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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

Recommendations and Supported Configurations

What are Connected Folders?

In simple terms, Connected Folders are local folders on a computer that have been linked to a folder location on your cloud storage. Once linked, these folders will automatically sync, making local files available in the cloud and vice versa. This functionality is particularly useful when certain folders cannot be moved to Egnyte drive but still need to be synced, such as "Documents," "Download," or folders predefined by other applications for data storage.

 

Benefits of Using Connected Folders

The real power of Connected Folders becomes evident 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 the user or any 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?: Data is not only backed up in the cloud but also synchronized, adding an extra layer of security and protection against data loss.

Scenario 3: Keep Your Folders Synchronized Between Multiple Devices

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

Why it’s useful?: For those who frequently work on multiple computers, whether Mac, Windows, or both, having Documents and Downloads folders synchronized across all devices allows for seamless switching between them.

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 working on linked assets and files making very frequent and intensive work on them.  In these cases, Connected Folders can offer performance comparable to working on a local hard drive while still ensuring all assets are synced to the cloud.

Example: Adobe Indesign.

 

How to Use Connected Folders

Connecting a Folder

To use the Connected Folders feature, simply follow these steps:

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

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_1.png
  2. Choose a folder from either the Private or Shared directories, or any of its subfolders and click Connect.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_3.png
  3. A new folder will be created under the selected folder, named after the local folder. All files and subfolders within it will be synchronized.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_2.png

  4. The connected folders tab in the Desktop App UI will display the synchronization progress.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_5.png

  5. A special badge will appear on the local folder, indicating its connection to the cloud.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_4.png

Connecting to an Existing Folder

Connecting to an existing cloud folder is possible and can be useful if a Connected folder was previously disconnected or if syncing contents from two computers is needed. Follow these steps for instructions:

  1. Ensure the local folder has the same name as the folder you want to connect to in the cloud.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_7.png
    Desktop App_Connected Folder_6.png

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

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_9.png

  3. Choose a folder that is one level higher in the folder hierarchy. For instance, if the goal is to connect to the “Downloads” folder located within the user’s Private folder, select the user’s Private folder.

    Desktop App_Connected Folder_8.png
  4. A message will be displayed that the Folder already exists in Egnyte. Users may choose to:
    • Keep both: This option creates a distinct copy of the local folder in Egnyte, syncing only the files from the currently selected local folder.
    • Merge: This option merges the contents of both folders. Files from the local drive that are not in the cloud are uploaded, and files from the cloud that are not on the local drive are downloaded. Overlapping content is synchronized based on the most recent version of the file.

 

Managing Connected folders

Connected folders can be reviewed by navigating to the Settings page of the Desktop App. From there, users can choose to view them in either the cloud location or on the local drive.

Desktop App_Connected Folder_2.png

Disconnecting a Folder

To disconnect a folder, simply select the checkbox next to it and click the "Disconnect selected" button.


Desktop App_Connected Folder_5.png

Users will be prompted to choose whether to remove the folder and its content from the cloud or to keep it. Choosing to keep it in the cloud means the content will remain on Egnyte but will no longer be synced.

Desktop App_Connected Folder_11.png

How the Files are Synchronized

Upon successfully connecting a local folder to the cloud, its contents will synchronize in the background. This means that any new files created or existing files edited and saved will automatically upload to the cloud folder. Similarly, if a file is created or edited in the cloud (using the WebUI, for instance), it will be downloaded to your local drive and 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

Although files can be synchronized to the cloud using Connected folders, their primary location remains in the local file system, not in Egnyte drive itself. Therefore, there are some limitations to collaboration capabilities in those folders:

  1. File Locks - In Connected folders, there are no file locks. When a file is opened, no lock is created, enabling others to access and edit it concurrently. If two users save changes simultaneously, a conflict copy is generated, requiring manual resolution.
  2. Microsoft Co-Edit - The Microsoft Co-edit feature if enabled in the domain won't 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 the WebUI settings or request your administrator to enable it.

Desktop App_Connected Folder_13.png

How to Use Connected folders Using Command Line Interface

Command Line Interface can be used 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. Here:

-a is used to specify the local path 

-r is used to specify the cloud path. 

-l is used to specify the drive label.  The drive label is usually the domain name unless modified by the user. If there is a space in your drive label, you'll need to encapsulate the label name in quotes:

Drive Labels.png

"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.
  • Connecting folders can be used with external devices such as external hard drives, flash drives, and SD cards. Please note that there are some notable limitations:
    • Only APFS and exFAT file system drives are supported.
    • Connected folders will be removed, and sync will stop if an external drive is removed, even briefly. A new connection must be established manually to restart sync.
    • Connected folders will be removed, and sync will stop if the Mac is restarted. A new connection must be established manually to restart sync. There is no issue after putting the Mac to sleep or locking it.
    • This feature is in the Limited Availability phase on Desktop App Core version 0.14.0+. Please contact support@egnyte.com to enable it.
    • External devices are not yet supported on Desktop App for Windows.
    • External drives count against sync limit threshold.
      Desktop App disk space options.png
      This is especially important in the case of connecting small flash drives, as the minimum requirement for sync to work is 1GB of free disk space. If the threshold is exceeded, synchronization for all Connected and Offline folders will be stopped.
  • 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.  Steps on how to uninstall the Desktop Sync can be viewed here.
  • 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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