Symlinks and [Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive] on Windows 10

Obligatory forward: symlinks are Symbolic Links. That’s not important. What is important is that they are functional shortcuts to files/folders that (to your OS or App) are indistinguishable from the real thing. This means you can have the file in one directory (such as your cloud-synced OneDrive, Dropbox, or OneDrive directory) and link it back out into a program that needs a little bit of cloud in its life.

The possibilities here are endless (well… not actually endless – they’re entirely limited to cloud-syncing files that you use on more than one computer).

The process generally goes as follows:

  1. Notice that you are maintaining (settings, saved data, etc) on two or more computers that have access to your [Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive] account.
  2. Decide to do something about it.
  3. Locate the file or folder in question on your computer.
  4. Copy the file or folder to an aptly-named folder in your [Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive].
  5. Delete the originals (maybe back them up first unless you’re some sort of terrifying computer-anarchist).
  6. Link the file or folder from your [Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive] back into the original folder.
  7. Enjoy your cloud-synced whatever.

Cloud-Sync your FileZilla sites/credentials

Link sitemanager.xml from [Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive] to FileZilla’s folder.


Cloud Sync your Saved Games from RetroArch

I link roms (the games themselves), saves (memory cards), states (state captures), system (bios images) and thumbnails (compressed versions of thumbnails). This way I can play games on one machine; save; and pick up on another without it being a hassle.


Tools – Link Shell Extension

Symlinks are generally considered to require command-line know-how, but there is a Shell Extension that makes the process a “pick and right-click” operation. Link Shell Extension adds two right-click-accessible commands to your File Explorer:

Right-click on your source file or folder (which is now in your [Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive]) and select “Pick Link Source”.

Right-click inside the destination folder and click “Drop Symbolic Link” (sometimes this is “Drop As > Symbolic Link” depending on the context).

(If you do use Link Shell Extension, please consider donating to the authors.)