Question A way to have 2 PCs which will mirror each other?! Not only data...

MinimalTech

Honorable
Feb 19, 2014
15
0
10,510
0
Hi.

A client of mine asked me about a weird but really useful functionality!

He has two PCs (identical models - from the same vendor) with Windows 7 installed and he has his data there plus some applications for his business installed.

He wants somehow to have a mirror functionality that will be working with this logic: every time he makes a change on one PC (installing an app, adding any new data or remove any existing data, sending e-mails through Outlook, make a change in Windows, etc. ...) he wants the change to be reflected in the other PC.

With this functionality, he will be able to have the one PC in his Main office in one Town A and the other PC to be in the other office (subsidiary), in another town - Town B, 350km (about 217 miles) away.

He wants every time he turns ON one of the PCs to be synchronizing with the other (through Internet).

Is this scenario possible?
 
Not easy, at least under Windows.
  • You install Office on PC1, and license is for one user, PC2 will have unactivated Office. You reactivate it couple of times here and there, until you're booted off completely.
  • Someone is using an app on PC2. You decide to uninstall the app on PC1, while it's still being used on PC2.
  • You set your wallpaper to "Wonderful cars", while on the other PC someone sets it to "Cute cats". Who will prevail?
  • Etc Etc etc
Data mirroring is much easier (keep everything on OneDrive/GDrive/DropBox), although concurrent access is still a problem.
 
If the apps are local, why can't the user merely store the data in the one of what seems like hundreds of online storage applications/services such as OneDrive, DropBox, Box, P-Cloud, AWS, etc?

If someone wants a magic desktop and files from multiple locations, then it might be time to investigate assorted Azure offerings...
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
The problem here is what level of "duplication" do you want.

If you were to delve into ProcMon, you'd find that changes are being written to the Registry constantly. As in hundreds of times per minute.
You cannot duplicate that from 2350 km away. Not even in the same room across the LAN.

Applications? No.
Each application writes info to the Registry and elsewhere. It cannot write those same changes to a whole other PC.

You can mirror the user files. The above solutions, DropBox, OneDrive, online email client (gmail), etc...
But you absolutely cannot 100% duplicate the whole system and its applications.

The user files are the only thing that really matters. This doc file, that excel thing.
 

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
it sounds like the client wants to be able to use a pc when at home and then when away from home at location B. and he'd like both pc's to be essentially the same so he can pick up where he left off after swapping locations. he'll be the only one using the pc and no other person needs access to the system while he is at another location.

am i reading it right? if so, then i have a solution for you that is actually rather easy to do.

programs like VMware will allow the client to set-up a full windows installation, install all the programs and store data within the VM. if he uses an external drive to store this VM and it's associated data, then simply unplugging the hdd and taking it with him will allow him to then run the VM from the second location's pc and pick up EXACTLY where he left off.

if you really want to get fancy, you can even skip the VM and install windows to run from the external drive and have whichever pc boot to the external drive when he needs to work. security is nice to since he'll have all the data on the drive and not floating around the cloud somewhere. of course keeping important data back-ed up to a second drive or other option is important as it is in a traditional windows installation. so be sure he has a back-up option that is not the same external drive he's carrying around.

better than a simple "mirroring" of the system since IT IS the same system.
 
Reactions: USAFRet

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
i was trying to figure out if it was possible any other way and the only thing i can think of would be a virtual desktop. main pc could be sitting at home and he could VPN into it from location b. this would also allow the client to keep things the same since it really is only a single pc running.

of course a cloud service that would give a virtual desktop would also work as it could be connected to from anywhere.

but i don't think a true "mirroring" of both pc's would be very easy to do. i can't even imagine where i'd start trying to pull it off.
 

QwerkyPengwen

Dignified
Herald
I will add my two cents to this as well.

What I'm about to say ONLY works if the user is indeed looking to be the only one using the two PC's and doesn't use both at the same time.

What you do is you set up Windows server for your desktop space similar to how certain businesses will do, and you run that server off of any old PC that can handle running the software needed and keep that thing on nearly 24/7 and hooked up to ethernet.

now also this server needs to be connected to an internet connection that has decent enough upload speeds.

then what you do is you remotely log in to the account and desktop space on the server with either PC, that way any changes made are made on the server machine and are kept on both computers that are being used because the data is all on the server and you are just remotely accessing with the other two PC's.

This would be the most effective and seamless way to do what your friend wants but again assuming that they are the ONLY one using either PC and neither PC is being used at the same time.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Hi.

A client of mine asked me about a weird but really useful functionality!

He has two PCs (identical models - from the same vendor) with Windows 7 installed and he has his data there plus some applications for his business installed.

He wants somehow to have a mirror functionality that will be working with this logic: every time he makes a change on one PC (installing an app, adding any new data or remove any existing data, sending e-mails through Outlook, make a change in Windows, etc. ...) he wants the change to be reflected in the other PC.

With this functionality, he will be able to have the one PC in his Main office in one Town A and the other PC to be in the other office (subsidiary), in another town - Town B, 350km (about 217 miles) away.

He wants every time he turns ON one of the PCs to be synchronizing with the other (through Internet).

Is this scenario possible?
Need some more detailed info. Is this for a single user? Then laptop with docking station in each office is best. Second best would be just a remote connection go the other system so you are using the same computer at both places without actually moving it.

If it's for more than one person, there is really no easy / cheap way of configuring this, you would need some central virtual machine setup as in the other posts. For this you need some IT experience to set it up.

Setting up a server with several OS licenses for virtual systems may be more cost and trouble than is worth. You can centralize any data using cloud storage, and email is also easily synced if using a single account. Just setup both Outlook programs on the same account and leave the option to leave emails on the server when downloading turned on.
 

punkncat

Commendable
Apr 3, 2018
1,230
54
1,540
74
I know it can be done local (same network) but not sure that there is any instance to make it immediate. Basically you set the main machine to get an image every day at X'o clock, and then set the other machines to "ghost" that image afterward. A buddy of mine does this with (3) servers that remain identical as redundant backup.

In order to make this happen remotely, and securely, would be a bit harder. You would likely have to use some manner of paid port/ip forwarding program since static IP is so rare so the machines could find one another. Beyond that, making sure everything stayed powered up and the other aspects of having them (automatically) talk in a secure way remotely? IDK

I actually echo what is mentioned above about using a cloud based storage and 'usability' programs. Dropbox/QuickBooks/(the new) Office suite/Adobe all sync to a central location such that with the same log-in the same info is available anywhere you are.
My office operates exactly that way. All the usable machines are on the same version of Office and everything else we use is online based such that the same info is available to all from anywhere. It becomes specifically easier if no two people are doing the same job, such that you don't accidentally overwrite each others work.
 

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