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Symlink alternatives

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

I just got the email from Dropbox saying they are no longer supporting symlinks. I’m really disappointed by this. Dropbox is actually pretty useless without them - and is no different from many of the other online storage services. I really hope they reconsider this.

Does anyone know if there is another way to get Dropbox to automatically backup files outside the Dropbox directory without using symlinks?

Otherwise I’m going to have to move to another provider, which I really don’t want to do as I’ve been a Dropbox fan for so long. Thanks so much for any suggestions.

15 Replies 15
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Re: Symlink alternatives

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @Wallawalla47, welcome to the Community! 

Thank you for sharing your feedback on this with us. 

Unfortunately there is not much I can offer here as a workaround on our end, given the behaviour of symlinks can be quite unpredictable and lead to syncing issues. 

We would advise moving as much of your content as possible into your Dropbox folder, and you can use Smart Sync to save space on your device if needed. 

In the meantime, multiple users have come together in the Community to share their thoughts and suggestions on this, and so you may find this article here useful.

Let me know if I can help with anything else.

Thanks!

 

 


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


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Re: Symlink alternatives

Helpful | Level 6

Removing the (whatever, officially non-existent) support for symlinks is a horribly bad decision. The suggested "solution" to move everything into the Dropbox folder and use symlinks in the actual file structure on the hard drive shows arrogance and breaks lots of user's workflows (and takes hours, by the way). Dropbox should not dictate our file structure outside of the Dropbox folder just because some of that we want to have stored online. If some users had issues with symlinks, those issues should either be fixed, or those users should be reminded they're using an unsupported feature. Removing this feature for everybody else because some people have issues, is (sorry, but yeah) incredibly arrogant and annoying. We're all wasting hours trying to fix the problems caused by Dropbox, and likely won't be truly able to. And no, never having had official support for symlinks is not a reason to justify removing the feature.

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Re: Symlink alternatives

Explorer | Level 4

It is really wonderful the way the E-mail about this touts it as in "improvement" - really???? I am getting gladder by the day that I dropped my paid Dropbox (having given them more than $1000). 

Bad support, shambolic uncaring response to bug reports, strange pricing strategies especially for folk who only want 500-1000GB or so, and then very damaging "improvements".  Boy oh boy. 

 

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Re: Symlink alternatives

Helpful | Level 6

@Andrew555, any chance you're a Linux user and know of a Linux application syncing with Google Drive (or other) and honoring symlinks? I've used Dropbox because there's no Google Drive client for Linux, but after taking a look for a few hours at making the necessary changes, I see I'm just breaking way too many other things while trying to follow Dropbox' suggested "solution".

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Re: Symlink alternatives

Super Collaborator | Level 20
If you are looking for Linux solution, give a try to "mount --bind" or equivalent line at the end of "fstab". 😉 Only inconvenience is need overcome FS restrictions set by Dropbox (binding involves FS layer).
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Re: Symlink alternatives

Explorer | Level 4
I am extremely disappointed by this decision to remove symlinks. They did not state any reason why they suddenly removed them. My dropbox has 2TB, I have it on a 1TB SSD and also on another 1.5TB old HDD. So how am i supposed to utilize all that storage that I Paid?? on a related topic, does One Drive or Google Drive support symlinks?
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Re: Symlink alternatives

Helpful | Level 6
Yeah, so this was the nail in the coffin. I tried to see the good in the changes DropBox kept making but I’m out. All I used it for was to keep a cloud sync of my desktop. So, now that that is out, so am I.
Just posting here in case anyone posts alternatives. Just here to follow along.
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Re: Symlink alternatives

Helpful | Level 6

@Здравко wrote:
If you are looking for Linux solution, give a try to "mount --bind" or equivalent line at the end of "fstab". 😉 Only inconvenience is need overcome FS restrictions set by Dropbox (binding involves FS layer).

Excellent!!! Спасибо большое! It seems to work like a charm!
Well, my symlinks work as well still, so I guess I have to wait until they fail to actually check if the binding is a good solution

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Re: Symlink alternatives

Helpful | Level 6

Replying to CCal, I believe that Google Drive allows you to specify any collection of folders on your Mac/PC as connected, so it's true selective sync, not this single-folder nonsense. 

My observation with Dropbox is they don't really want you to max out your storage. It's not meant to be a true backup solution, just a "some files, important files" solution. And now they are monetizing their near-monopoly position of being the sync partner of choice for many app developers. 

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