For this step-by-step, I'll use the Documents folder as an example. Before you get started, make a backup. You could screw this up, and it would be ugly. It's important you pay attention to this: this step should happen only on your first computer. Updated: If you're working on a DIY project of your own, this comprehensive guide to tech projects is a good place to start.
Read More. Close all your applications. It's probably best to reboot your Mac and do this right after reboot, taking care that any of your launch-on-boot applications aren't ones that open documents in the folders you're working with. Copy your Documents folder to your Dropbox folder.
At this point, you should have all your files in both folders. Keep in mind you'll be duplicating files, so make sure you have enough storage space on your Mac before you do it. Double-check that you did a backup. Now, check again. Carefully recall the process you took to make a backup so you're sure you made a backup. You did make a backup, didn't you? The sudo command is "superuser do" which elevates your access level to root, the -r option removes the contents of the directory recursively in other words, all folders underneath. The -f option forces files to be removed without prompting.
Next, with Terminal still open, you'll want to create a symlink roughly like an alias that points any requests for Documents in your user folder to the Documents folder in Dropbox. Here's the command for that:. You can probably do this with your current access level, but if you get a failure error, put sudo in front of the above command line.
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Here's what's happening:. The ln command tells the Mac to link a file. The -s option means create a symbolic link. The symbolic link is considered a "soft link" in that it links using the named path. Hard links in POSIX operating systems use actual physical file locations and tend to be less forgiving of system changes.
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The way I made this work across all three computers was I did the above process on one machine first my desktop iMac. I waited until all the files moved to the Dropbox folder had propagated to the cloud by making sure all the little folder indicators were green. One thing I didn't point out earlier helps justify using Dropbox in this scenario.
Dropbox is smart enough to sync files across a LAN when they're on the same subnet, so if you work on a monster video file on one machine, it doesn't have to go all the way to the cloud to get to a machine across the room.
Top 7 best tools for Mac synchronization (updated in )
It will sync to the cloud, but local machines have access to the files much faster. In any case though, after moving the first folder on the first machine to Dropbox, it's much safer just to give it some time to settle. I then waited a little more time and then checked my two other machines. I waited until both machines had received their copies of the iMac's shared Documents folder in their Dropbox folders. It's also important to backup those machines as well. Before you delete and link on your other machines, it's important to take a moment and think things through.
Using the Documents folder as an example, you may have files in your home Documents folder that were not in the Documents folder of the initiating machine. At this point, it's very, very important to compare your home Documents folder and the others you'll eventually set up with the Dropbox Documents folder and move anything from your home documents folder into your Dropbox folder that you'll want to preserve.
Free and cheap personal and small business cloud storage is everywhere. Here's how to decide which one is right for you. Remember, you're only going to have one Documents folder from now on, so you want to move all those straggler files and folders into the one master folder, which is in your Dropbox. Once you've done this necessary bit of housekeeping, use the rm command shown above to delete your home folder's Documents file.
Make sure to hand check your folders for each machine and each folder you're adding to the sync set. This extra bit of attention will prevent tears later on. Hope that helps! My desktop folder is now called desktop.
Hey there. You can undo in very much the same way you did it. You will no longer have any files on your desktop. Has this changed in a later version of Mac OS? Worked fine for me in the beginnig. Then, suddently my Desktop went blank without any files. Any help? Hey Philip, is it possible that your DropBox files moved? This worked for me immediately, but upon restarting the computer, the desktop reverted back to normal no longer functioned as a symlink pointing into the corresponding desktop folder in my dropbox folder.
How to Sync MAC Desktop & Documents with Dropbox Realtime?
If you have access to this feature, check that Dropbox is installed with admin privileges on each computer where the feature will be used. However, you can only do this before you enable Smart Sync. Depending on the policies at your company, your team members may be able to install Dropbox with admin privileges on their own.
If not, they may need the assistance of your IT team. Keychain is a password management system for Apple's macOS.