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Mac - delete symlinks - but still back up desktop, documents, Lightroom photos

Explorer | Level 4

I currently have symlinks to my desktop, downloads, documents and Lightroom photos folders. Now that symlinks are no longer working I am trying to figure out a solution to backing these up into Dropbox. I've searched the forums and web but haven't found out the precise steps to how I solve this problem.

Do I change my hard drive file structure? Do I create a new folder for these items in dropbox and copy the files over? Or do I just drag those folders into my dropbox folder? How do I delete the symlinks without causing any data issues?

I don't have much hard drive space left on my computer - 89 gig -  so I don't want to be duplicating these folders. Appreciate any help. Thanks. 

5 Replies 5
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Re: Mac - delete symlinks - but still back up desktop, documents, Lightroom photos

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hey there @lkbside

Welcome to the Dropbox Community! I'd be more than happy to help. 

If you want to have content saved into your Dropbox account but you don't have the space locally on your computer, there is a way. 

The first is to move/copy each folder or subfolder individually into your Dropbox folder or desktop app, and selectively sync it when it's done syncing. That way, your content is in your Dropbox account but not stored locally on your hard drive unless you choose to sync it again. 

If you have a Plus, Professional, or Business subscription though, you have an additional option: to Smart Sync it. 

More specifically, when you finish moving/copying a folder into your Dropbox account and it completes syncing, you can choose to make it online-only, which converts a file to taking up minimal amounts of space on your hard drive. 

I hope this helped, but let me know if you have any follow up questions!


Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Mac - delete symlinks - but still back up desktop, documents, Lightroom photos

Explorer | Level 4

Thanks for the quick reply - I do want the files stored on my computer. I also want them available in Dropbox so I have access to them when I am away for my computer, via my iPad etc.

What I am looking for is a solution to:

1) eliminate the symlinks

2) back up those folders into Dropbox as I make changes to the files - that is what I could accomplish with the symlinks.

as asked above:

  • Do I change my hard drive file structure?
  • Do I create a new folder for these items in dropbox and copy the files over?
  • Or do I just drag those folders into my dropbox folder?
  • How do I delete the symlinks without causing any data issues?

 

 

Highlighted

Re: Mac - delete symlinks - but still back up desktop, documents, Lightroom photos

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Thanks for writing back to me, @lkbside

You can find and remove symlinks by following the steps outlined here (step 7)

From there, whether you copy or move the folders into the path that they previously were in, don't worry, the result will be the same and it won't make a difference. 

However, please bear in mind that the performance of the desktop app can decline if you have more than 300,000 files synced to your computer. You can check out more info on this here

Let me know how it goes!


Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
Still stuck? Ask me a question!
Tips & Tricks Find new ways to stay in flow or share your tips on how you work smarter with Dropbox.

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Re: Mac - delete symlinks - but still back up desktop, documents, Lightroom photos

Explorer | Level 4

Thanks again Lusil - I have read the supporting info on the dropbox site, its just not clear to me what I should do  - I can find the symlinks, I'm just unsure of the steps to take to remove them.

 

terminal rcommand result:

Leslies-iMac-2:~ lkbside$ find ~/Dropbox -type l -exec ls -lah {} \;

lrwxr-xr-x@ 1 lkbside  staff    22B Sep 22  2015 /Users/lkbside/Dropbox/Desktop -> /Users/lkbside/Desktop

lrwxr-xr-x@ 1 lkbside  staff    24B Jan  5  2013 /Users/lkbside/Dropbox/Documents symlink -> /Users/lkbside/Documents

lrwxr-xr-x@ 1 lkbside  staff    24B Sep 22  2015 /Users/lkbside/Dropbox/Downloads -> /Users/lkbside/Downloads

lrwxr-xr-x@ 1 lkbside  staff    40B Aug 19  2017 /Users/lkbside/Dropbox/Lightroom Photos -> /Users/lkbside/Pictures/Lightroom Photos

Do I remove the symlinks first - and specifically how do I do that without any data loss on my HD?

 

then  - again as specifically asked above:

 

  • Do I change my hard drive file structure?

ie:

users-lkbside-Dropbox-Documents

users-lkbside-Dropbox-Desktop

users-lkbside-Dropbox-Downloads

users-lkbside-Dropbox-Lightroom Photos

and leave the rest of the file structure as is, since these are the only folders I want to back up to dropbox, not my whole hard drive?

or

  • Do I create a new folder for these items in dropbox and copy the files over?

or

  • do I just drag those folders into my dropbox folder?

Would really appreciate answers to my specific questions. 

 

Thanks!

 

Highlighted

Re: Mac - delete symlinks - but still back up desktop, documents, Lightroom photos

Super User II
Super User II

@lkbside wrote:

I'm just unsure of the steps to take to remove them.


 


Do I change my hard drive file structure?

Do I create a new folder for these items in dropbox and copy the files over?

do I just drag those folders into my dropbox folder?


The intent of Dropbox is that your files are stored in the local Dropbox folder so that any changes made to them are immediately synced to your account and other linked devices. It was never meant to sync files or folders from outside the Dropbox folder, and Dropbox doesn't have a solution for doing so. It has always been suggested that you move your files to the Dropbox folder and access them from there directly.

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