Foldershare, R.I.P.

by Volker Weber

Foldershare icon

In December, we plan to announce a product called Windows Live Sync. You can think of it as FolderShare 2.0. It's going to look familiar and offer the same great features, plus: [...]

A huge part of Sync's success story depends on FolderShare users like you. When Sync releases, FolderShare goes into retirement. That means your FolderShare software will stop working and will ask you to upgrade to Sync. Once you do, Sync will automatically rebuild your personal folders. We expect a lot of new users when Sync is released, so if you can't sign in right away, please give it a little time.

I was good while it lasted. Foldershare, built by ByteTaxi was the best way to sync files between Macs and PCs, without requiring any cloud storage. It would sync files and folders peer-to-peer. After Microsoft acquired ByteTaxi, they never got around to update the Mac client, and even after years it was working just great.

It was good while it lasted.

In true Microsoft style, the announcement goes on:

Here's the part you need to pay attention to: Sync will not be able to rebuild your shared libraries. If you have a lot of shared libraries, you should hop over to the FolderShare website while it's still available and copy all that information. You'll need it to rebuild your shared libraries in Sync.

Not be able? Puleeze. You did not really care. Why would you not be able to rebuild them? Because this feature will no longer exist? Or because you where to lazy to build the converter? It does not matter to me since I never stored any files there.

Thanks for being a FolderShare user! We're excited about delivering an even better file-synchronization experience to customers like you. We hope you'll come along as we move forward with Windows Live Sync.

I am sure you are excited. Should I be?


I remember when you first mentioned foldershare here and I started using it then. It used to be fantastic.

After M$ bought the joint it went downhill. They stopped putting out new releases and reduced the availability tremendously to a point where it doesn't work anymore for a lot of my use cases.

For those I found It works fantastic and is like Apple's iDisk service minus the suck. I would be willing to pay for it, but currently I can live with the restrictions (2GB) of the free version.

As a plus it also runs on Linux.

For the other user cases, like sharing movie files in my home, I now have a raidsonic icebox, which is nice enough.

Mariano Kamp, 2008-11-20

I do not know Foldershare, but from your description maybe iFolder is a solution. It is availaible for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can share documents peer to peer and you can implement your own Server. And the best of all it is open source. Only one caveat the client is a little bit heavy because it is based on Mono (the free .net implementation)

Ralf M Petter, 2008-11-20

sorry forgot the URL

Ralf M Petter, 2008-11-20

Ralf, that is the old Netware iFolder, now open sourced. As I understand it is not peer-to-peer but requires me to set up a server.

Mariano, I use drop box myself. However, it requires storage in the cloud, which I don't want.

Volker Weber, 2008-11-20

From the iFolder FAQ:

The iFolder client runs in two operating modes, enterprise sharing (with a server) and workgroup sharing (peer-to-peer, or without a server).

I can't seem to figure out how to share in workgroup mode, why not?
The sharing capabilities of workgroup mode have not been completed and enabled in the current stable versions. We plan on releasing this capability soon.

Ole Saalmann, 2008-11-20

I used to run, and love iFolder dearly for years (the client/server version, both commercial and open source). Unfortunately the workgroup mode has never worked, and the open source version has been more of a theoretical option than a practical alternative (releases that don't actually build etc.). It seems to have been abandoned for a long a time now. You may want to look into JungleDisk if you don't mind encrypted online storage.

I don't share your criticism anyway - when one company buys another, integrates the technology into a new product and the migration from old to new requires some manual work on the side of the customer that was using the (free) service, AND you receive advance notice - why is that an issue? Especially if you aren't even affected?

Jan Tietze, 2008-11-20

@Volker I know that iFolder is an Opensourceproduct from Novell (We use the 2.x on our netware server), but the 3.x release is a complete rewrite of the old one and should allow replication peer to peer. This is what the faq says:

What is the difference between the two methods for sharing?

When using the iFolder 3.0 server, the iFolder client first synchronizes the files in your iFolders to the intermediate server, then replicates them to other computers. With the iFolder server, you can also access your files from an Internet Browser, as well as back up your files from the server to suitable back-up media.

Using iFolder to share without the server allows you to synchronize and share files between two or more computers without the requirement for an intermediate server to exchange files. This is accomplished through add-on modules being developed in the open-source community. There are two methods under development to allow users to share using Gaim, the open-source instant messaging client, and using Bonjour (Rendevous).

Ok looks like the peer to peer version is only Beta but should be released soon.

Ralf M Petter, 2008-11-20

I had been a happy FolderShare users for years, using it primarily as a multi-site backup tool. I switched to it from Groove, which was extremely sloooow! But I guess the writing was on the wall when MS forced a FolderShare upgrade that yanked support for Windows Server 2000. Given that they are now withdrawing support for FolderShare, one wonders why they bothered.

Nick Shelness, 2008-11-20

Anyone had any experience with GoodSynch?

Nick Shelness, 2008-11-20

Anyone had any experience with Wuala?

Uwe Brahm, 2008-11-20

@Nick - Groove was only slow because you didn't use PopG - but that's ancient history now. And given what Microsoft have done with Groove since, one wonders why they bothered with that too...

Nick Daisley, 2008-11-21

Yes, I too was a happy user of Foldershare. Then Microsoft forced me to "upgrade" to something called Sync or Live Sync or Windows Live Sync, or somesuch. But of course, it refuses to install, aborting every time with an obscure message. So then I try the "help" page, only to discover that no such page actually exists. And can I find anything about it online, on Microsoft's page or not? Of course not.

So why did MS buy Foldershare? Was it just to kill it?

Gus Richardson, 2008-12-20

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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