Dropbox is a great service at a decent price, it’s limited however by the fact that it only synchronises files stored inside your ‘Dropbox’ folder. To get around this limitation on Windows 7 here’s what you need to do (as with anything like this, always backup everything to an external drive first, usual disclaimers apply, follow these instructions at your own risk).
- Inside your Dropbox folder, create folders with the same name as the ones you already have on your hard disk, in my case “Music”, “Documents” and “Pictures”.
- Move all your data from the existing folders into your Dropbox folder (they should start uploading to Dropbox) – Yes I said move, so make sure you backed.
- Delete the original folders (which will now be empty as you moved everything into your Dropbox)
- For each folder, create a symbolic link from your original location to the new one inside your Dropbox by running mklink from an administrative command prompt.
mklink /D “C:UsersMarcDocuments” “C:UsersMarcDropboxDocuments”
- That’s it! When you setup a new PC, you will have to start from step 4 and all your documents, pictures and music will just appear.
It will also work the other way round, creating a link from inside the Dropbox folder to your existing documents folder, however Dropbox only recognises changes when it gets restarted which defeats the point if you’re using it as a backup service and want to make use of it’s ‘Previous Versions’ feature.
Hope this might be of use to someone, and I hope Dropbox make doing this easier like Windows Live Mesh. Happy syncing!