In my Backup and sync folder on my computer, I have created several directory symbolic links so that the files on the "real" location can be backup on my google drive. The directory symbolic links were created like that :

mklink /D "C:\Users\Me\Desktop\google\Notepad++" "C:\Users\Me\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++"

These directory symbolic links aren't uploaded to my google drive by Google Backup and Sync.

Is there a way to force Backup and Sync to upload directory symbolic links? If not how can I backup some of my appdata files?

I would like a solution that is free and which doesn't involve a third party.

I have already found a solution with a python script that is able to follow directory symbolic links but I would like a more robust solution.

  • For the record, www.dropbox.com does what you want: the PC sync client follows symlinks (but does not monitor their contents: you need to restart the client for it to re-sync past symlinks).
    – PPC
    Jan 31, 2019 at 11:49

5 Answers 5


Ok so the trick is with which one is the link, and which one is the true folder. Google Drive does not sync the link, it syncs the true folder. So you need to reverse the order. I have not tried it with /D but using /J works fine. So these changes applied to your original method as shown below should work:

mklink /J "C:\Users\Me\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++" "C:\Users\Me\Desktop\google\Notepad++" 

This is a bit annoying and dangerous, as if your folder in Google Drive is deleted, the files on your computer disappear as well. So accidentally deleting the folder in Google Drive from another location makes the link point to nothing, completely wiping the original data.

It could also cause trouble for other programs that have trouble working with symbolic locations.

If you are willing to ditch Google Drive, Dropbox works with what you proposed initially.

  • What if I don't have enough space on my C drive? Impossible
    – Sky
    May 2, 2019 at 16:28

I think that Google Backup and Sync does not follow symbolic links, so another solution is required.

My idea is that, instead of syncing via Google Backup and Sync, to use a product that can make your Google Drive directly accessible from the computer, then use any other sync product to sync your folders.

The products that might be a solution are (you will need to test and see) :

Once you have direct access to your Google Drive, you only need a sync product that matches you needs. Here are some suggestions :

  • 1
    Thanks a lot for this answer. I don't want to use third-party and I would like a free solution (sorry for not being more precise about those two conditions in my question). But it may help others who are not constrained by the same conditions.
    – MagTun
    Dec 25, 2017 at 13:12
  • There are some free products in my list. I'm afraid that the only solution without third-party products is to move or duplicate your folders into the Google folder.
    – harrymc
    Dec 25, 2017 at 13:36
  • Python is also a third-party product ...
    – harrymc
    Dec 25, 2017 at 14:29
  • You're right... any third-party except pytho ;-) (I am actually asking this question to using python!)
    – MagTun
    Dec 25, 2017 at 14:29
  • Once Google Drive is locally accessible on your computer, you may access it with any program of your choice, even Python ;)
    – harrymc
    Dec 25, 2017 at 16:51

To sync directory symbolic links with Google drive, I ended up using rclone with this command:

rclone sync "C:\Users\Me\Desktop\google\Notepad++"  "myremote":"folder"  --copy-links 

While it doesn't answer my question about Google Backup and Sync, I am satisfied because I can keep my Google Drive and my symbolic links.

  • Do you use schedule this to run regularly in windows
    – boardtc
    May 8, 2020 at 17:45
  • I don't understand your question but I don't schedule this rclone command because my backups are not regular. But it's possible to schedule it. I would do it with task scheduler (I haven't tried but my guess is to save this in a .cmd file and in the task, start this .cmd).
    – MagTun
    May 8, 2020 at 19:30

You can mount a VHD file inside the Google Backup & Sync folder. This will not work for system folders, but for any other personal content it is just fine. It is possible to overcome small C:\ SSD size limitations too, as you may create as many VHD files as needed in big HDD drives.

use this steps to create your VHD in Disk Management: https://serverfault.com/questions/74750/how-to-create-a-vhd-file-from-a-folder

Then choose "Mount to existing folder" instead of mapping the VHD to a new drive letter. Google Backup & Sync will read it as a regular folder.



I don't know how new this feature is, but you can right-click a folder on your computer, and in the context menu select "Google Drive", then "Sync this folder". context menu

In Drive (in a browser), on the left hand side you can see "Computers". Expand that, then expand "My Computer" and you will see the backed up folder there! Drive

Also, a comment to the comment by @PPC in early Jan 2019. (I hate systems that require reputation for comments!). As of mid 2019 Dropbox no longer supports syncing symlinks. I discovered that just now because I was trying to do this myself, trying first with Dropbox, now with Drive.

Funny thing, I had forgotten about Google Backup and Sync, and discovered the context menu for Google Drive when right-clicking a folder in Dropbox! Yes, that folder was the un-syncing symlink/junction!

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