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How to Use Windows Briefcase to Move and Synchronize Your Desktop and Laptop Files

Windows Briefcase automatically synchronizes multiple copies of files. If you use a desktop computer at the office but work from home on a laptop, you can synchronize the files between your laptop and desktop using Windows Briefcase. Briefcase updates the files on your desktop to match the modified versions from your laptop when you reconnect the two computers.

  1. Open any folder window on your desktop computer.

    For example, open the My Documents window. Or, you can use the desktop.

  2. Right-click a blank spot in the window (or on the desktop) to display a shortcut menu.

  3. Choose New→Briefcase from the menu.

  4. Optionally, rename the Briefcase icon.

    The icon is ready to be renamed in Windows Vista; in Windows XP, press the F2 key to give the thing a new name. Otherwise, the name New Briefcase is fine.

You’re done. All you need to do is create a Briefcase folder on your desktop computer. The laptop doesn't need a Briefcase folder. You can now use the Briefcase folder to synchronize files between the desktop computer and the laptop.

Follow these steps to add files to your laptop using Windows Briefcase.

  1. Click the Briefcase icon that you have created.

    Click the Briefcase icon to open the Briefcase window.
    Click the Briefcase icon to open the Briefcase window.
  2. (Optional) If the Briefcase window is not in Details view, then in Windows Vista, choose Details from the Views button; in Windows XP, choose View→Details.

    Details view gives you the most information.

  3. Drag files into the Briefcase window just as you would copy those files in Windows.

    You can also drag the icons to the Briefcase icon, or you can copy the files and then open the Briefcase icon and paste things there.

    The Briefcase folder itself holds duplicates of the files you copy into it, listing the file's original location and its status, as shown in the above figure.

  4. Close the Briefcase window when you're done with it.

    After filling the Briefcase with files and stuff you want on your laptop, you are now ready to copy the Briefcase to your laptop.

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