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Don't sync hard links

Don't sync hard links

Wladimir T.
Helpful | Level 6

Hello,

I have inside my Dropbox a hard link to another folder inside Dropbox itself. I don't want this hard link to be synched so from the desktop app i chose not to sync it but by doing this it disabled synching for my original folder and deleted it from my remote files.

Let's say i have a folder A and a link to that folder called B, on the desktop app i right click on B and select "don't sync this..." but then dropbox disables synching for A and deletes it from my remote files.

 

So, is this a bug or there is another way to just disable synching for hard links? (i'm doing this on windows) I also tried the command line method but in that case i'ts just being ignored

 

Thanks in advance for your answers

6 Replies 6

Re: Don't sync hard links

Hannah
Dropboxer
Hey @Wladimir T., thanks for your post!

Without showing any personal information, can you please send me a screenshot of how this hard link appears in your Dropbox folder, so I can check it out?

Thanks!

Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Don't sync hard links

Wladimir T.
Helpful | Level 6

I don't know why i couldn't upload images, i put them all on my server as a single image: Link to Image 

 

1st one is how the link looks in my explorer

 

2nd is how the target folder looks (notice that i didn't ignore the folder just the link, but the folder got marked as ignored)

 

 

3rd image is the link looks on the dropbox desktop app

 

4th image: as soon as i click on it the folder icon is replaced with a blank one

 

I created the link using this command on the windows prompt: mklink /j "sf" "C:\Dropbox\symfony"

Re: Don't sync hard links

Wladimir T.
Helpful | Level 6

Dropbox wouldn't let me upload images apparently (i got yellow triangles as if they were warnings instead) so i uploaded it on a server and put it as link in my previous response.

 

Thanks

Re: Don't sync hard links

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

Hi @Wladimir T.,

You state that a hard link is created but:


@Wladimir T. wrote:
...

I created the link using this command on the windows prompt: mklink /j "sf" "C:\Dropbox\symfony"


... actually you have a junction. (take a look on "/j") 😁

Anyway as a behavior, from Dropbox point of view, they are almost same (indistinguishable, despite of the differences). Dropbox application uses file attributes to mark particular file or folder as a non-syncable. As you already know the same could be done using command prompt or GUI. Final result should be the same (in both cases the attributes get affected).

One difference (not the only) between a symbolic link from one side and a hard link or junction from another side is how changing attributes to the link affects the pointed file. Because of symbolic link is a independent file by self, it carry every attributes change. In other cases changes are forwarded to the pointed file (even more, on  hard link there isn't pointed file it's just the same file).

Now since corresponding attribute got changed, particular file gets out of Dropbox at all (doesn't matter point of view - directory and/or name). 😉

That's why don't use hard links (or similar) within Dropbox folder. It's not supported, by the way. For such a file (hard linked) only one of all access points should/could reside in Dropbox folder! Otherwise results are unstable.

Hope this clarifies matter.

Re: Don't sync hard links

Wladimir T.
Helpful | Level 6

Thanks, i understand it now! I'm no expert on the matter so I've always been under the impression that Junctions were a kind of hard link but only for directories (as you can see in this page https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/131182-create-soft-hard-symbolic-links-windows.html it calls junctions hard links).

 

So if i just make a soft link (using /d) it should work properly, right?

Re: Don't sync hard links

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

Hi @Wladimir T.,

You are mixing different things! Yes, I understand that you are not a expert, but its good idea to know how approximately some file system works. All files engage some space into some block device (including file content and additional meta data, like some attributes). Folders, like files, engage a storage on the same block device and in the same way keep some content and metadata. Folders content is a set of links to contained files (and some part of files related attributes); links of any kind. Every file must have at least one hard link! If there isn't such, the file isn't accessible/visible in directory tree. Could be made additional link(s) with different name and/or on different place (folder). Key moment here is that such a link can point only in border of the same block device (real or virtual) - i.e. the same partition. That's because hard links are realized on bottom (physical) layer. Symbolic link is something different, primary as the realization. It's implemented like a file and so can point to anything within your machine (i.e. no restriction to the same partition). Sometimes inconvenient, as ones directed to some place, it points there even when pointed file gets move. Junction is a kind of reparse point. It's something like a hybrid of hard and symbolic links. So, junction point to a file (no place of file, like symbolic link) and isn't limited to particular partition. That's it.

Symbolic links and junctions both are kind of soft links! Don't get confused from the terms. 😉

 


@Wladimir T. wrote:
...

So if i just make a soft link (using /d) it should work properly, right?


Most probably! 🙂 Take care actual folder (or file, in another case) to reside into Dropbox folder and link be outside. So, the content can get in sync.

Hope this helps.

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    Здравко Super Collaborator | Level 20
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