(Skip to the end of this post for the solution.)
UPDATE: I couldn’t get it to work. Live Mesh 2011 is either full of bugs or just a piece of crap, a poorly designed upgrade. Or all of the above. It looked like it was syncing properly. But then I shut off my computers, came back a few hours later, and read messages next to the folders that they weren’t synced to anything. I poked around a bit, but I couldn’t tell what was going on because all the processes are hidden now. So that’s it. I give up. I’ve been reading on some forums that I’m not the only one having some serious issues with the damn thing. People are losing data — fun stuff like that. I can’t risk having Live Mesh delete any of my data. So the hell with it. I’m done. I’ll have to find some other syncing service, if there are any half decent free ones out there. Microsoft actually had something good on their hands, something that worked fine just the way it was. And they blew it big time. What the hell is going on at Microsoft? Anyway, here’s my original post:
I used to remotely sync a large numbers of files between my desktop computer and my wireless laptop using. It was easy. I had to get a Hotmail account, which I never used except for signing into Live Sync. Then I simply installed Live Sync on my desktop computer and laptop, picked a folder on my desktop computer and then remotely on my laptop and clicked “Sync Folders.” Nothing to it. I could even right-click the Live Sync icon in my systems tray and see what files were being transferred and synced (that feature has been removed for Live Mesh 2011, or so well hidden I can’t find it). Live Sync was a functional, easy-to-use online service. Very useful.
Then Microsoft screwed it up royally by replacing Live Sync with Windows Live Mesh 2011 — and I don’t know what they were thinking. Maybe they were trying to go Mac on us and dumbify the process by minimizing user control. But they minimized it so much that users have virtually no control over what used to be the simplest and most useful tasks.
For instance, a typical user switching over to Live Mesh 2011 would want to re-sync all the folders that were synced before. Enter the first frustrating feature of Live Mesh 2011: the inability to choose the target folder in a straightforward manner. A user can pick a folder on their desktop computer, then select to sync it on their laptop — but they can’t specific the folder on the laptop. Instead, Live Mesh 2011 creates a sync folder inside the “Documents” folder on the laptop’s C drive. If the folder a user wants to sync to on their laptop is not on the C drive, then tough luck.
I use the C drive on my laptop for program files. The D drive is used for storage of MP3s, photos and documents — and those are the ones I used have synced. So to sync them with Live Mesh 2011, I’d have to move them all to the C drive “Documents” folder, which I normally never use. My C drive is also considerably smaller than my D drive and, at least on my laptop, there isn’t enough room on my C drive to store all my files.
I managed to find a workaround solution to this default feature in Live Mesh 2011, but it wasn’t easy. It should be easy. It’s should be plain and obvious and intuitively designed into the software — but it isn’t.
To specify a target folder in Windows Live Mesh 2011, select on your desktop computer, for example, the folder you want to sync. But sync it to nothing. Don’t select your laptop. Leave it blank and click “Okay.” Then open Live Mesh 2011 on your laptop where you will now see the folder you just selected from your desktop computer with a message indicating it’s not synced to anything. Click “Sync this folder.” And now magically you should have the ability to choose your target folder, one that isn’t on the C drive. Everything should sync normally after that. (But don’t quote me on that, because I’m still trying it out at this moment. Live Mesh is “processing.”)
How To Geek has posted a Live Mesh 2010 walk-through (or guide) that’s useful for basic set-ups.
I’m still in the trial phase of Live Mesh 2011. I’ll update this post if I encounter any other major problems. I hate Microsoft. Who the hell’s in charge over there?