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Use symbolic links in a Dropbox folder
Authored by: frank_martin on Aug 17, '12 12:41:40PM
...it's actually generally better to put the actual data in the Dropbox folder in the first place, and put sym links in the original locations outside the Dropbox folder.
Can I "merge" Desktop folders on two Macs this way? Or two Documents folders? In other words, in the Dropbox folder, create a folder called "Dropbox Desktop" and put all the data from both Desktop folders on the Macs in the Dropbox Desktop folder, then replace the Desktop folders in the home directories with symlinks named "Desktop" pointing to "Dropbox Desktop" in the Dropbox folder?

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Use symbolic links in a Dropbox folder
Authored by: frank_martin on Aug 17, '12 01:46:23PM

I tried this, and it worked. Both computers running 10.6.8. On one computer, the OS wouldn't let me move the original Desktop folder to the trash or out of the home folder, which I needed to do to replace it with the symlink, so I logged in as root to get that done. Upon logging back in as a the regular user, Viola! I have the same desktop on both computers. I am stunned.

The Finder window sidebar shows the name of the folder in Dropbox ("Dropbox Desktop",) not the name of the symlink ("Desktop"). That is probably a good thing, to remind me of the setup. But if I changed the Dropbox folder name to desktop, I could have a "transparent" set up.

The Desktop still works as expected of Dropbox isn't running, but of course sync doesn't take place.

Aliases placed on one desktop appear on the other desktop, but don't work.

I'd recommend a solid backup of everything before attempting this.

I have senior clients with multiple homes who may like this setup. They cannot really deal with any complexity at all: this gives them the illusion of having single desktop appear on multiple computers.



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