Anyone who’s ever used such a service at least once knows how much convenience something like Dropbox can add to a user’s life. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it works practically everywhere on every device. Being able to synchronize your documents, music, photos, and more is a great use of Dropbox, but what would be even better is if we could synchronize our programs’ settings and associated data via Dropbox as well.
However, we can’t simply just drag and drop the folder with such data from its intended location to our Dropbox folder, so what can we do instead to synchronize Dropbox? One solution is to use Dropboxifier.
Dropboxifier is a tiny program that uses an idea that is more commonly known in the Unix and Linux world than in the Windows world – symbolic links. Symbolic links are similar to shortcuts, but they act like real files (or folders). This key difference is important because while Dropbox doesn’t follow the path of conventional shortcuts, it will be able to follow the path of symbolic links as it cannot tell the difference between real folders and symbolic links.
Dropbox will go into those folders and see the stuff you want it to synchronize, and it’ll do its job. The real location of that data is still, however, where your program’s files are. Genius, isn’t it?
Download & Installation
The program can be downloaded from this site here. It doesn’t require any installation process, so you’ll be ready to go by simply opening the program. Since all it does is set up symbolic links through a graphical interface that is easier to understand than the command line, the “no installation necessary” approach makes sense.
Setting It Up
Dropboxifier’s interface is rather simple, and there’s really only three text fields you need to worry about.
At the very top you’ll see a “Dropbox folder” location field where you can browse to your Dropbox folder (and hit Yes to the prompt that appears so Dropboxifier can keep track of what symbolic links it creates). The program will then use that path to create the symbolic links.
Over on the left, you’ll see a “Name” text field where you can give the link a name while will be the Dropbox folder’s name, and so it’s more easily identifiable within Dropboxifier and a “Source” input field where you can browse to the folder that contains the data you’d like to sync.
Once you’ve done all that, hit Dropboxify and it’ll instantly setup the symbolic link. To receive the synchronized data on another computer, simply repeat the process. Remember to keep the source path the same, so don’t use the Dropbox folder on the other computer as your source.
Removing a Link
To remove a Dropboxified folder, simply choose it from the list and hit “Undropboxify Selected” and it’ll break the symbolic link between the two folders. You can also choose to leave the “Delete Dropboxed Folder” so the folder in your Dropbox that corresponded to the symbolic link is also removed.
Dropboxifier adds even more convenience to your synchronization experience with a simple trick that is easily enabled through its interface. Despite its name, the program will work with any synchronization service and not just Dropbox, so users of SkyDrive, Google Drive, Ubuntu One, and more can all enjoy what this little program has to bring. It is technically still in beta according to its developers, but it has worked flawlessly for my own use.
What’s your favorite Dropbox (or other service) trick? Do you use Dropbox for anything besides synchronization of documents and settings? Let us know in the comments!