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Windows “Live” Foldershare Dead For a Week

Foldershare is a very handy tool that keeps several PC’s in sync – when it does.

Although the actual synchronization process is P2P, in fact in a local network your data typically stays behind the firewall throughout the entire process, Foldershare needs to log in to their servers to read your configuration data. And that’s where the process often dies. So far it hasn’t bothered me though, sometimes Foldershare could not log in, but I could safely rely on it getting through in a few hours and catching up with synchronization.

Now it’s been dead for days, which is really bad, as it has become a key part of my infrastructure: I sync three computers using Foldershare, and run Mozy to create online backups on one. With these types of services it’s all about trust: you don’t actively use them, check them daily, you just trust that they are there, doing their job in the background. When they don’t you’re in trouble, since you don’t know what fell out of sync. There goes the trust, quickly.

Foldershare was acquired two years ago by Microsoft, and it’s now branded as part of the “Live” services. A brand that turns into pure irony when it comes to a dead service. smile_sad

Update: there’s now an announcement on the FolderShare site. Thanks, Chris, for the pointer.

newsNovember 12, 2007

Windows Live FolderShare experienced a few technical difficulties over the weekend. The service is functioning normally now but it may take a while for all clients to reconnect. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes you.

Update (11/16): The above announcement turned out to be optimistic – that much is obvious just reading the comments below. As of today, FolderShare is completely down, with this status message:

Nov 16, 3:00PM PST
Windows Live FolderShare is being taken offline for maintenance.
The service will be resumed in the next 48 hours.
Thank you for your patience.
FolderShare Team.

I keep my fingers crossed.. and if it really works in 48 hours – well than it only took Microsoft a week to fix a so-called “Live” service. smile_angry

Update (12/11): FolderShare AutoDeletes Files. Whoops – on TechCrunch

Comments

  1. I run into the same problems with Foldershare on occasion, but it has been functioning fine for me and is up and running properly now on both of our office computers

  2. I feel your pain. Foldershare isn’t a dead service by any means, there’s just a fair bit of work going on behind the scenes right now. If you check foldershare.com, you’ll notice the team has put up an announcement about the downtime.

    Hold in there for a little bit longer, there’s light at the end of the tunnel 😉

  3. Thanks, Chris, I’ve updated the post.

  4. Folder share is great for sending pictures in an asynchronous setup…I have been using it for a couple of years and love it.

    Too bad about the outage though.

    -Jitendra

  5. Absolutely. I use Picasa on my PC’s, which is a great program, but amazingly in 2007 it’s single-PC only. Solution: sync the photos between PC’s via Foldershare.

    But it has to work … I’m still not back online.

  6. Chris, I wonder how long “a while” is for clients to reconnect. I managed to connect with one PC in the morning, not with the two others – same acccount, IP address ..etc.

    Thanks.

  7. Paul Vodrazka says:

    I have the same situation as Zoli. My Vista box has successfully connected, but my two XP machines still say “logging in”. I restart the app and then it says “Connecting” for some time, then back to “Logging in”.
    I’ve only been using FolderShare for a few weeks now, and I really like it as a backup solution.

    Sure hope it’s back up by tomorrow.

    On a different note: Does anyone here have problems with Vista32 and UPNP? My FolderShare crashes as soon as I enable UPNP and test connection. I’ve had to leave UPNP disabled and setup port forwarding for the Vista box. Any suggestions are welcome.

    Thank You,

    Paul Vodrazka

  8. We use Foldershare with our clients (being a small business) and it has been great. But this downtime is a major problem and makes me realise I need a better service. Does anyone know of anything better than FS?

  9. What makes it even worse is the statement on the website that it’s back to normal, when it clearly isn’t.
    🙁

  10. STILL down for me! virtually a whole DAY since they announced everything was ok again, no need to panic, it *may* take a *while* to reconnect….

  11. Paul Vodrazka says:

    All my clients are finally connected now. Hope they have a plan in place to prevent this from happening again. Maybe I expect too much from a free service.

  12. Still dead here. I’ve been exploring alternatives while I wait to see if it comes back, and BeInSync seems to come the closest to being a plug-in replacement.

    • BeInSync is also a good one, or at least i have heard many good things about it. Thankfully, I can solve all my needs in this regard with some basic remote access software, but I can see the need and I understand how this going down could be an absolute nightmare.

  13. Well they’ve updated the website. Now they say:

    “November 14, 2007 – Windows Live FolderShare experienced a few technical difficulties over the past weekend. Most functionality has been restored. However, there are still some users who may experience long connection delays. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes you.”

    Meanwile, PowerFolder also looks like a viable alternative. Peer-to-peer and open source.

  14. I think the main difference with FolderShare over competitors is that not only can you share the data in the designated folder(s), but if you log in via the website from anywhere you can access ANY file/folder on your PC not just the ones you nominate for sharing which is handy if you need something from a different location…

  15. Guy Nehrenz says:

    As of this morning, I still can not connect with any of my 3 computers. I have been using foldershare for over a year and in the last month it has been very unreliable. I am switching to BeInSync. Seems more reliable.

  16. Ben vdPluijm says:

    Problem continues, both on my Vista and XP machines. This is a huge headache, and it breaks the trust we place in these MS services.

  17. There’s another update on the Foldershare site dated Nov 15, with a link off to a longer update/announcement. Executive summary: Hardware failure, transition issue, sorry, we’ll do better, but “In the weeks ahead, it is possible that there may be a few additional bumps
    on the road as we get to a more stable situation.”

  18. This completely sucks. I heavily rely on FolderShare to keep my thesis in synch, and now that it is going to be gone when I need it the most. Time to check out BeInSync or PowerFolder.

  19. It’s down again as of 3PM PST for 48 hrs !?!

  20. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one incredibly frustrated by this.

    Is anyone else appalled that a Microsoft product’s website would just throw up a plaintext replacement for their home page? To me, this says that they don’t care about Foldershare all too much anymore…too bad there aren’t any equal replacements (BeInSync limits files and folders :-/).

  21. Paul Vodrazka says:

    To be fair to Microsoft, they didn’t develop this program, they aquired it and are trying to improve on it. Also calling it a Microsoft product would suggest that you paid for it, and I’m guessing you didn’t, since it’s a free service, not a product.

  22. I am also frustrated by this, but at the same time I agree with Paul, no-one is paying for this service and clearly it has grown far more popular over time. Microsoft are trying to scale it for growth which is taking time and causing outages. If you’re using it for critical things then it might be an idea to look elsewhere until they have the problems sorted.

  23. Of course I understand its a free product that I didn’t pay for– but it does have the Microsoft name behind it, which led me to use this over other alternatives (ie. BeInSync, PowerFolder).

    I sympathize that the service is growing, but at the same time just throwing up plaintext and taking down the rest of their entire site doesnt speak volumes about their confidence in the future of FolderShare. You expect to see that from a product backed by an individual, not one that was purchased by Microsoft more than 2 years ago.

    Honestly, I love Foldershare — its served me well since I started using it. I wouldnt mind paying for reliability and removing the 10 folders/10k file limit, as long as its reasonable — PowerFolder’s $40/computer per year quickly adds up per computer.

  24. Saw someones note on using BeInSync. DON’T USE IT. It sucks. I had tons of problems with it not syncing, taking forever to sync, or just deleting files.

  25. Alan, thanks for letting us know about your experience with BeInSync. I tried PowerFolder, and did not quite like it. Even though I had two folders that were almost in sync from the last time I used Foldershare, PowerFolder decided it needed to resynchronize by copying an overwriting all the files in one location. No harm done, but took forever, and only one file of the 900 it was copying had actually changed.

  26. With all honesty, I have tried them all. They are either unreliable or damn expensive, charging prices per gig or just not usable in the way that we like FS. BoxCloud is another, but it just is not the same.

    We kept coming back to FS and as a software design consultancy have come to rely on it heavily. It is sad to see that this product has not progressed at all since it was aquired from ByteTaxi.

    What is more frustrating is that it has a lot of potential, especially around collaboration. And when it is up it “just works” which is why we all love it so much.

    I had spoken to some MS support people there a while back, asking if they had a premier paid service since ByteTaxi used to offer it and they said (and this was over 2 years ago) that they were working on it. It’s sad to see that it has not gone anywhere.

    I’ve since developed some ties deep into M$ and am probing in there to figure out what the hell is going on. It’s just a damn shame. Then you see stuff that is in the Mac Leopard release and have to wonder if it is time to switch.

  27. Paul Vodrazka says:

    My biggest complaint is that the online servers need to be up for the service to work locally. Why can’t my LAN machines stay synced when the MS server is down. Such a capability would seem way too obvious to me.
    You can also use MS Groove which installs with Office 2007, but it has some limitations too.

  28. Hi,

    PowerFolder is an open-source alternative to FolderShare.
    Try it: http://www.powerfolder.com

  29. I think I have been using this program before all of you! This was a pay for service, I was paying, I believe, $100/year back before Microsoft purchased it. Then suddenly Microsoft emailed me and said that since they bought it, they are crediting my account for the rest I hadn’t used and it was now free.

    I was happy to see it was now free, but worried about what that would mean. Apparently, that means Microsft won’t support it right.

    I would gladly go back to paying for this, if it increased reliability.

    I have been relying on this product so much over the past 3 years, I don’t know what I would do without it. I use this on no less then 8 computers, keeping my real estate office in sync and keeping clients happy. I don’t know what I am going to do if Microsoft can’t get this fixed.

  30. Powerfolder is a problem. I can’t convince my clients to go to sourceforge and download it – it just doesn’t look good.

    I followed the steps myself for downloading and installing and it’s complicated. I think PowerFolder has too many options, only syncs automatically every 5 minutes, and messes up things like folder renames and doesn’t deal with file change conflict very well. For example, I renamed a folder and it didn’t delete the old one on the remote machines. Another example is where I edited the same file on both machines at slightly different times. Conflict resolution is not handled – the newest file simply wins and the old is not revved.

    Also, I think the PowerFolder has too many options. FS is easy to set up and go. Remember, we are all geeky people so we tend to try this stuff out. But when dealing with clients who are less geeky, it becomes problematic.

  31. Well, Beinsync (http://www.beinsync.com) still works and is in fact much more comprehensive that Foldershare. It includes online backup as well as file synch.

  32. I am glad that I found your site. I was beginning to wonder if my firewall was the cause of my Foldershare problems or some “critical” update. “Nice” to know that I am not the only one with connection issues. I hope it comes back online soon. I am worried about have duplicate files between home and work. In the past, FS downtime seems to have been few and far between. I am going to stick with it and not switch for now. I agree with one of the previous posters…I would pay again if it meant less downtime. Cheers all.

  33. an update!!!!

    Nov 18, 4:30PM PST
    Maintenance Update:

    * We are wrapping up our maintenance operations and are starting to bring the FolderShare service online.
    * We are allowing FolderShare clients to re-connect in a controlled fashion to confirm the system is operating correctly.
    * Your client will re-connect over the next few hours. Once connected you will be able resume synchronization between your clients.
    * Access to the the http://www.foldershare.com will resume on Monday Nov 19th by 8:30AM(PST).

  34. Can’t wait to see read the excuses.

  35. Glad to have FolderShare working again. It came up this morning quickly and synced everything just like it’s supposed to!

  36. Heyho, PowerFolder might not be that intuitive for a mom 🙂 But for professionals PowerFolder is a tool that rules.

    Just three benefits of PowerFolder:
    – It’s pure p-2-p. So you are pretty independed from any third party.
    – It offers delta syncing (copies only the changed parts of a file).
    – and data CAN but is not required to be stored on a Online Storage. So it’s always accessible, even if the computer(s) are offline. Useful if you need the data highly available or want offsite backup.

  37. Carlos E Ferrero says:

    It is hard to add anything. Nearly everything has been said. It has become a vital part of my system and now it is dead, dead, DEAD! MARCH 20, 2008

  38. Well, it’s been down today for some sort of update. I still can’t get connected even though the update is complete according to the fs homepage.

    Like others, I have come to rely heavily on foldershare for my business, syncing work computers with home computers and laptops. I’d gladly pay for it in exchangfe for guaranteed uptime.

  39. I’ll still recommend PowerFolder (http://www.powerfolder.com) as alternative solution.

  40. I still recommend PowerFolder (http://www.powerfolder.com) as alternative.

  41. Anyone else having this problem…some of my folders sync while other do not. For a file under the “status” column, it just says “sending request”. It ends up timing out or something then moving on to another file. Pretty frustrating.

  42. I was thinking of checking out PowerFolder, but OUCH…it is expensive. Sorry Christian, too much $$ for me.

  43. Justin, I saw that error several times. One, rather clumsy way to fix it is to delete the placeholder file it tries to sync, and rename the file on the other machine. Then FS thinks it’s new and will sync it.

    Of course the real trouble is files it misses without you noticing it 🙁

    Oh, and when it can’t sync an open file and there’s not way to skip the file; the only options are “retry” or close the entire apps. That’s just pathetic.

  44. Zoli, thanks for the hints. I will give them them a try when I can. Funny how dependent I am on FS. I am going to have to rethink my filing syncing.

  45. Zoli, are you still using Foldershare or something else? Foldershare has been down since last night, so I am once again thinking about trying something else…maybe BeInSync or PowerFolder but they aren’t free. I have been using Foldershare for years, but maybe it is time to move away to something else. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  46. I’m using Mesh with pretty good results. I have a laptop running both Mesh and FS monitoring the same folder, with each syncing to an individual desktop to compare. Both work pretty well with Mesh allowing you to store an on-line copy (up to 5GB) so you can still access data even if your PCs are off-line.

  47. Dropbox (getdropbox.com) looks like a good option to me. I’ve toyed with it a bit, but haven’t switched over because Foldershare’s ability to let me browse my machine remotely is handy. If I were to drop FS, I’d switch over to Dropbox.

  48. Basmentman says:

    Well dropbox looked nice to me but finally its only another service which stores your data on their servers and when the servers are down you are lost. And I dislike to store data on other peoples computer.

    Thanks to this blog I found an solution which is really great for me: I bought a PowerFolder lifetime Home license i put an old linux computer in my basement and thanx to my flatrate I AM the service now doesn’t matter what Powerfolders server does. I really think they are the only one who really can work in LAN.

    From the cost side well you need to pay but only once and as far as I see I get all updates and support.

  49. PowerFolder has totally unjustified price and does not get the job done. Definitely you can NOT rely on it because it dies and loses connection between computers all the time – so when you would need that file from remote machine chances are you would get an old copy. Or nothing at all.

    I chose getdropbox, after trying most of the other alternatives – it just works. Price? Free. Usability? 3 minute setup and it just works after that. Can’t really beat this.

Trackbacks

  1. […] original post here: Windows "Live" Foldershare Dead For Days blog, business, days, dead, foldershare, live, load, software, […]

  2. […] Earlier this month, Windows Live Foldershare: “… it’s been dead for days, which is really bad, as it has become a key part of my infrastructure: I sync three computers using Foldershare, and run Mozy to create online backups on one.” (Zoli’s Blog) […]

  3. […] the previous, week-long outage, this one was just a few hours, but even now as it recovers, users can’t log […]

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