CodeTwo Outlook Sync – preparing PCs for the initial sync

Just a few days ago we have released an update to CodeTwo Outlook Sync, one of our Outlook synchronization add-ons, which enables synchronizing Outlook folders between two machines on the local network. Although the program is extremely easy-to-use and the initial config usually takes no longer than five minutes, we thought it would be a good idea to drop you some hints about choosing the right synchronization type, which we think is the most tricky part of the synchronization setup.

During the installation, your main concern would be that after the first synchronization, the synced data on two PCs looks exactly the way you wanted – with no duplicates or lost items. To achieve that, you need to be sure you understand the difference between the synchronization types the program offers.

During the installation, the configuration wizard will ask you to choose between three synchronization types, as shown below:

CodeTwo Outlook Sync configuration

Fig. 3. The synchronization types in CodeTwo Outlook Sync.

The available options are:

  • Both PC’s – keeps data from both PCs, but duplication of items can occur (Read more for details).
  • This PC – keep data from the current computer only. All data from the other PC will be replaced with Outlook items from this PC.
  • Other PC – keeps data from the other PC only. All data from this PC will be replaced with Outlook items from the other PC.

If your goal is to have exactly the same Outlook items on both synchronized PCs, your first guess would be to choose the Both PCs option. Although it might be the right choice in some scenarios, in most cases, it leads to duplication of Outlook items after the initial sync. To cut a long story short, if you have two contacts on two PCs containing exactly the same information, CodeTwo Outlook Sync is unable to distinguish between them before the first synchronization takes place, and they double up on both machines after the first syncing. Luckily there are some steps you can perform to undo this state, but let’s start from the beginning.

Let’s consider such situation… We have three contacts on the desktop PC: Barbara, John and Tim. We want to synchronize this PC with a laptop that also contains three contact items in the Contacts folder: Peter, Sue and Tim.

Outlook contacts on Computer A

Fig. 2. Contacts on the desktop PC (Computer A).

Outlook contacts on Computer B

Fig. 3. Contacts on the laptop PC (Computer B)

Our goal is to have these both machines to contain exactly the same data. The thing is that choosing the Both PC option results in duplication of one of the contacts. The image below pictures the result of such setting:

Outlook contacts after the initial sync

To avoid this situation, we have to prepare the both Outlook .pst files for the initial sync. Generally speaking, this process involves exporting Outlook .pst file from one PC to another. During the export and import process the Do not export/import duplicate items option must be checked. Read this Knowledge base article to find out more…

The rest is very easy. After the import is finished and both PCs contain the sum of its Outlook items with no duplicates, you can start synchronizing them with CodeTwo Outlook Sync. Since they already contain the same data, during the configuration of CodeTwo Outlook Sync, choose the Keep data from this PC option. After the first synchronization the both synchronized folders will look exactly the same and the new updates will be replicated on both machines in real-time (provided that AutoSync option is turned on).

If you’re not already familiar with what CodeTwo Outlook Sync is capable of, watch this video and see it in action:

Download the program for free and test its full functionality for 30 days. After the test period, the program switches into the freeware mode in which only Outlook Contacts and Calendar folders can be synchronized – you can use this version as long as you want. It’s completely free.

Download CodeTwo Outlook Sync
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