Driving DropBox – Linking External Directories in Windows

dropboxI’ve been using Dropbox in it’s intended form for a while now - but recently, with the threat of a software rebuild of my company supplied laptop looming, I decided it was about time I had some of my other data synced via “The Cloud” (IT bloggers apparently get points every time they use the phrase “The Cloud” – ooh, 2 points in this article so far! 😉 )

After a little bit of searching, I discovered that no one has written a windows based guide for this process (okay, not one that was easy to find) so – here’s mine… (Google Juice – do your stuff!)

The Guide:

To get Dropbox to sync folders OUTSIDE of your [Drive:\ProgramPath]\My Dropbox\ directory, we need to use a symbolic link, something easily done in Linux*, but requiring a little more effort in Windows (though it is still a supported function).

  1. First up, lets grab the Windows Junction creator from here**
  2. Unzip the Junction.exe file and dropped it somewhere useful
  3. Open up a command window from Windows (Start, Run, CMD)
  4. Enter in the Junction command followed by the pointer link (your ‘fake’ directory path) then the  path to the directory you want linked into DropBox.

For me, the command looks a little like this:

D:\Robs Docs\My Dropbox>"D:\Program Files\junction.exe" -s "D:\Robs Docs\My Dropbox\Work-Firefox" "D:\Robs Docs\Rob-Firefox-Profile"

If the stars align and you’re wearing your lucky pants, you’ll see an output that looks like this:

Junction v1.05 - Windows junction creator and reparse point viewer
Copyright (C) 2000-2007 Mark Russinovich
Systems Internals - http://www.sysinternals.com
Created: D:\Robs Docs\My Dropbox\Work-Firefox
Targetted at: D:\Robs Docs\Rob-Firefox-Profile

That’s it – you’re done!

If you want to know how to move YOUR Firefox profile to a different location on your local machine like I have, check this link.

* In Linux, the command is:

ln -s /home/[MyUsername]/[OriginalDirectory] [Target]

Apparently, this command needs to be run FROM your DropBox directory, so be sure to cd /home/yourusername/Dropbox first!. Check this great article for more from a Linux HOWTO perspective. 

** You can also use the mklink command which has a slightly different syntax. If you’re using Windows XP (like most Corporates, still) you’ll need Junction as per my example.






One response to “Driving DropBox – Linking External Directories in Windows”

  1. Simon Gianoutsos Avatar

    Great post. I had been wondering how to do this with Dropbox but hadn’t got around to delving into it. Thanks.