Henry Poon's Blog

Helloooo Symlinks

So apparently Dropbox doesn’t let me share any random folder on my computer.  I can only share folders that are WITHIN the “My Dropbox” directory in my documents.  My aim was to share my “users/desktop” directory.  The only way I could do that is if my Dropbox folder was somehow one level higher than my desktop folder.  Doing that would be disastrous seeing that it would share everything else in the same directory level.  I tried using Live Mesh, but it refuses to share my desktop.

However, I stumbled upon something called symbolic links (symlinks for short).  Basically it is a pointer to another directory.  I put a symlink in my Dropbox folder which pointed to my desktop and now inside my Dropbox folder there is a folder called “Desktop”.  Well, it’s not exactly a folder.  It’s a symbolic link.  When the computer follows the link when I double click it, it just leads to the destination directory that I set.  So now Dropbox has no problem syncing that directory!

EDIT May 21, 2010: Apparently Dropbox can’t actually follow the symlinks inside the Dropbox directory while its running.  The originals have to be inside the Dropbox folder and the symlink has to be put at where you used to access those files before.  At the same time, shortcuts can be used in place of symlinks.

More info about symlinks here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_link

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