Windows 10: Sync - Which computer controls the settings?

Discus and support Sync - Which computer controls the settings? in User Accounts and Family Safety to solve the problem; I am brand new to Sync. I wanted to learn the rules of how it operates so I clicked on the convenient link just above where one turns it on or off in... Discussion in 'User Accounts and Family Safety' started by brucemc777, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. Sync - Which computer controls the settings?

    I am brand new to Sync. I wanted to learn the rules of how it operates so I clicked on the convenient link just above where one turns it on or off in Settings and instead of a proper explanation from Microsoft I was dumped into a Bing search of "How does syncing work?". Really sad. Make that pathetic. I guess MS is clueless on how their software works so they have to send me into an internet search instead of explaining it.

    From you folks that have used Sync, pleas advise - At home I have four laptops running 32 bit W10 and one mini tower running 64 bit W10, all release 10162. If I turn syncing on in all of them, and for now let us say all features are turned on, what determines which computer's settings would become the "master" from which all other computers are made to conform? Or does this function simply force a mashup of everything? No, that wouldn't be possible. At least I hope not. For if several had certain, say, apps, and others did not this would mean either the same apps would either be forced to install on the other computers where they did not previously exist and that might then involve having to buy new licenses, or deleting the apps from the computers that did had them in order to sync to the other computers. Or, I have the wrong conception of what syncing is all about. And if I want some item or setting off all of them, do I have to turn syncing off on all of the computers and then change them all and then turn it back on so the computers that had it still on if I left the setting on wouldn't force re-installation to the unit I first removed it from? If syncing documents or music, will it combine all items from each of one large collection of all of them, or will one computer's directory be the "master" and all other computers forced to conform to that computer's directory, and if a new item is created in one of the computers will it be automatically deleted as it is not on the "Master" computer (Which is absurd, but I state such to make the point that I am completely without authoritative information as MS certainly didn't help any in defining the operation of this function.).

    Can someone set me straight on this since MS has not yet made an appropriate page for this to link to?

    Many Thanks!

    brucemc777, Jul 2, 2015

  2. Setting are not been synced.

    These threads may help you how to sync your devices:

    Sync - Which computer controls the settings?

    <Link to reimage pushing site removed>
    Gina_on_the_thread, Jul 2, 2015
  3. define which items are sync-ed to each computer

    I guess I have been thinking about this some. It would be a simple thing to do with an extra flag field and many people appear to want it, judging by the questions on this forum and the reality of everyday life.

    It does seem WM6x and WMDC are a reluctant products of MS - incomplete products that ran out of funding.

    And that's true too for WM6.5 office suite - it baffles me that it does not support document passwords...
    waltberger, Jul 2, 2015
  4. Kari Win User

    Sync - Which computer controls the settings?

    If you are talking about sync settings in below screenshot, then it's really straight forward:

    Sync - Which computer controls the settings? [​IMG]

    Sync Settings - Turn On or Off in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums

    Whenever you change something on any machine where that sync setting is enabled, let's say the theme for instance, it will be also changed (synced) on every other machine you have where you sign in using the same MS Account and where the same sync setting (in this case the theme) is enabled. This might require a reboot or sign out / sign in cycle but eventually it will be synced.

    You could say that the "sync master" is always the machine where a synced setting has las been changed because that change in settings will be applied to all other machines using the same MS Account and same sync settings.
    Kari, Jul 3, 2015
  5. Mystere Win User
    Think of "syncing" as a backup of *some* of your settings. Whenever you make a change on any computer, it stores that change in your OneDrive account. The next time any other computer that uses that Account looks at those settings, it pulls them down overwrites whatever settings they have on that computer.

    Syncing does not apply to everything, only a small list of features. It doesn't apply to third party apps, however, you should understand that there are no additional licenses involved with installing the same app on multiple devices. The store allows you to install an app on up to 81 devices without a new license. At least this is what it was for Windows 8.1 and I don't see them changing this, unless it's to raise it even higher.

    Microsoft Dramatically Raises Limit on Windows 8.x/RT App Installs | Windows 8 content from SuperSite for Windows
    Mystere, Jul 3, 2015
  6. Thank-you, I think I have got it now!

    One lingering question: As an example, let us start with five computers, all with similar settings but each with some differences. Should I understand that first one is set to sync. Next a second is set to sync and the first unit's settings that are part of this process is set in accordance with the second computer's settings. Next the third computer is set to sync (sync is turned on), so computers number one and two now are set to the third computer's configuration, and so on when the fourth and fifth computers have each, in turn, sync engaged?
    brucemc777, Jul 3, 2015
  7. Mystere Win User
    No. When you set a computer to sync, it syncs whatever was the last settings stored in your onedrive account. So the new computer gets the synced settings, not the other way around. If you make a change, however, after you have synced, then those settings will be sent to every other computer that is already syncing.

    Please remove from your mind the idea that sync syncs between computers. It'd doesn't It syncs only with whatever is stored in OneDrive. Any other computers also sync with onedrive, so whatever is last stored there wins.
    Mystere, Jul 3, 2015
  8. Sync - Which computer controls the settings?

    They all do depending on what you set the sync settings on each PC to do. If I add a favorite to IE its added to IE on all my PC's that I use that MSA on because I have it setup to do that. My Start Screen Tiles and layout aren't though because I turned that off. My desktop and laptop have different size monitors so I have each one setup differently. On a clean install of Windows 8.1 I get a list of the PC's synced to my onedrive account. I pick the matching PC name and all it's saved settings are synced back specific to that PC. You can pick and chose what's backed up and what gets synced across multiple devices.
    alphanumeric, Jul 5, 2015
  9. The current implementation of sync leans to multiple devices all wanting the same look and feel. Your PC, Tablet and Phone will all have colors, layout and other items you select in the sync settings.

    Multiple PCs might require a different sync strategy. If you want them to have distinct characteristics, then associate those machines with different MS accounts that access different OneDrive cloud storage.

    You could set sync up to make all machines have a certain set of common characteristics and then manually configure the distinct components on each of the other machines.

    It take a little bit of planning - look at the available switches in the image Kari posted and read Mystere's posts again.
    There's very good information in this thread.

    If anyone knows exactly what each of the setting switches affects, that would also be useful.
    Theme, Web browser settings, Passwords, Language preferences, Ease of access, Other Windows settings

    Some are obvious, most are overly general.
    Slartybart, Jul 5, 2015
  10. linw Win User
    Thanks to the OP and the responders for getting this conversation going. It does take a bit to get your head around it.
  11. Brian902 Win User
    Thanks, that was the very question I was looking for and you gave me the answer.

    My desktop will be first to be synced to one drive and then I'll turn on my laptop to sync it to the desktop.


    Wow, my first query and got the answer in minutes!
    Brian902, Aug 29, 2015
  12. Jorie10 Win User
    Can you use OneDrive with a Windows 7 computer?
    Jorie10, Jun 28, 2016
  13. Kari Win User

    Sync - Which computer controls the settings?

    Yes, of course. Download and install the OneDrive Sync Client here: Download Microsoft OneDrive
  14. WinFan Win User
    Is it possible to force a Win10 machine to push all it's settings to OneDrive so that all other computers would then pull these down and apply them?

    I wondered if changing the registry settings in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SettingSync\Groups might do this. Refer to

    The reason is that some of my IE11 Favorites just never sync with my other laptops that use the same Microsoft Account.

    WinFan, Apr 5, 2018

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