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Connected Folders on the Desktop App

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Welcome to the guide on Connected Folders, a feature that gives you the flexibility and power to sync your local files with the cloud effortlessly. Let’s demystify this tool and discuss some key scenarios where it can be incredibly beneficial.

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What are Connected Folders?

Benefits of Using Connected Folders

How to Use Connected Folders

Administrator Guide

What are Connected Folders?

In simple terms, Connected Folders are local folders on your computer that have been linked to a folder location on your cloud storage. Once linked, these folders will automatically sync, making your local files available in the cloud and vice versa. It is especially useful in situations where you cannot move a specific folder to Egnyte drive, but still would like to have them synced. This is true to folders like "Documents" or "Download" or some folders hardcoded or defined by your other applications as locations for data storage.

Benefits of Using Connected Folders

The benefits of Connected Folders are shown in specific scenarios:

Scenario 1: Access Frequently-Used Folders Remotely

What it does?: Link your commonly accessed local folders — like "Desktop", "Documents", or "Downloads" — to the cloud.

Why it’s useful?: This ensures that you or other authorized users can access these folders remotely, from any device, at any time.

Scenario 2: Backup Your Important Data

What it does?: Connect local folders that contain sensitive or important files to the cloud.

Why it’s useful?: Your data is not only backed up in the cloud but also kept synchronized. This offers an additional layer of security, protecting you against data loss.

Scenario 3: Keep Your Folders Synchronized Between Multiple Devices

What it does?: Connect your commonly accessed local folders on multiple devices.

Why it’s useful?: If you frequently work on two (or more) computers, whether it's Mac, Windows or both, you may want to have your "Documents" and "Downloads" in sync on all of them. It allows you to seamlessly switch between those devices.

Scenario 4: Working on Complex Projects Using Third-Party Applications

What it does?: Connect folders containing all project assets, to ensure seamless work.

Why it’s useful?: Some third party applications allow you to work on linked assets and files making very frequent and intensive work on them. Sometimes connected folders provide superior performance that equals working on local hard drive, while still having the benefit of having all the assets synced to the cloud.

How to Use Connected folders

Connecting a Folder

To use Connected folders feature, simply follow these steps:

  1. Right-click a folder on your local hard drive and select Connect to Egnyte... from the context menu. If you don’t see this option, contact your admin to see if this functionality is enabled for your domain (see Set Up Connected Folders via WebUI)

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_1.png
  2. Choose a folder in either Private or Shared directories or any of its subfolders, to which you want to connect and click Connect.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_3.png

    At this time selecting Shared space from interface is possible for Mac Desktop App Core only (version 0.8 or higher). For Windows it can be done when connecting using Command Line Interface - more info below.

  3. A new folder will be created directly under the one you have selected. It will be named the same way as your local folder and all files/folders inside will be synchronized.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_2.png

  4. You will see a progress of synchronization in your widget:

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_5.png

  5. You will also see a special badge on your local folder indicating, that folder is connected to the cloud.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_4.png

Connecting to an Existing Folder

You can connect to an existing folder in a cloud. It can be useful if you have previously created a connected folder, but needed to disconnect it, or you would like to have contents from two computers in sync. To do so, please follow these instructions:

  1. Make sure the local folder has the same name as a folder you want to connect to in cloud.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_7.png
    Desktop App_Connected Folder_6.png

  2. Right-click a folder on your local hard drive and select Connect to Egnyte... from the context menu.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_9.png

  3. Select a folder that is one level higher in the folder tree. In this example, if we want to connect to the “Downloads” folder, which is located in our user's Private folder, we need to select our user’s Private folder to do so.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_8.png

  4. You will see the information that folder already exists in Egnyte. You may choose to:
    • Keep both - in this case a distinct copy of the local folder will be created in Egnyte and only files from your currently selected local folder will be synced
    • Merge - You will merge contents of both folders. The content from your local drive that was not present in the cloud will be uploaded. The content from the cloud that was not present on your local drive will be downloaded. The content that overlaps will be synchronized based on the most recent version of the file.

Managing Connected folders

To review your connected folders, head to the Settings tab of the Desktop App. From there, you can easily choose to view them in either cloud location or local drive.

Desktop App_Connected Folder_2.png

Disconnecting a Folder

If you need to disconnect a folder, simply select the checkbox next to it and click the Disconnect selected button.
Desktop App_Connected Folder_5.png

You will be asked if you want to remove a folder and its content from the cloud or to keep it. If you choose to keep it in the cloud, the content will remain on Egnyte, but will no longer be synced.

Desktop App_Connected Folder_11.png

How the Files are Synchronized

When you successfully connect a local folder to the cloud, its contents will be synchronized in the background. What it means is that whenever you create a new file or edit and save an existing one, it will automatically upload to the folder in the cloud. Conversely, when a file is created or edited in the cloud (by using WebUI for instance), it will be downloaded to your local drive and the file will be updated to the most current version. 

Files in the connected folders are still located in your local file system. It means that there are no network calls to access them, they are available offline and are very useful to use with applications frequently accessing linked assets (like ArcGIS, Adobe InDesign, AutoCad etc.). All the content will be uploaded to the cloud, when the file operation is done.

Collaboration in Connected Folders

While you can synchronize files to the cloud using connected folders, their main location is still in your local filesystem, not in Egnyte drive itself. Therefore there are some limitations to collaboration capabilities in those folders:

  1. File Locks - there are no file locks in connected folders - if you open a file, there will be no lock created on it, so others can access and edit it at the same time. If two users save their progress, a conflict copy will be created and you will be able to resolve it manually.
  2. Microsoft Co-Edit - if you are using the MS Co-Edit functionality, it will not be available in connected folders

Administrator Guide

Here we cover some more advanced configuration options and how to turn this functionality on/off for your domain.

Set Up Connected Folders via WebUI

If the "Connect to Egnyte..." option is not visible in your context menu, make sure that it is enabled in your WebUI settings or request your administrator to enable it.

Desktop App_Connected Folder_13.png

How to Use Connected folders Using Command Line Interface

You can utilize Command Line interface in order to access more advanced options or to set up connected folders with mass deployment software.

Windows

To set up connected folders in Desktop App for Windows, open the Command Line tool and paste in the provided code after making the necessary changes.

Here's an example of setting up a connected folder connecting C:\Users\%username%\Desktop with a folder called "Desktop" in the user’s Private folder using -a to specify the local paths and -r to specify the cloud paths. In our example, the drive label is "Selkirk". If there is a space in your drive label, you'll need to encapsulate the label name in quotes:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Egnyte Connect\EgnyteClient.exe" -command connect_folder -l selkirk -a "C:\Users\%username%\Desktop" -r "/Private/::egnyte_username::/Desktop"

::egnyte_username:: can be used as a placeholder for the Egnyte username. This is useful when connecting a folder to a location inside the user’s Private folder.

Below is an example of disconnecting a folder using the -rm option:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Egnyte Connect\EgnyteClient.exe" -command connect_folder -l selkirk -rm "C:\Users\%username%\Desktop"

In Windows, %username% will resolve in the currently logged in users' space.

The Command Line tool in Windows will not confirm that the action was successful. Go to the Connected Folders tab in the widget to verify if a connected folder was added or removed successfully.

Mac Desktop App Core

To set up connected folders in Desktop App Core , open the Terminal and paste in the provided code after making the necessary changes. 

Here's an example of setting up connected folders to connect your "Desktop" and "Documents" folders to "Desktop" and "Documents" folders in your private folder. Replace "drive_label" in the two commands below with your drive label (typically your Egnyte domain name) and run them in the Mac terminal:

egcli connected-folders add --drive <drive> -lp “~/Desktop” -cp “/Private/::egnyte_username::/Desktop”

Arguments used during set-up of connected folder via CLI

  -d, --drive <drive>          Label or UUID associated with drive.

  -lp, --localPath <lp>       Local path for which to establish the connection.

  -cp, --cloudPath <cp>    Cloud path for which to establish the connection.

  -c, --child                         Add path as a child.

  -h, --help                         Show help information.

 

You can run egcli connected-folders —- help to find out more about possible options

Mac Desktop App 

Learn more about the Command Line interface tool for Mac here.

Here's an example of setting up connected folders to connect your "Desktop" and "Documents" folders to "Desktop" and "Documents" folders in your private folder. Replace "drive_label" in the two commands below with your drive label (typically your Egnyte domain name) and run them in the Mac terminal:

/Applications/Egnyte\ Connect.app/Contents/MacOS/EgnyteDriveCLI connected-folders add drive_label ~/Desktop /Private/::egnyte_username::/Desktop

Recommendations and Supported Configurations

  • Connected folders can be set up through Mac Finder/Windows File Explorer or from the command-line tool. Any user can set this up on their own, or Admins can set it up through mass deployment.
  • Only folders in internal hard drives or partitions should be used to set up connected folders. Folders in external hard drives, network shares, USBs, SD cards, or any other storage locations outside of internal hard drives are NOT supported.
  • The local folder path must not end with a backslash (e.g., "C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\local\").
  • If using connected folders to sync user's library folders ("Desktop", "Documents", "Downloads", etc.), we recommend connecting to a location within the user's Private folder in the cloud to ensure sufficient permissions exist to keep content in sync.
    • Multiple local folders can be connected to the same folder in the cloud; however, it is not recommended. 
  • If you are currently using Desktop Sync to redirect users' library folders to the cloud, we recommend uninstalling Desktop Sync before installing and setting up connected folders on the Desktop App. This will prevent any unintended conflicts in two different sync engines synchronizing the same content.
  • The automatic locking mechanism will not take effect when accessing content from the connected folder on the hard drive. However, automatic locking will still occur when accessing the same folder from inside the drive added by the Desktop App.
  • You can use extension filtering rules and permissions to control what is synchronized from connected folders.
  • There are absolutely no changes made to the existing file structure on the user's machine. Users don’t have to do anything different once a folder is designated as a connected folder. They work as normal, and the folders are automatically synced to Egnyte. If you move, rename, or delete a connected folder locally, the corresponding folder in the cloud is not deleted, but the link is broken.

    Deleting files or sub-folders inside the connected folder will delete the corresponding files or sub-folders in the cloud.

  • If you move, rename, or delete a connected folder in the cloud, the Desktop App will attempt to re-create the folder in the same location. If re-creating the folder is not possible (i.e., due to permissions), the link between the local folder and the cloud folder is broken, and content in the local folder will remain.
  • Connected folders are not deleted from the machine when a remote wipe is triggered.
  • You can still set up connected folders if the ability to sync content for offline access is turned off.
  • The supported maximum number of files is up to 500,000 files in all connected folders for each local user on each instance of the Desktop App. There is no limit to how many connected folders can be set up.

Learn more about Connected Folders by watching a Quick Tip on Egnyte University: Connected Folders.

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