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May a Windows Junction TO a Dropbox folder interfere in some way with folder syncing?

meo_r New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Hi! I experienced a such weird problem, on a very specific case, I try to explain it:

  • I have a machine (call it Machine 1) where I created a dropbox folder;
  • I created a new machine (Machine 2), where I needed to move that previous folder: so I synced dropbox here on Machine 2 with the same account and obtained the result
  • Now I didn't need that folder anymore on Machine 1, so I used selective sync to unsync the folder on Machine 1 and saving space, but maintained dropbox active on Machine 1 for other purposes
  • On Machine 2 I continued populating that folder and also created a junction (for specific addressing purposes) to a subfolder of the shared folder we're speaking about, on the C:\ root of Machine 2 hard drive
  • At a certain point, dropbox app crashed on Machine 2 and I didn't noticed, so syncing interrupted at that point
  • Now, after a while, I had to put back that folder on Machine 1: I put back selective sync on for that folder and it downloaded again from dropbox; I also created the same junction to that subfolder, for recreating on Machine 1 hard drive the same behaviour I had in Machine 2
  • At this point I noticed that not all files where synced: this was beacuse they were created some folders into the subfolder with the external junction and some files into another subfolder of the shared folder on Machine 2, after dropbox stopped to sync on that machine
  • So I restarted dropbox app on Machine 2, thinking this could update the synced folder on Machine 1 too
  • The behaviour was unexpectedly quite weird: the files into the not-external-linked subfolder where normally synced, but the new folders created into the external-linked subfolder weren't: instead, that subfolder on Machine 2 was restored as in the online version, so new folders created on Machine 2 were deleted with no possibility of restoring them from dropbox web 

I have to underline again that the Windows Junctions I mentioned are NOT into dropbox, but are on the C:\ root of the drives of machines, pointing TO that specific subfolder of that specific Dropbox Shared folder.

Don't know if the use of this jucntion might influenced the dropbox behaviour, I made this hypothesis only beacause the behaviour for the other subfolder was normal instead.

Is there something I'm missing about this situation?

Thanks for the support!

2 Replies 2

Re: May a Windows Junction TO a Dropbox folder interfere in some way with folder syncing?


Hi @meo_r, I'm sorry to hear that happened!

From what you described, any junctions or symlinks that are created externally and point to a file within the Dropbox folder shouldn't affect syncing.

Since the actual file is located within Dropbox, it's able to correctly access and sync the file. In this case, I don't think that the junctions are the cause of what happened.

For some reason, the online version was detected as the most recent and so it was synced down locally to your device. I'm afraid you're correct that you wouldn't be able to restore the data from the Dropbox version history since it didn't sync with the server.

Having said that, you might be able to find some third-party apps that can assist you with recovering the overwritten data from your OS.

Otherwise, I can suggest seeing if the app used to create the data has a record of the changes you made, as you may be able to restore the files from there.

Sorry that I can't be of much help with this, but please don't hesitate to give me a nudge if you have any other questions.

I hope this helps at least to some extent!

Community Moderator @ Dropbox

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Re: May a Windows Junction TO a Dropbox folder interfere in some way with folder syncing?

meo_r New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Hi @Daphne, thanks so much for this very fast reply!

First of all, I want to reassure you about the file loss: I had a backup utility active on the Machine 2 and I had no problems to restore the files  

So the problem now is to understand if the problem might happen again and what causes the problem.

The only hypothesis I can make is that the command mklink on Machine 1 changed the attributes of the subfolder, this was synced to dropbox and when I restarted Dropbox on Machine 2, it considered the whole subfolder as outdated and replaced the whole folder without making a single-file-match, which I think was the expected behaviour, isn't it?

Is this behaviour (a match on the full folder) possible on dropbox, or something different happened in your opinion?

Thanks a lot again!


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