I don't want to use Dropbox because I don't want to sync a separate folder - I just want to sync the Documents folder that already exists in ~/Zachary/Documents. Any tool recommendations? Ideally something that's "set, click, forget". Happy to pay. Amazon S3 storage ideal. Don't like Backupify - don't want them to have my data :)

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    Sync is not backup. Backups protect against both hardware failure and user error, whereas syncing only protects against hardware failure. A backup should not be automatically or easily modified. If you accidentally delete a file in your Documents folder and don't realize until after a sync happened, you're screwed. Maybe you've already got a mechanism in place to protect against user error, so sync, not backup, is what you want. If so, then maybe you should remove the words "back up" from your title.
    – Spiff
    Jun 30 '11 at 8:23
  • I added sync as a tag. Thank you for the clarification. Please tell me if I have this right: if Dropbox offers version control - it's still not backup unless it constantly syncs.
    – Zack Burt
    Jun 30 '11 at 10:04
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    To me, a good backup is an unmodifiable copy on completely different hardware, preferably offsite. If you have a sync service that keeps the old revisions of stuff you sync to it, then it probably counts as a backup. My big question is whether it provides a way to restore your data after user errors like accidentally deleting or gutting a file. If it saves you from those kinds of mistakes as well as allowing you to restore data after hardware failure/theft/destruction, then it's a real backup.
    – Spiff
    Jul 1 '11 at 3:11
  • Thanks - I got Dropbox with the "Packrat" upgrade which offers unlimited undo.
    – Zack Burt
    Jul 1 '11 at 22:14

You can sync folders outside your Dropbox - simply create a symbolic link to that file/folder in the Dropbox.

To do this, open a terminal, and run the following command:

ln -s ~/Documents ~/Dropbox/DocumentsBackup

This will make Dropbox think that your documents folder is "in" it, causing it to be synced. If you're using Dropbox on multiple computers, you can also run the reverse command (i.e. ln -s ~/Dropbox/DocumentsBackup ~/Documents after deleting ~/Documents) to make the synced Dropbox folder appear to be outside it, allowing you to have one copy of your documents folder in the correct location on two computers.

Dropbox link to a couple of utilities to do this automatically here.

  • Thank you very much sir! Dropbox should include this in their getting started video =)
    – Zack Burt
    Jul 1 '11 at 22:15

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