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Alias shortcut files don't work as expected on Dropbox or on another user's computer

Alias shortcut files don't work as expected on Dropbox or on another user's computer

rbaterin
Explorer | Level 4
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Hi, 

I am using the latest Mac OS and have Dropbox Personal (DBP). I share some folders with 2 other people who have DBP and the same Mac OS. I 've been having trouble with alias shortcuts (I think they are technically called "symlinks" in this forum).

 

We have some docs that we like to keep in a centralized location. Some docs are underneath several layers of directories and folders - Sometimes its a labyrinth but that is how the tree directory works. The main tree is shared between all 3 of us.  

 

One individual (say the executive) only needs to readily access a few docs (ie final report docs) located in different locations in different folders within this tree. The easiest way to access this (and other docs) is by creating his/her own folder and have shortcuts to the relevant docs (or folders) he/she wants to readily access. I have set up the shared folder and created the shortcuts.

 

It works fine on my side of the dropbox and on my computer. However, the other individuals seem to have broken links. The shortcuts (aliases) are just 1kb files - it recognizes the files as just an individual file rather than a functioning symbolic link to the actual file in another part of the tree. 

 

Is there a fix for this or a way around this problem? It sounds like there doesn't seem to be a compatible link between Dropbox and Mac OS programming when it comes to this shortcuts issue when sharing with others. 

 

Thanks!

 

Ray

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Mark
Super User II
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The issue will be that the symlinks are set up to work on YOUR machine (i.e. 'Users\Ray'). That means that on every body elses machines it will be looking for the same folder which obviously wont work as that doesnt exist.

I'm afraid there is no work around other than moving the files in to Dropbox and symlinking the original locations. Unfortunately this is why they are technically unsupported via Dropbox.

 


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Mark
Super User II
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The issue will be that the symlinks are set up to work on YOUR machine (i.e. 'Users\Ray'). That means that on every body elses machines it will be looking for the same folder which obviously wont work as that doesnt exist.

I'm afraid there is no work around other than moving the files in to Dropbox and symlinking the original locations. Unfortunately this is why they are technically unsupported via Dropbox.

 


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Heart Did this post help you? If so please mark it for some Kudos below. 


:white_check_mark: Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.


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rbaterin
Explorer | Level 4
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Thanks for the reply. 

 

Would this work in any way in Dropbox Business? Or am I running in the same issue? 

 

Does Dropbox have its own symlink within the tree? 

Mark
Super User II
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No it wouldnt work any different,

And no Dropbox doesnt use its own symlinks for most people - the issue is as you said - it cannot sync whats on them and when it does it does so sporadically and not in real time as it should.

 


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rbaterin
Explorer | Level 4
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Thanks Mark for the replies. It looks like the symlinks do not work in a shared sense. 

 

However, if he/she created their own individual symlinks on their own computer in their own folder in the Dropbox tree will it technically work? I am assuming that it will because they own that symlink. I, myself, will not be able to utilize those links as those links are strictly set up based on the relativity of that particular user's computer.

 

Having said that, sounds like symlinks are not absolute but relative. And, therefore can only work for that one particular user who created that symlink. 

 

I think that maybe then it would be best to create a folder for that particular user, say "Executive 1 Reports", and he/she can create their own symlinks within that folder. - and only that particular user can edit what they want to see. 

 

Am I going in the right direction on this?

Mark
Super User II
Go to solution
Personally all I'm going to say is 'Dropbox does not support symlinks' and thats for a very good reason - the risk of data loss.

Because of that I havent used them I'm afraid.

I dont think what you want to do will work if its a share, but, may do if nothing is shared.

As I said you should put the files inside Dropbox and symlink from original location.

 


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Nicholas K.
New member | Level 2
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I am now in the process of attempting to recover my entire Dropbox, which was deleted without warning after trying a symbolic link. 

Nootrope
New member | Level 2
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Bear in mind that in macOS "alias" links and symlinks are not the same thing. In either case, **internal** symlinks don't work in Dropbox, not sure about alias links but suspect they don't either. They'll result in either duplicate data in folder generated to adddress conflicts, and/or lost data altogether. **External** symlinks—where one is symlinking to a resource stored outside the local machine's Dropbox hierarchy—use to work by re-creating the content within the designatd Dropbox location. That has apparently not been working as of v2, according to this article by Paul Ingraham.

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    Nootrope New member | Level 2
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