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November 21, 2008

FolderShare works so of course Microsoft plans to FUBAR it

When Microsoft acquired FolderShare in November of 2005, I immediately started to wonder how long it would take for Microsoft to FUBAR it.

To my surprise, Microsoft somehow managed to avoid messing with it too much and it's been a great program and service that performed nearly problem free and even saved my butt just days ago and it wasn't the first time it did that. However, I worry that they are finally getting around to "improving it" because of this notice posted on FolderShare.com:

We're contacting you to let you know what's next for FolderShare, and to make you aware of some important changes.

In December, we plan to announce a product called Windows Live Sync. You can think of it as FolderShare 2.0. It's going to look familiar and offer the same great features, plus:

* More folders and files - sync up to 20 folders with 20,000 files each.
* Integration with Windows Live ID - no more extra sign-in stuff to remember.
* Integration with the Recyle Bin - no more separate Trash folder to fiddle with.
* Unicode support - sync files in other languages.

A huge part of Sync's success story depends on FolderShare users like you. When Sync releases, FolderShare goes into retirement. That means your FolderShare software will stop working and will ask you to upgrade to Sync. Once you do, Sync will automatically rebuild your personal folders. We expect a lot of new users when Sync is released, so if you can't sign in right away, please give it a little time.

Here's the part you need to pay attention to: Sync will not be able to rebuild your shared libraries. If you have a lot of shared libraries, you should hop over to the FolderShare website while it's still available and copy all that information. You'll need it to rebuild your shared libraries in Sync.

You should also note that the Professional option is being retired with the FolderShare name. Sync has a single offer, which provides free synchronization for up to 20 libraries and 20,000 files. We'll be working to raise those numbers as our service grows.

Thanks for being a FolderShare user! We're excited about delivering an even better file-synchronization experience to customers like you. We hope you'll come along as we move forward with Windows Live Sync.

I'm not resistant to change. I could care less about name changes. Even UI or other changes don't scare me. I only care about FolderShare's feature set and its reliability. FolderShare has been nearly perfect because it does what it advertises and does it well. With Microsoft driving things and now making changes to it, I'm concerned that this could be a downgrade instead of an upgrade.

In the bullet list the announcement states, "sync up to 20 folders with 20,000 files each." But in the next to last paragraph it confusingly states, "...up to 20 libraries and 20,000 files." Did they mean to say, "...up to 20 libraries and 20,000 files in each," or did they add the first "each" by accident? A global maximum of 20,000 files will be a huge problem for a lot of us. Certainly for me! Even 20,000 files per library is hardship but I can move things around and create some more libraries.

Additionally, the official announcement makes no mention of a new Mac client but this post on their blog does. Why the omission in the official notice?

I hope they quickly clarify these confusing and conflicting statements and somehow avoid FUBARing FolderShare. It'd really be a shame if Microsoft screws up this fantastic program/service.

Posted in Microsoft & Windows by usrbingeek at 2008-11-21 03:02 ET (GMT-5) | 0 Comments | Permalink



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