First of all, notice that I am talking about really large files here – a 100GB video file for example, or 500GB of high quality pictures, or simply all of the precious info from your old HDD.
[If you have in mind something more like 50MB – maybe sending it over Skype would work for you. You can also explore services like Dropbox (4GB free storage space), GoogleDrive (10GB free storage space) or any other similar, free service.]
Recently, I discovered BitTorrent Sync – a tool that is free, has no limitations for number/size of the files, uses peer-to-peer connection and helps a lot when:
- you don’t have an external HDD available
- or you might want to send the file/files from NewYork to London, therefore the HDD won’t do the trick
- also, you are looking for a user-friendly option, so no FTP or server stuff
- crating a torrent is an option, but is not as user-friendly as you wish, or you tried it and it didn’t work for some reason
- the files are private so you don’t want to upload them anywhere
What you need in order to use the program
You don’t need a registration or account to use BitTorrent Sync – it is a program that you install on your computer. What you will need is internet connection on both sides and both computes/devices will have to be turned ON while you are syncing. Also, you need to have as much free space on the destination computer as the size of the files to be synced + at least a couple of GB for buffer.
Check out the supported operating systems
In general, the program works on almost every modern OS. Windows XP SP3 or newer, Mac OS X Snow Leopard or newer; Linux, Free BSD, Android and iOS devices are also supported.
For more detailed info check the second page in the BitTorrent Sync User Guide here.
[note that service pack 3 is required for Windows XP, also Windows XP 64bit is NOT supported]
How to use BitTorrent Sync
What I like the most about this tool is the fact that it is extremely easy to use and takes less then 5 minutes to setup on both sides.
- To start, download the program from here – BitTorrent Sync Download page and install it on both computers.
- When installing on the first computer (the one with the info that you want to transfer) choose the folder that you want to share (sync) or just stick with the default folder and put your files in it after the install. You will get a code called a secret – copy and save it somewhere. Finish the installation.
- When installing on the second computer (the destination where you want to send the files) choose the option saying “I have a secret” and paste the code you saved earlier in the field you see below. The code is pretty long so you might want to send it via email. Finish the installation.
- Then wait. On the first computer the files will get indexed, then the folders will sync and you will see the files on the second computer – this might take quite a while if your files are very big or a lot in number, so be patient. If there is a problem with you internet connection – don’t worry, the sync will continue from where it stopped once you are back online.
- To check whether the syncing is over, open the BitTorrent Sync window, find you folder in the Devices tab and note its status – if the transfer is still in progress you will see the number of MB left to be uploaded, if the transfer is over – you will see “Synced on the-date-and-hour-here”.
- After the sync is over, don’t forget to copy the file/files somewhere else on the second computer or stop the sync (see below). Then you can delete them from the source computer if you want.
Always keep in mind the following: while the connection through BitTorrent Sync is active, the program monitors the changes made on both sides. So if you delete any file/files/folders from the synced folder on either one of the computers – the same stuff will be deleted from the other computer. Here are some tips on how not to lose any data: on the source computer better put copies of the files in the folder you will share; right after the files have synced with the second computer go to the BitTorrent Sync interface, select the folder and press Remove Sync Folder – the files will remain available on both sides but changes won’t be synced anymore; on the destination computer – once the info is shared make a copy of the data outside of the shared folder, or similarly – remove the Sync Folder form BitTorrent Sync’s interface.
Ok, so that is how to start using the program
Play with it and you will find out how to add and sync new folders between computers, how to “ignore” and not sync certain file types and much more nice features. If you are having any problems check out BitTorrent Sync’s FAQs section, the unofficial FAQs section, the User Guide or the Forums.
[This was an example for non-mobile devices, if you are looking for mobile user guide – check here]
PS. This isn’t intended as an advertisement for BitTorrent Sync. I just discovered it recently and it saved my pants, so I decided to share. If you know about other similar programs or services for transferring large files, please, feel free to share them in the comments.
Guest blogger: Stanimira