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Synchronizing browser data between multiple devices can be a blessing. Imagine having all of your bookmarks and passwords at your disposal, no matter where you go, or what computer you use to connect to the Internet. In reality, syncing is limited in several ways. It first is limited to a specific web browser. You cannot just sync your Firefox data with Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer’s with Opera. While there are third party tools out there that can sync some data, like bookmarks, you won’t find a tool that can synchronize everything.
The second limitation is that you need an account if you use the built-in synchronization features. For Google Chrome, a Google account is required that you need to be signed in for the syncing to work.
Syncing data without Chrome Sync
If you do not want to sign in to your Google account in Chrome, or do not have an account at all, you may be interested in alternatives that help you synchronize data between multiple systems.
To do that, you need two tools:
- A tool to create symbolic links
- Storage space in the cloud that you can access locally (like Dropbox)
Google saves the Chrome user folder into the C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Windows XP users find it in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\ instead.
All you need to do know is to place that folder in your cloud storage, and point the original data folder to it, to have it synchronized automatically whenever you switch computers. Keep in mind though that will run into issues if you have Chrome open simultaneously on multiple systems. If that is a requirement, you are better off using the built-in synchronization. The process obviously only works for systems that can access the cloud storage.
As far as tools go, you can use Steammover or Dropboxifier for that. Steammover, originally designed for users of the gaming platform Steam who want to move some of their installed games to a new drive, can be used to create symbolic links for all kinds of folders.
You also need a Dropbox account, or a comparable cloud hosting account that you can access as a drive or folder on your system.
Here is how this is done.
Attention: Close all open instances of the Google Chrome browser on your system before you proceed.
Start Steam Mover and select your Google Chrome user directory as the Steam Apps Common Folder, and a new folder in your Dropbox directory as the Alternative Folder.
You should see a folder list being populated once you have selected the Chrome user folder. Now mark all folders with the left mouse button while holding down the Shift key, or press Ctrl-A to do it, and click on the right arrow icon at the bottom of the window afterwards.
Now that you have set it up on one PC, you need to repeat the steps on the remaining devices. Install Dropbox first there to synchronize the Chrome files with the local PC or device. I’d suggest you empty the directories of your Chrome user directory on those devices before you use Steam Mover to avoid syncing conflicts.
Today's beta release of Chrome enables users to sync different accounts across multiple computers. This allows more than one person to sign into Chrome on a shared computer and have access to all their browser data. It also enables one person to have different Chrome profiles with different email addresses, e.g. work and personal, that can all be accessed from any computer by logging in.