Dropbox is a useful service that proves its worth time and time again. But to sync your data to other computers and mobile devices, you need to get that data into the default Dropbox folder in the first place, and sometimes that can prove problematic. Some data--such as browser profiles (Firefox), games points and profiles, Outlook data files, and password manager files (such as KeePass)-- can't be moved. For this, you will need Dropbox Folder Sync.
Dropbox Folder Sync is a small, free app that integrates itself into your Explorer right-click menu, and allows you to create what is called a "symbolic link." What this means is that a folder on your computer can be connected to your Dropbox account, and nothing needs to be moved at all. In fact, your computer won't even be aware that there is a link in the first place. The symbolic link will create a clone folder in your Dropbox account and when something changes in the original folder, the clone folder in Dropbox will update instantly.
After installing the software, all you have to do is find the folder you want to clone and right-click on it. You will see two new options, sync with Dropbox and unsync with Dropbox. Choose the first one, and a Windows shortcut arrow will appear on the folder. A copy of the folder will also now appear inside your Dropbox account. It goes without saying that you need to check beforehand if you have enough space in your Dropbox account to handle the extra files. If not, you may need to consider upgrading--for a fee.
Now every time you drop something into the original folder, or when an existing file changes in any way, that change will instantly be reflected in the cloned folder in Dropbox. And nothing needs to be moved from the original installation files, which means nothing will inconveniently break.
If you decide that you no longer want the original folder linked to Dropbox, just right-click on it again and choose "unsync with Dropbox". The cloned folder will be deleted in Dropbox and the original folder will remain as it was.
The developer says that a new version is in the pipeline with small improvements such as syncing to an already existing folder in your Dropbox folder. Currently you are not allowed to specify where the cloned folder goes, which can lead to a messy Dropbox folder. Another planned feature is consolidating the right-click menu options into a single sub-menu. The app is constantly being refined and tweaked and the developers seem very responsive on their website with regards to feedback, feature requests, and potential bug reports.
If you are a Dropbox user and you want to start syncing data that you normally wouldn't be able to move into Dropbox, then give Dropbox Folder Sync a try.
Note: The Download button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.
This story, "Synchronize any Windows folder on your PC with Dropbox, thanks to Dropbox Folder Sync" was originally published by PCWorld.
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