Monday, April 23, 2012

How to Sync Folders to the new SkyDrive without moving them to the SkyDrive folder

imageSo the new SkyDrive is out today, you can read about the awesome new features here (on the Building Windows 8 blog).  The SkyDrive team really amped up their battle with DropBox in this new version.  With Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone support, along with MAC and PC support, it really is pretty cool, and now completely accessible.  Also with HTML5 support, it’s super fast on the PC and MAC for browsers that hardware accelerate HTML5 based graphics.

However, I will miss Mesh.  I wasn’t asked to un-install it, as part of the upgrade, but I can see it coming (no I have no details here, speculation only)

Mesh had this ability to sync *any* folder to the cloud, which is now gone from this version of SkyDrive.  Apparently all the DropBox fans have forced the hand on this one.  Fortunately, on Windows (and I’m sure this works on a MAC too, but I can’t test it, any mac fans post how to do it in the comments and I’ll add it to the post) you can create links to folders to have things sync to your SkyDrive that aren’t actually in your SkyDrive folder!

To do this you’ll need to bust out the ol’ Command prompt, in Administrator mode, because a symbolic link just isn’t enough for SkyDrive to pick it up, you need a hard link.

  1. Click Start, and type in CMD, right-click on the cmd.exe and choose Run as Administrator
  2. Change to your SkyDrive folder, mine is c:\users\<username>\skydrive (so cd /d c:\users\seanda\skydrive)
  3. Next we’re going to make a link to a directory that lives in My Documents Folder, I’m going to do that with this command to sync my “tools” directory: mklink /j “Tools” “c:\users\seanda\documents\tools”.  You’ll get a line that says "Junction created for Tools <==> c:\users\seanda\documents\tools.

You’ll notice a new tools directory being created, and it looks exactly the same as the other directory (contents and all, you didn’t need to copy anything in).  Now you can simply drop stuff in your c:\users\seanda\documents\tools directory, and SkyDrive will pick it up.  (You might need to restart the SkyDrive system tray app for it to pick this directory up, although I didn’t.)

Additionally, if you’re trying to get this to sync between two computers, you’ll have to set up the Junction before SkyDrive can drop files in there (meaning create the folder locations manually with the junction in place.  I only use the one computer, so I didn’t test this.


Kevin S said...

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the Mac OS version supports symlinks (created with ln -s )

Kevin S said...

Upon further investigation-- It looks like SkyDrive can sync INTO symlinked folders... it just won't read the contents of them, and sync them back.

Tested by adding a symlink, then creating a folder with the same name using the web interface. Files uploaded into this folder appear in the symlinked folder, but are no longer tracked (They stay visible in the web interface even after being deleted on the computer)

pcua said...

Still way inferior to mesh - you can't hardlink across volumes! Syncind d: folders (ie separating data from os & apps) was the most common usage scenario of mesh's sync any folder capabilty. Maybe if you only use win8 in all computers and "win8 reboot" works ok, the feature won't be missed. A big if.

cell phones for cash said...

That's really helpful. Better than copying folders which takes time especially for huge files.

Anonymous said...

File symlinks may not work but directory symlinks (symlinkd) do work. You can create a symlinkd using "mklink /d".

For the most part, a symlinkd is the same as a junction. A symlinkd can point to remote file systems though.

Helmer said... can let SkyDrive sync ANY folder on your harddrive -->

at the screen 'Introducing your SkyDrive folder' you can change the SkyDrive folder...

digital certificates said...

Thanks for these instructions ! I really appreciated the read and shall be dropping by from time to time now.