I have a folder, that I linked with one in Dropbox using: http://lifehacker.com/5154698/sync-files-and-folders-outside-your-my-dropbox-folder and was just wondering if that was situated inside a shared folder, would the changes someone else made in the linked folder also automatically get made to the folder on my computer, or would mine overwrite it?

And also, if the other person could link that folder on their computer, whilst mine remained linked, would that be okay, and work properly, so that we would both have the latest files/folders/etc. automatically?

1 Answer 1


Most file systems know 2 types of linked files: Hard linked files and soft linked files (more here on SO and here on linuxgazette) By default, OS X and Windows use soft links (alias, symbolic links). Both types of links make it possible to acces the same folder from different locations.

Dropbox will treat each folder (original or linked) as an original folder on your system, as if it is the only folder with that content. Dropbox will not know if a folder is a symbolic link or not.

Modifications to the content of a linked folder will change the contents of that original folder. As I said, dropbox will treat that folder as any original 'normal' folder, so changing the content within dropbox will change the original.

In short. On each system there is only 1 original folder. You can create as many links as you like, the content of that folder only lives once on your system. Altering the content on any location (e.g. dropbox) will change the content of that original folder.

  • I tried to create two symbolic links on two different computers, but the second gave ln: 'file location': File exists Sep 15, 2014 at 20:19
  • Well, what do you think "'file location': File exists" means? Try an ls and you see you have already made that link. For linking in Linux you need askubuntu.com. In short, you need to remove your previous link and create a link like ln -s /from/this/directory /in/this/directory/. Note the slashes and the ln -s (-s for symbolic). On OS X, an alias is sufficient. No need for ls -s. Sep 16, 2014 at 8:23
  • So, how would two different computers, both link a folder to a Dropbox folder, so it would sync both automatically? Sorry if I posted this in the wrong place. Sep 17, 2014 at 19:19
  • OK. Your original folder lives in Dropbox. You have a symlink 'A' to that original folder on computer 1. You also have a symlink 'B' to that original folder on computer 2. When you open 'A', you open your dropbox folder. The same is true for 'B'. So if you add something to 'A', it is added to the original dropbox folder, and therefor also added to 'B'. Just try it and you'll see that it works. Read: lifehacker.com/5154698/… Sep 18, 2014 at 13:26
  • I just learned that an alias does NOT work. You need an ln -s. Sep 18, 2014 at 13:27

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