Q. What is the replacement or workaround for Briefcase in Windows 10?
A. Windows Briefcase, a file synchronization tool first introduced back with Windows 95 as a way to keep documents up-to-date between desktop and laptop computers, was demoted from active use in Windows 8 and removed entirely in Windows 10. Briefcase originally worked by connecting the computers or using a floppy disk as the transfer device back in the 1990s. However, online storage and synchronization services like Microsoft’s own OneDrive have largely replaced the older program. (Dedicated hobbyists have posted searchable instructions for restoring Briefcase to Windows 10 by editing the Registry, but you tinker at your own risk.)
OneDrive for Windows requires a free Microsoft account and comes with five gigabytes of free online storage. And it performs many of the same syncing chores. Like Briefcase, OneDrive checks for the latest version of a file you saved, then synchronizes it over the internet through your Microsoft account to make sure that version is available on your other computers — all without having to drag around cables or a removable disk.
OneDrive has apps for mobile devices so you can see your files on your phone or tablet, and you can store audio, video and photo files in your OneDrive account, too. The service also includes Microsoft Office Online, a browser-based version of the popular business software.
If you do not want to use OneDrive, competing online services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud and iDrive are alternatives. Along with file storage and syncing, many services now offer online document collaboration and editing for people on the same project but not in the same room; Dropbox Paper and Google Docs are just two examples.
Although you can use files on the web or on a local folder stored on your computer or device, you eventually need an internet connection to sync them up. If you prefer to keep your files on the ground anyway, for security or other reasons, look for a program that syncs files locally between your computer and a removable drive. GoodSync or the open-source FreeFileSync (both for Windows or Mac) are two of the many choices.
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