[SOLVED] Switch Between Computers

Oct 7, 2021
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I'm hoping to find a fairly easy and inexpensive way ($100-ish?) to switch between my home and work computers.

I've used remote software, which works great when internet traffic is low (such as after work), but during business hours it is sluggish.

I would love to buy a laptop with great RAM and storage, but that is far out of our price range.

I was hoping to find something like an external hard drive to carry back and forth, plug in, and start working, but am not finding any info on that in my searches, except that at least some of them don't like to be plugged/unplugged too many times.

I could set both computers up to have exactly the same Windows operating system and software.

What I don't want to do is have to remember to save specific files from something like a thumb drive or download from a cloud system every time I switch computers. My work is fast-paced with lots of interruptions as soon as I walk in the door and would likely lose track of this and lose updated files.

This takes me back to something like an external hard drive or other hardware which would hold all files and I could plug into either computer, as needed. Or just plug into monitor and keyboard if it essentially a complete computer by itself.

Is there something out there like this?

Thanks in advance.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Start here:

https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-external-hard-drives

Hardware is not the problem/solution per se.

The real problem is setting up the necessary "work flows".

I.e., at work the data files you need to transport home are copied to the external drive as automatically as possible when you leave work for the day.

And, when working at home the data files you need to take back to work are likewise automatically copied to the external drive to be carried back to work.

Plus you must safeguard against copying older files over newer versions of the same files. The process should include some basic backups along the way - just in case....

You can use backup software, DOS, or Powershell to copy files. [Note: copy vs move. The latter is much more risky....]

Another way of managing all that could be Task Scheduler.

References:

https://www.ubackup.com/synchronization/scheduled-task-copy-files-to-another-folder-1021.html

https://www.makeuseof.com/automatically-move-files-from-one-folder-to-another-windows-mac/

You can easily find (google) for similar links....

Sketch out the required data/file flows. The external disk drive could have a common folder for the files. Or you could create specific folders for "Home" or "Work".

Or even lettered partitions on the external hard drive.

Simple is better.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
 
Reactions: LZee

punkncat

Dignified
Ambassador
IDK if this is something you would want to do or not, but it's "kinda" free-ish.

Migrate ALL of your personal traffic to one specific browser. (I use Edge for this). Have device history or whatever it's being called at this point turned on where it will remember your history, sites, etc. such that when you log in as that user you are seeing everything the same.
Use a different browser for work. (I use Google for this) Have that sync all of your work activity.

DO NOT utilize one to do the other.

Use services like Dropbox/Drive/OneDrive etc. for your storage needs such that it is available wherever you are, any machine.

The above has worked well for me for several years going now. The single biggest and hardest aspect is to teach yourself not to mess up and accidentally log in (particularly) your personal info into the work browser.
 
Oct 7, 2021
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Thanks so much, punkncat.

Your browser idea is great for a part of the problem. I wasn't even thinking of the browser bookmarks, etc., issue, but that is important as well, and your idea is great!

The big problem is dealing with the files. It works better for us to have instant access and to edit them on a computer (for instance, when the internet goes out or is just slow I can still work if files are on the computer), and remembering to save them or transfer them would be dangerous, especially with the interruptions I get (never mind my memory! ;).

I realize there may not be an affordable solution, but just want to make sure I checked before I dropped this idea.

Thanks!
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Start here:

https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-external-hard-drives

Hardware is not the problem/solution per se.

The real problem is setting up the necessary "work flows".

I.e., at work the data files you need to transport home are copied to the external drive as automatically as possible when you leave work for the day.

And, when working at home the data files you need to take back to work are likewise automatically copied to the external drive to be carried back to work.

Plus you must safeguard against copying older files over newer versions of the same files. The process should include some basic backups along the way - just in case....

You can use backup software, DOS, or Powershell to copy files. [Note: copy vs move. The latter is much more risky....]

Another way of managing all that could be Task Scheduler.

References:

https://www.ubackup.com/synchronization/scheduled-task-copy-files-to-another-folder-1021.html

https://www.makeuseof.com/automatically-move-files-from-one-folder-to-another-windows-mac/

You can easily find (google) for similar links....

Sketch out the required data/file flows. The external disk drive could have a common folder for the files. Or you could create specific folders for "Home" or "Work".

Or even lettered partitions on the external hard drive.

Simple is better.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
 
Reactions: LZee

punkncat

Dignified
Ambassador
Thanks so much, punkncat.

Your browser idea is great for a part of the problem. I wasn't even thinking of the browser bookmarks, etc., issue, but that is important as well, and your idea is great!

The big problem is dealing with the files. It works better for us to have instant access and to edit them on a computer (for instance, when the internet goes out or is just slow I can still work if files are on the computer), and remembering to save them or transfer them would be dangerous, especially with the interruptions I get (never mind my memory! ;).

I realize there may not be an affordable solution, but just want to make sure I checked before I dropped this idea.

Thanks!
Dropbox has a feature now where you can choose to have files be in the cloud only as well as having local and cloud backup. I think they call it selective sync. It's designed and put forth as a space saver I suppose for folks utilizing mobile devices or laptops and such. It is super handy if the internet goes down, you can still save and it will update the current version back to the cloud. The issue with it would be collaborating with others at that same time as it requires one user to finish/save (update) then they can work from the new version.

Ralston is making a good point there. At one time I utilized Robocopy on a scheduled task to keep an external drive updated and in sync with a couple of folders on my PC and a file server. It worked pretty well.
 
Oct 7, 2021
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btw, I read that picking a best answer would close the thread, but it's still letting me add to the thread. I don't know how to close the thread, so if I'm supposed to do that, feel free to let me know how.

Thanks again!
 

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