using it.

But without a bit more cooperation from the user, this is indeed a VERY challenging task :-)
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Author Comment

by:Dave Denoy
ID: 41822363
yeah... good luck with that cooperation thing! I have sent emails reminding him to do certain things or asking to have time on the system and most get deleted without being read. It's a no win. The new style of management here is, "we think it, you execute it. period." Explanations and rationales are lost in a sea of not understanding tech. This guy has been using computers for this very same work for the past 15+ years and yet he recently copied a shared spreadsheet to his desktop because he didn't want to bother VPNing in and then expressed dismay that the changes he was making on his desktop version weren't reflected in the network version! Whaaaat!!??
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by:garycase
ID: 41822418
You do indeed have a challenge.    A "we think it - you execute it" attitude is not a formula for success.

Sounds like you're in an untenable situation here ... perhaps it's time to look for a better job :-)
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Author Comment

by:Dave Denoy
ID: 41822426
Got one for a 65 year old? I'd leave this second if I could.  :-(
The top boss is even worse.
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by:garycase
ID: 41822455
Yes, your age does somewhat limit the options r.e. switching jobs.    In today's market it's tough finding jobs even in your 20's with a nice new graduate degree (I have a son in that position) ... and nearly impossible to find a new job in your situation.

I gather you're not in a position to retire (else your comment "... I'd leave this second if I could ..." would have already resulted in that) ... so it sounds like you have no choice but to try and educate your executive on the realities of what is technologically possible.

I once set up a system for a local friend so she could access her computer when she was traveling.   Showed her how to do it; it worked fine; etc.    First trip she took, she returned and called and said it didn't work !!     She had tried to remote in and it wouldn't respond.    Turns on the reason was she had turned the system off :-)     Her comment was "Oh ... you mean I have to leave my computer on !!"   Sounds like your boss has a similar attitude ... except my friend was just joking.

The only way I can think of to do essentially what he wants is for him to do everything either via remote access to the corporate network (so he's always working on the same set of docs);  or to do it via a cloud server (e.g. Google Docs).
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Author Closing Comment

by:Dave Denoy
ID: 41826913
thank you for validating my sanity
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