External SSD with two separate computers and a phone

Hi, I have an external SSD that I use to store most of my files. I have two folders in the external SSD that I have synced with my phone using Syncthing and it works great. I set it all up using my Macbook so whenever I edit any files in these folders while plugged into the Macbook they automatically update on my phone (locally). However, I sometimes need to use my Windows desktop to access and edit these files, which I do by unplugging the external SSD from the Macbook and pluggin it into the Windows desktop. I would like to be able make edits to these files on the Windows machine as well and have the same folders in my phone be updated, so that I can edit the external SSD folders from either machine and have my phone update the same two folders.

I’m looking for some guidance as to how best to set this up. I think I don’t need the Macbook to know about the Windows desktop since the folders are shared between these devices through the external drive. I do need to have both the Macbook and the Windows desktop know about the phone but if I share the same folders in my phone (that are being shared with the Macbook) with my desktop, will it try to delete the content and then resync the same content because Syncthing doesn’t know they are technically the same folders even though the syncing is being setup from two different computers?

I would appreciate any clarification or help anyone can provide.

Thank you!

This isn’t super trivial to do properly.

The only way this makes sense from a Syncthing topology point of view is if the device is the SSD. That is, you want a portable setup where the Syncthing config, keys, and database all live on the removable SSD. You’ll need to configure folder paths relative to the root of the SSD and use a script of some kind to start Syncthing with the SSD as the home directory. Since you have two operating systems involved you’ll need two such scripts, and you’ll need to configure the folders to minimize spurious changes due to the different OS:es view of the files: at minimum ignore permissions and modtime window = 1s or something like that.

Doing it the other way (having a setup on each computer, peering both of them with the phone, just moving the files) will result in conflicts any time you change a file and move the disk. That said, it’s possible that just dealing with those conflicts (or disabling conflict copies on the phone, max conflicts = 0) is good enough and simpler to deal with.

So if I go with the 2nd option, having a setup on each computer and pairing them both to the phone, can I use the same folders on my phone that are already paired with the MacBook to pair with the Windows desktop? Will syncthing recognize that they are all the same files and skip through the ones that haven’t changed or will it start syncing from scratch each time I switch computers and make changes to the files on the ssd?

(having a setup on each computer, peering both of them with the phone, just moving the files)

By “just moving the files” do you mean moving the ssd from one computer to the other?

When it comes to a portable installation, I’d just like to add that you also need to use / as the path separator regardless of the OS. This is because Syncthing under Windows will accept both / and \, but under other OSs it won’t accept \.

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Thank you. I haven’t figured out how to do a portable install but it’s good to know in case I ever decide to attempt that solution. I’ve been dealing with the conflicts that result from having a setup on each computer and pairing each one separately to the phone. It’s not ideal but hasn’t been too bad.

Could you point me in the right direction on how to do a portable install on the external SSD?

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