As of today, I have cloud storage accounts on Amazon Drive, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, iCloud Drive and Dropbox. I mostly use Dropbox overall, but I also use Amazon Drive on Kindle Fire, OneDrive on Windows 10 and Google Drive for my photos and videos. One problem I've always encountered is that I want to sync my folders with these services, but I don't like the way I have to copy or move all the files into special-containing folders. of them.
Instead, I want a way to keep my folders in My Documents or wherever I have them and still synchronize them with cloud services. I have learned that the best way to do this is to use symbolic links in Windows. A symbolic link is like creating a shortcut to a directory, but it is more permanent and acts as a separate directory, although it is not a directory.
In this article, I will show you the steps to create symbolic links so you can synchronize any folder on your computer with cloud services without moving it. Note that Google has a separate program called Backup and sync Lets you choose any folder on your computer to back up to Google Drive, I'll explain below.
Sync folders with Dropbox and OneDrive
Before I go into the steps for OneDrive, I want to mention that they now have an option called Auto save allows you to move the contents of your Desktop, My Documents and Pictures folders to OneDrive without having to do anything on your end. Basically, they point local folders to OneDrive folders to make it seamless.
However, it is only for those three directories. If you have a folder saved somewhere else, you'll need to move it to the OneDrive folder or create a symbolic link. To do this for Dropbox or OneDrive, I created an example to guide you through the process. As you can see below, I have my OneDrive folder on the left and a folder named Check OneDrive Inside C: Test.
So I want to sync the OneDrive Test folder to my OneDrive account folder without moving it. To do this, you must open an advanced command prompt and type the following command:
mklink /J "C:UsersAseemOneDrivePersonal" "C:TestOneDrive Test"
So let me explain what we are doing here. We are creating a symbolic link (symlink) using mklink command. There must be two parameters: the first is the location of the symbolic link you want to create and the second is the source directory. As you can see, I don't need to create Personal folder in the OneDrive folder, the mklink command will do it for me. Alternatively, you can use any name you want for the directory.
So I'm telling Windows to create a symbolic linked folder in the OneDrive folder called Personal that actually points to C: Check Check OneDrive folder. After the link is created, you will see the Personal folder inside the OneDrive folder:
If you open that folder, the path will show as if it's stored in OneDrive Personal, when it's actually stored in the Check folder. So now you can add files to the directory from either location and both will have the same content as it is actually a directory rather than two. That's it!
Both OneDrive and Dropbox support symbolic link folders and will sync everything to the cloud as shown below:
Sync folders with Google Drive
For Google Drive, start by downloading the Backup and Sync software mentioned above. When you start the installation, you will get the following screen for step 2:
By default, it will select Desktop, Documents and Photos, but you can click Choose a directory and choose any folder you want. You can also click Change link to back up only photos and videos or add file extensions you don't want to sync.
In step 3, choose which folders you want to synchronize with your local PC. What I usually do is just deselect Sync my drive with this computer, because I only use it as a backup for PC.
So there you have it! You can now sync any folder on your computer with your cloud service. Either you will have to create a symbolic link or there may be a feature under which you can choose the folders you want to synchronize. If you have any questions or issues, post a comment here and I'll try to help. Enjoy!
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