The objective of this guide is to help users understand what a symlink is, how it behaves with Insync, and how it's supported.
What are Symlinks?
A symlink (also known as symbolic link) is a special type of file that points to another file system object (target). Instead of containing actual data, it’s a reference to the actual file or target. The links appear as normal files or directories, and can be used in the same manner.
What are they used for?
The most common use for symlinks is creating multiple links for important files or folders without having to create duplicate copies. In other words, if you want easy access to some files or folders but do not want to move them from their current location, then symlinks are for you. With Insync symlink support, you can effectively “sync any folder” (or file) to Google Drive. A feature mostly used by power users, it preserves the current folder’s hierarchy and that solves a big problem.
How do symlinks behave when using Insync? How does Insync support symlinks?
When symlinks are created, you will notice that on Google Drive, it'll be named after the symlink itself and not after the target location (just in case the target and the symlink names are different). This helps retain the file organization on Google Drive. For example, let:
C:\Users\carme\Insync Main Folder (the Insync folder)
C:\Users\carme\Insync Main Folder\WorkPhotos (the symlink)
C:\Users\carme\Desktop\Photos at Insync (the target)
If A contains B, and B is pointing to C, then Insync would sync the contents of C to
My Drive/WorkPhotos on Google Drive web.
See screenshots for example.
Additionally, if you create another symlink pointing to the same target folder, Insync will not re-upload it on Google Drive. Insync simply ignores symlinks pointing to an existing synced folder.
Are there things we should look out for when using symlinks?
Since symlinks behave like normal files and folders, be careful when you need to make any changes. A use case would be deleting a file from the symlink folder (i.e. WorkPhotos). This action will delete the same file from the target (i.e. Photos at Insync), and vice versa.