Despite having a laptop I still find I'm often carrying documents between various computers on a USB pen so I and needed a convenient way to sync the changes made on the USB pen back onto my hard drive. To solve this problem I found SyncToy from Microsoft. This offers a really convenient way to keep my files in sync thanks to a simple and intuitive interface.
You can see just how clean the interface is from the screenshots. All you need to do is click the "Create New Folder Pair" button. This produces another simple dialog that allows you to select the two folders you wish to keep in sync.
Click then next button and you will be presented the the second of the three dialogs that setup the folder pairing. Here you have three radio buttons, "Synchronise", "Echo" and "Contribute". What I really found useful was the label to the right of the radio buttons that gave a clear and helpful description of what each of the radio buttons means. For example the explanation for the synchronize option reads "New and updated files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other side." As I will be working with code and will have new files, updates to existing files and possibly some deletes that I want kept in sync between my main computer and my pen drive this is the option I choose. However if you only want a one way synchronization choose "Echo". Or if you don't want deletes synchronized between the two folders select the "Contribute" option.
The last screen gives the option to enter a name for the pairing this is just a useful tag that will allow you to identify the pairing in the list of pairings you've created. Click finish and you will be presented with a summary screen that gives you all the details of what you have just created. On this screen you should notice two actions that you can click on. The first "Change action." allows you to change what you are doing e.g. change from synchronize to echo. The second action link "Change Options." gives you the ability to take finer control of the synchronization. Here you can specify specific file types to include in the synchronization or files types that should not be copied as part of the synchronization. Along with controlling the file types you have the option of excluding certain file types from the synchronization by clicking the "select subfolder" action link. The best thing about this screen is the level of help provided if required. Simply mouse over any of the controls and you'll get a clear and concise help message describing what the control is for and in the case of the free text entry fields used to control the file types the help gives examples of how to format what you enter into these fields.
The last two buttons I'll take about are the "Run" and "Preview" these are clear cases of doing what it says on the tin. Run will run the synchronization and depending on the actions you have selected it will delete, copy, update and add the files and folder in one location to the other. However the preview is really nice as it gives you the ability to see what will happen as a result of clicking the "Run" button. You can see from the screenshot the results of running a preview on one of my pairings.
This is a tool that I recommend anyone who works with USB pen drives go and checkout, it's easy to use, works well and so far has done all I want of it.
You can download SynToy free from Microsoft, at the time of writing 2.0 is the latest version.