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Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

Hardlinks in dropbox folder

mtozsu
Explorer | Level 4

Now that Dropbox has stopped supporting symlinks within Dropbox folder (to folders outside Dropbox), my setup no longer works. I wonder if hard links from within Dropbox to folders outside Dropbox would work, meaning that they would sync. Or would Dropbox ignore the external folder?

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

Hi @mtozsu,

You are welcome.

Just to note: In "very system dependent" I don't mean OS! First of all to be able you must have corresponding permissions. Regular user don't have. Next, as I already noted, hard link and soft link are very different things. Soft link is on top level of your entire file system structure, so can point to, almost, everywhere and there are no too much additional requirements. Hard link is, in fact, change in the FS, so corresponding support have to be! In this context such a "link"s could "point" to FS entries inside particular partition, link from inside don't know anything about other places (drives/partitions and so on). Typically any abstraction layer above the native FS make hard linking imposible. And many other details could have some effect, so very important is the entire setup details. Generally hard linking is not best solution. You can try directory binding or 'opposite sym link' (actual directory inside, pointer outside). :wink:

Hope this helps.

View solution in original post

10 Replies 10

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

Hi @mtozsu,


@mtozsu wrote:

... Or would Dropbox ignore the external folder?


What you mean "ignore the external folder"? Can you define which one is external and which one internal? Hard link and soft link are very different things! "Link" in "hard link" is mostly metaphor. :wink:

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

mtozsu
Explorer | Level 4

I have a folder in my ~/Documents folder -- let us call it Papers (so ~/Documents/Papers). Now I create a hard link to it in my Dropbox folder so it is  ~/Dropbox/Papers. Now I go and add a file to (or edit a file in) ~/Documents/Papers -- will Dropbox recognize the hard link and sync the changes? It no longer does this with symlinks; the question is whether it would do it with hardlinks... 

 

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

Hi @mtozsu,

If you can create hard link to a folder, could be expected that it will work. BUT, typically you can't! This is very system dependent and usually disabled. :disappointed_relieved:

Hope this cast some light.

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

mtozsu
Explorer | Level 4

Noted, thank you. 

I should have checked whether I could create a hardlink first -- it turns out I cannot on a Mac.

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

Hi @mtozsu,

You are welcome.

Just to note: In "very system dependent" I don't mean OS! First of all to be able you must have corresponding permissions. Regular user don't have. Next, as I already noted, hard link and soft link are very different things. Soft link is on top level of your entire file system structure, so can point to, almost, everywhere and there are no too much additional requirements. Hard link is, in fact, change in the FS, so corresponding support have to be! In this context such a "link"s could "point" to FS entries inside particular partition, link from inside don't know anything about other places (drives/partitions and so on). Typically any abstraction layer above the native FS make hard linking imposible. And many other details could have some effect, so very important is the entire setup details. Generally hard linking is not best solution. You can try directory binding or 'opposite sym link' (actual directory inside, pointer outside). :wink:

Hope this helps.

View solution in original post

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

auspugs
Explorer | Level 3

 suggestion, why dont you store everything in the dropbox folder, and then symbolic link from the location you want back to the DropBox folder?

 

That way the user experience doesnt change, it also is a good visual check on what you have backed up, because from windows explorer you will be able to see that each folder is a symbolic link and therefore the data is backed up automatiacally.

 

It is just a small change in setup, and you can have your data on a differnt hard drive.

 

If you use hard links, it must be on the same hard drive.

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

auspugs
Explorer | Level 3

Both Windows and *nix (Linux and Unix) supprot hard links.  In windows just go to powershell and install the module, you can hard link folders/directories easily.  The main requirement in windows is, that both the hardlink and the folder, is on the same hard drive.  Otherwise you need to use a Symbolic link.  However I have given the easiest solution below.  This change by Dropbox does not effect anything, other than how you set it up.  On the flip side, it adds secuirty and solves a lot of issues, because symbolic links are not easy to deal with in programming. 

 

Well done to drop box for making the hard decision to do what is best for the product, rather than doing a hack on program to avoid some push back. 

 

There should be no pushback however, because the fix is simple.

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

@auspugs wrote:

...  The main requirement in windows is, that both the hardlink and the folder, is on the same hard drive.  ...


Hi @auspugs,

Just one clarification! It's NOT enough "both the hardlink and the folder, is on the same hard drive"! They have to be on the same block unit (in most cases, this mean - same partition). If a hardlink have to be in one partition and target place is in other partition on the same drive, for example, such hardlink is impossible.

Re: Hardlinks in dropbox folder

auspugs
Explorer | Level 3

Learn something new everyday.  I do not use hard links much at all.  Thank you for the clarifications.

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