How can I sync all my Desktop files to Dropbox, so that my desktop still feels, looks and works like a normal Desktop?
Using Folder Actions
This will – whenever you add a new file – synchronize your Desktop with a Dropbox folder of your choice. First, create the Dropbox folder where you want your desktop files to stay, e.g.
Then, open up Automator.app and create a new Folder Action. On the top, select your real Desktop.
To the Automator action, add a Run Shell Script action from the left pane. Paste the following.
Save the action.
Now, this will run by default, and whenever an item is added to your Desktop, it will be mirrored with the Dropbox. If you delete an item from your Desktop, there will be no changes, so you have to add something (e.g. create a new folder and delete it right away) to force a sync.
If you ever want to disable it, right-click your Desktop icon from Finder, and select Services » Folder Action Setup. Here, uncheck your Desktop.
For a more hacky approach, in OS X, you can use symlinks to link your Desktop to the Dropbox.
However, be aware that from now on, everything you put on the Desktop will be automatically synced to the Dropbox folder. The drawback is that you won't be able to access the Dropbox context menu, as navigating to the symlink gets you back to the desktop.
I wouldn't really do this, as it's not that transparent.
I prefer the symlink method, but when setting up additional Mac's to share the sync, it can get tricky.
First, I have a folder in Dropbox dedicated to "osx sync" ... e.g.:
By moving the files within the Dropbox folder, Dropbox quickly syncs and file change history remains intact.