Windows "Live" (Now Dead) Foldershare Has an Architectural Weakness

Foldershare is a handy tool that keeps several PC’s in sync – most of the time, when it works.  Of course sometimes it goes down, defying it’s new Windows Live moniker. smile_embaressed

Unlike the previous, week-long outage, this one was just a few hours, but even now as it recovers, users can’t log in:

Outages are inevitable, but the repeated incidents made me realize that Foldershare has a design glitch: it’s dependence on logging in to a web server for no good reason.

  • Yes, I understand setup, customization is all through the Web.
  • However, once set up, the need to change configuration is rare, the whole idea in Foldershare is that it just runs in the background with the users barely noticing it even exists.  It does NOT sync / upload actual data to the Web server, all synchronization is strictly P2P.  In fact one of the setup options is to define whether you allow remote P2P sync to occur through the Net, or strictly on your LAN, behind the firewall.

Why on earth my Foldershare clients on 3 computers have to sign in to the Web to be able to carry out behind-the-firewall synchronization is beyond me.  Could the not cache the latest config locally, and use it whenever log-in fails?

Of course I have previously speculated that Microsoft should tie Foldershare and Skydrive, offering both PC sync and Web backup, in which case logging in becomes a reasonable requirement.  But even then, local sync should be available as a fall-back option for outages.

Update (2/13):  A day later Foldershare clients still can’t log in.  Perhaps it’s time to change “the next couple of hours” to “the next couple of days“. smile_angry


  1. I gave up on Foldershare a long time ago. It was a great service when the company was independent and well worth $50/year. Microsoft bought the copmany, made it ‘free’, and killed the service – proving that you get what you pay for. I’d rather pay for a service that works than depend on a ‘free’ service that doesn’t. Very sad.

  2. What are some of the alternatives to Foldershare?

    I have been using it for quite a while and besides from the occasional outage quite happy. I would definitely pay for the service if it meant less outages.

  3. Its clear that ms does not want to support foldershare at all. The last few big time outages (especially last year) were indicative of a total failure to carry the MS reputation (good or bad, depending how you look at it)into this product.

    I think when foldershare was a paid service, the web login authentication was a way to make sure you had a licence and had paid. Now, its free since the last 4? years, so the web authenticate does not matter or does it?

    I also noticed that the link to the foldershare live newsgroup has disappeared from frontpage even though it took them years to create a notifier page and it was only up since the disaster of november last year when the MS lack-of-tech-support team started become verbose.
    Obviously, it was too upsetting for them to be reminded again of their failures.
    Google can run 24/7 if I am not mistaken so foldershare should manage good uptime as well.

  4. Technology Transfer Services says

    Why are so surprised by Microsoft and their bugged software? It is something common and I got used to the bugs that exist in Microsoft software. With time you learn that by doing a manual personalized setup you can improve their software considerably but of course the license does not allow you to modify their software… Who cares?

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