By Delia / Last update October 11, 2021

Sync folders over network without USB or cloud drive

For teamwork or disaster recovery purposes, many people would like to sync files and folders between 2 or more computers keeping the data consistent and up-to-date. But how to make it happen?

The usualy method is to manually copy folders to an USB drive, and then paste them to the destination computer. Once the source folder is modified, however, you have no choice but to copy the changed files again and again.

To make things easier, you may want to directly sync folders over network. Thus you don’t need a removable device, any changes in the source folder can be auto synced to the destination.

Luckily, the idea is achievable for computers within the same LAN. Now I’ll introduce 2 easy ways to sync folders between Windows computers over network.

Sync Folders Over Internet

1. Create a shared folder to sync files over network (built-in)

On Windows PCs, sync folders over network requires you to create a share folder and authorize other computers within the LAN to read and write it. If you want to manage the folder sync flexibly and safely, like auto synchronizing files between various sources and targets, you could also create sync tasks with a file synchronization tool.

First, let's see how to create a shared folder:

Step 1. Right-click the folder you want to share, choose Properties.

Step 2. Switch to Sharing tab and click on Share… to give network access to the user groups you want. To allow everyone on the network to access this folder, just choose Everyone and click Add > Share.

network access

Step 3. Then click Advanced Sharing... under Advanced Sharing section to tick Share this folder. This will enable the network sharing.

Advanced Sharing

Step 4. Then you can edit Permissions for the specific user groups, like Full Control, Change or Read.

Share Permission

Step 5. On another computer with permission, press Win + R key to open the Run box and then type \\ + computername or IP address of the source computer, \\192.168.0.55, for example. Press Enter to get access to it.

You should also be able to find it in File Explorer > Network. If you see an error message like “Network discovery is turned off….” please click on the "Network discovery is turned off" banner, then select Turn on network discovery and file sharing.

Network Discovery

How to sync folders over network even when the source computer is turned off

To sync folders between 2 computers even when the source one is turned off, you need to do some operations on the source computer and target computer separately. Please try steps below:

☛ On the source computer:
Input “mobsync” in the search box, and hit Enter key.
Click Manage offline files > Enable offline files > OK.
Restart your computer to take the settings effect.

☛ On the target Computer:
Find the shared folder, right-click it and choose Always available offline.

2. Auto sync folders between computers over network/internet

This way is actually based on Method 1, but with more functionality and flexibility.

When you create a shared folder, you need to store all the files & folders you want to share in it. This involves a lot of manual copy & paste, which could lead to misoperation or data loss. Also, it's not very safe to directly modify files in the share for the purpose of synchronization.

Therefore, I prefer to use file sync software like AOMEI Backupper Standard. It can automatically sync folders from anywhere to a network share with the permission, or vice versa. If there are multiple folders to share with different computers, it also supports creating multiple sync tasks with different settings and schedules.

★ AOMEI Backupper Standard is a freeware supporting Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista. The intuitive interface and simple operation enables you to complete a sync task within 3 steps.
★ You could set up a schedule to run the synchronization automatically, like Daily/Weekly/Monthly/etc.
★ Various storage devices are supported. In addition to sync over network, you can also sync folders to one drive, google drive, dropbox, external hard drive, USB flash drive, NAS, etc.
★ Multiple sync modes. If you upgrade to Professional edition, you will also enjoy Real-Time Sync, Mirror Sync and Two-Way Sync.

Download and install the free Standard version to have try:

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Suppose you created a shared folder on computer A following Method 1, then you can use AOMEI Backupper on any computer in the LAN to manage the following tasks effeciently:

  • Sync files & folders to computer A

  • Sync files & folders from computer A

Here take the first case as the example.

Step 1. Launch the software on any of the computers within the same LAN, go to Sync tab and choose Basic Sync.

Other sync modes in advanced editions:
Real-Time Sync: sync changed files from the source directory to the destination directory in real time.
Mirror Sync: always keep the files in the destination directory exactly the same as the source directory.
Two-Way Sync: any changes in the source of destination directory will be synced to the other side mutually.

Basic Sync

Step 2. Click Add Folder to specify the folder you want to sync. You can add multiple folders as you like by clicking the + button. 

Add Folder

Then click the destination box and click Share/NAS > Add Network Location to enter the required information of the shared folder you just created.  

Add Network Location

Step 3. Click Schedule to create an automatic sync task, and Start Sync. Thus when you modify these files, you don’t need to perform synchronization again. It will auto sync the changes to the target folder at the next scheduled sync.

Schedule options include Daily/Weekly/Monthly. In Pro edition, you can also use Event triggers or USB plug in.

Schedule Sync Wake Computer

That’s it, now you can access the shared folder on computer A to access the synchronized data.

How to sync folders for computers that are not on the same LAN (over internet)

If you want to sync folders for two computers that are not on the same LAN, then you may still need a transit storage like cloud drive, the operation with AOMEI Backupper is equally simple. 

After specifying the source folders in Step 2, just click the small arrow beside the destination select box, choose Select a cloud drive, then select the cloud service you want in the popping out window. 

Select A Cloud Drive

Thus you can sync folders to Google drive, OneDrive, etc. and install destop APP of corresponding cloud service on target computers to download the files and folders. 

Conclusion

To sync folders between 2 computers over network, one of the best ways is creating a shared folder which can be accessed by multiple computers within the LAN. Alternatively, you could use a file sync tool like AOMEI Backupper to manage data synchronization better. If you want to back up these files to an image file instead of an exact copy, there are also complete backup and restore features at your service.

Moreover, this software has different editions for different users. If you want to sync folders between Windows servers, there's also a specialized Server edition to suit your needs.