Live Mesh tutorial: Synchronising browser favourites across devices

With yesterday’s Live Mesh update that allows users to enable peer-to-peer synchronisation and miss out the cloud sync, we thought we’d take a look at one practical example of this – browser favourites. The scenario is familiar, you’re not on your main device and you come across a website you want to visit later. While you could just email yourself the link, or add it to Del.ici.ous, this is an alternative that requires no extra effort on your part once set up.

While we performed this using Internet Explorer, the process is exactly the same for the browser of your choice. Just substitute the folder locations in steps 1 and 3 as appropriate. For Firefox it would be the Profiles folder containing the bookmarks.htm file, and this would then save you from using the Foxmarks extension.

Step 1: Navigate to the browser favourites folder on your first device, right click and choose Add To Mesh – I’ll call the synchronised folder “Favourites” for the purpose of this example.

For Internet Explorer in Windows Vista the default folder can be found at <username>Favourites, for Firefox it can be found at <username>AppDataRoamingMozillaFirefoxProfiles (more info).

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Step 2: Change the synchronisation settings so that it only maps to the web desktop. The first time I tried this the correct way around (ie not mapping to the web) but it didn’t work so well – we’ll reverse this in Step 5. Click Ok to turn this into a Mesh folder. Note that as its a special Windows folder, it won’t turn blue.

Step 3: In your second device, click the Live Mesh icon in the system tray to view the list of active folders. The Favourites folder shared in device 1 should be transparent, showing that its not currently being synchronised to this device. Click the folder name and then set the location to be the existing browser favourites folder. Here that folder is on the D:.

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Step 4: Live Mesh will then prompt you to merge the existing browser favourites folder with Favourites, your synchronised folder. Accept this prompt.

Step 5: In the web desktop, right click the Favourites folder and change the synchronisation options to remove the Web Desktop, leaving just the devices you have setup already. Accept the prompt by selecting Continue.

You’ll then notice the folder goes transparent, just like it was at the start of step 2 when we added it to the second device, implying no synchronisation. This is the “Ghosting” feature talked about in the Channel 9 video posted yesterday.

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Step 6: Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for any other devices that you’d like to share browser favourites with.

While this is just a simple example, there are whole lot of other possibilities that are now open. For example, synchronising media libraries across multiple machines (Home & Work), sharing application settings that are not stored in the registry and above all, sharing the special folders in Windows: Documents, Pictures, Downloads, Desktop etc.

Give it a try and let us know if you come up with any great scenarios so we can feature them.