It looks more and more like the rumors that some clueless bean counter in Microsoft have decided to drop Live Mesh in favor of their new SkyDrive apps and “integrated solutions” are entirely true. Microsoft even have a page here about how to use SkyDrive instead of Live Mesh. This page is just rubbish, almost insulting. For instance, it claims that as a replacement for the automatic sync you should drag and drop files to the SkyDrive folder on your PC. That’s not a replacement for the P2P sync in Live Mesh. Whoever wrote this was either ordered to write that nonsense, is deliberately trying to mislead or is an idiot.
So I decided that maybe it was time to look at alternatives. Before Live mesh came around I used GoodSync. At the time I used it, it didn’t have P2P sync but I did notice that such functionality was now available so I decided it was worth a try.
What I found was that GoodSync actually works quite well for a lot of things. Not only does it work as a replacement for Live Mesh but, since I was using it anyway, I could use it instead of Microsoft’s SyncToy that I used to sync files between my desktop PC and NAS drive.
GoodSync is not as easy to set up as Live Mesh where you more less just select which folder you want to sync and your done. With good sync you have to set up a sync job for each folder and you have to set up how you want to sync etc. It’s not difficult but might intimidate less computer savvy users.
On the other hand you have much more control over the process. You can set it up to sync as soon as changes are made or according to a specific schedule or every time you boot your computer etc. Live Mesh only have sync on changes which sometimes was a pain because it locked the file it was syncing so if you quit an app and remembered that you had to do one more thing you might not be able to launch the app again right away since the file(s) were already grabbed by Live Mesh.
You can also control how you want to deal with conflicts. In Live Mesh it just generates a duplicate file with a silly name of the conflicting file and you have to discover yourself that the sync didn’t work. This has been quite annoying on more than one occasion. With GoodSync you can tell it to do a number of things from asking you what to do to always letting the file with the latest modification date win.
In general I have to say that GoodSync works at least as well and is more powerful than Live Mesh. The main drawback is that you need a license for each PC (which is not really too bad since it doesn’t cost very much and you get a stiff discount already from the 2nd license) you want to sync and you need to set up the sync of each PC individually, folder by folder.
The conclusion for me is that, unless Microsoft cleans up their act on this which I really do not think they will do, I’m replacing Live Mesh with GoodSync.