Sync Livescribe Across Dropbox

Let me begin by saying that I have a fairly complicated computer setup. First I have a Desktop, with a nice, large, high definition 20″ monitor! For practical reasons it doesn’t make much sense to carry this around with me all of them time. I also have the Livescribe Pro Charging Cradle which sits on my desk and is connected to my Desktop, allowing me to dock my pen any time to complete a download without having the pull out the mobile cradle. Next I have a 15″ Compaq Presario Laptop that is slowly aging (but still going strong)! I travel with that laptop sometimes and use it around the house when I am not at my desk. For that reason, it also needs my Livescribe data as well. Then just to complicate things more, I also have a 10″ netbook which goes with me everywhere and because it’s with me most of the time, I need to be able to access my Livescribe data on it as well. There is always the way of manually copying the Livescribe folder from one computer to another via USB flash drive. However, that takes a significant amount of time because my Livescribe data is 1GB (approximately) and it’s only going to get larger as time goes by. Also, another flaw with this method is that it requires me to remember to copy over the data folder twice. Once when I arrive at the computer and once when I leave adding a 5 minute job twice every time I want to move computers.

For reference the Livescribe Folder is located at “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe\Desktop” (on Windows XP). For Windows Vista or Windows 7, the folder is located at “C:\Users\Username\Appdata\Local\Livescribe\Desktop”. It’s not as long but since I use both Windows XP and Windows 7 between computers, it’s another path to remember. At first I thought I would create a network share (on my Desktop) and then use Offline Files to synchronize the Livescribe folder with the network share. The only problem being that I’m often switching between multiple computers very quickly and it takes time for Offline Files to synchronize because it doesn’t sync on the fly.

I started looking at various other services that allow synchronizing and was tempted to try out Windows Live Sync Beta. Thing is, I had used it several times before and one major gripe with it is that the data isn’t in the cloud so I have to have all of my computers on all the time to make sure they get the updates. This led me to dropbox.

For those of you who don’t know, Dropbox is a file synchronization software that has a huge back-end within the cloud. It uses Amazon’s popular S3 service for data and allows each free user 2GB of space. Also, if you haven’t signed up for Dropbox yet and would like to, if you sign up using my link, we will both get and additional 250 MB free. This is plenty of room for syncing the Livescribe data at least for now. So what Dropbox does is sync any files within your Dropbox folder with all of your computers and devices. I know what you’re thinking. The problem here is that Livescribe Desktop expects it’s folder to be at a specific location and that location isn’t your Dropbox folder. Of course, Dropbox can only sync files that are within your Dropbox Folder and the Livescribe Data folder certainly isn’t there…

So then here’s the solution! It’s called symlinks. Symlink is short for Symbolic Link. Now what does Symbolic Link mean?

In computing, a symbolic link (also symlink or soft link) is a special type of file that contains a reference to another file or directory in the form of an absolute or relative path and that affects pathname resolution. Symbolic links were already present by 1978 in mini-computer operating systems from DEC and Data General’s RDOS. Today they are supported by the POSIX operating-system standard, most Unix-like operating systems such as Mac OS X, and also Windows operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows 7 and to some degree in Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
Symbolic links operate transparently for most operations: programs which read or write to files named by a symbolic link will behave as if operating directly on the target file. However, programs that need to handle symbolic links specially (e.g., backup utilities) may identify and manipulate them directly.
— From: Wikipedia contributors. “Symbolic link.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 1 Sep. 2010.

Basically that means that a Symbolic Link will allow us to store data somewhere and make it appear seamlessly to be somewhere else. This is the solution to using Dropbox with Livescribe Desktop. All we have to do is move the Livescribe Desktop folder to the Dropbox folder and then Symlink it to it’s normal location!

In addition to Dropbox and Livescribe Desktop you will need the free Junction Utility from Microsoft Sysinternals. Go ahead and download that now. I’ll wait!

Before we begin, I should add that all commands that must be entered in the command prompt are surrounded by “”. You don’t need to the enter those ones but any of them within the code itself is imperative to enter.

All right! Let’s go!

First you need to decide if you are on Windows XP or on Windows Vista/Windows 7. While the directions are very similar, there are several key differences between them. Windows XP directions will come first, followed by Windows Vista/Windows 7. Please remember that in all of the directions you have to replace Username with your own username.

Transfer your Livescribe Data to Dropbox if it is on a Windows XP Computer

  1. Remember that download I had you make? Well it was a zip file. Unzip the zip file and move the junction.exe file to “C:\Windows\System32\”.
  2. Open Windows Explorer to your Livescribe Data Folder: “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe”. Move the folder “Desktop” from the Livescribe Folder to your Desktop.
  3. Exit Livescribe Desktop
  4. In another Windows Explorer window, open your Dropbox folder, usually: “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox”.
  5. Now make a new folder named “Livescribe” in the “My Dropbox” folder.
  6. Move the “Desktop” folder to the “Livescribe” folder in your “My Dropbox” folder. Dropbox will now start indexing and uploading your data. Depending on your connection speed and amount of data, this may take several hours.
  7. Open command prompt. This is done by clicking the start button, clicking run, typing in cmd and pressing enter.
  8. In the command prompt type in “junction” and press enter. You may see a license agreement. Click “I agree” to continue.
  9. In the command prompt now type in “junction “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe\Desktop” “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox\Livescribe\Desktop””. This will symlink your Livescribe Desktop folder back where it belongs.
  10. You can delete the backup of the Desktop folder on your Desktop at this point, if you so choose.
  11. At this point you just successfully transferred your Livescribe Desktop folder to your Dropbox account. Just remember to only have Livescribe Desktop running on one computer at a time and your data should remain intact. However, there is no way I can guarantee that and you should always keep backups. I am not liable if you lose your data.

Use Your Livescribe Data in Dropbox with Another Install of Livescribe Desktop on Windows XP

  1. If this computer doesn’t already have Junction on it, download it and then unzip the zip file and move the junction.exe file to “C:\Windows\System32\”.
  2. Set up Dropbox on the computer. Your data may take some time to download especially if you have a very full Dropbox.
  3. Exit Livescribe Desktop.
  4. Open Windows Explorer to your Livescribe Data Folder: “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe”.
  5. Delete the folder “Desktop” that is within.
  6. Open command prompt. This is done by clicking the start button, clicking run, typing in cmd and pressing enter.
  7. In the command prompt type in “junction” and press enter. You may see a license agreement. Click “I agree” to continue.
  8. In the command prompt now type in “junction “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Livescribe\Desktop” “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox\Livescribe\Desktop””. This will symlink your Livescribe Desktop folder back where it belongs.
  9. At this point you have successfully setup Livescribe Desktop on another computer to access your Livescribe data stored in Dropbox. Just remember that Dropbox can’t sync that data while Livescribe Desktop is open so after exiting it, give it a few minutes to finish syncing.

Transfer your Livescribe Data to Dropbox if it is on a Windows Vista or Windows 7 Computer

  1. Remember that download I had you make? Well it was a zip file. Unzip the zip file and move the junction.exe file to “C:\Windows\System32\”. User Account Control may ask for permission. You have to give it that.
  2. Open Windows Explorer to your Livescribe Data Folder: “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Livescribe”. Move the folder “Desktop” from the Livescribe Folder to your Desktop.
  3. Exit Livescribe Desktop
  4. In another Windows Explorer window, open your Dropbox folder, usually: “C:\Users\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox”.
  5. Now make a new folder named “Livescribe” in the “My Dropbox” folder.
  6. Move the “Desktop” folder to the “Livescribe” folder in your “My Dropbox” folder. Dropbox will now start indexing and uploading your data. Depending on your connection speed and amount of data, this may take several hours.
  7. Open command prompt. This is done by clicking the start button, clicking run, typing in cmd and pressing enter.
  8. In the command prompt type in “junction” and press enter. You may see a license agreement. Click “I agree” to continue.
  9. In the command prompt now type in “junction “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Livescribe\Desktop” “C:\Users\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox\Livescribe\Desktop””. This will symlink your Livescribe Desktop folder back where it belongs.
  10. You can delete the backup of the Desktop folder on your Desktop at this point, if you so choose.
  11. At this point you just successfully transferred your Livescribe Desktop folder to your Dropbox account. Just remember to only have Livescribe Desktop running on one computer at a time and your data should remain intact. However, there is no way I can guarantee that and you should always keep backups. Once again, let me remind you that I am not liable if you lose your data.

Use Your Livescribe Data in Dropbox with Another Install of Livescribe Desktop on Windows Vista or Windows 7

  1. If this computer doesn’t already have Junction on it, download it and then unzip the zip file and move the junction.exe file to “C:\Windows\System32\”. Once again, User Account Control may ask for permission. You have to give it that.
  2. Set up Dropbox on the computer. Your data may take some time to download especially if you have a very full Dropbox.
  3. Exit Livescribe Desktop.
  4. Open Windows Explorer to your Livescribe Data Folder: “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Livescribe”.
  5. Delete the folder “Desktop” that is within.
  6. Open command prompt. This is done by clicking the start button, clicking run, typing in cmd and pressing enter.
  7. In the command prompt type in “junction” and press enter. You may see a license agreement. Click “I agree” to continue.
  8. In the command prompt now type in “junction “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Livescribe\Desktop” “C:\Users\Username\My Documents\My Dropbox\Livescribe\Desktop””. This will symlink your Livescribe Desktop folder back where it belongs.
  9. At this point you have successfully setup Livescribe Desktop on another computer to access your Livescribe data stored in Dropbox. Just remember that Dropbox can’t sync that data while Livescribe Desktop is open so after exiting it, give it a few minutes to finish syncing.

Congratulations! If you followed these directions correctly your Livescribe Desktop data should now be happily syncing through Dropbox and accessible on all of your computers. I must caution you one more time however, never to have Livescribe Desktop running on multiple computers simultaneously. Dropbox will not be sync the data and you will most likely end up losing a significant portion of it. Once again, I must remind you that I take no liability if you do lose your data. However, I do believe that the likelihood of that happening is very slim, especially if you read all of the directions listed above before you begin. If you have any problems with this, please post a comment and I will try to help you.

As far as I know, a similar technique will work with Dropbox and Livescribe Desktop on a Mac. According to Livescribe however, it is not possible to currently transfer data between the Mac and Windows versions of Livescribe Desktop. Supposedly, it is incompatible. However, I personally have no way of finding it out because I have zero Macs to try it with. If anyone wants to try it, please remember to back up before trying and do let me know so that I can update this post. And yes, even though there is a Dropbox for Linux, the lack of a Livescribe Desktop application for it, makes syncing your data there a moot point.

42 thoughts on “Sync Livescribe Across Dropbox

  1. bemental

    As we've already discussed, this would be GREAT it the Windows & Mac version of LD played nicely. I'll experiment further and let you know.

    As for now, my solution is to just dock the pen with each computer (currently only two, one Mac, one PC) and go from there. It works, but I still have to maintain two separate libraries of LD data.

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Yes maintaining two separate libraries of LD would be quite tiresome. Hopefully you can use the information provided here and experiment with the Mac version and see if you can get the data exchanged between the two. Then I can modify the guide with the results of the information you provide, 🙂

      Just remember to make backups before messing with it.

      Reply
  2. Kerstin Hack

    Hi, Rohan
    this sounds extremely clever….I have just bought a smart pen. Tomorrow I will be travelling to England with a MacBook air. But normally I work on my desktop. So right now I am not sure which Computer I should put the installation software on. In the manual it sais in ENGLISH that you can use it on several computers. But the German translation sais that it is meant to be only used on ONE computer. What would you recommend?
    Thanks for your help.
    Kerstin

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Kerstin,

      Yes you will be fine installing the Livescribe Desktop application on multiple computers (I use it on three) but you just have to remember to sync archiving, deleting, etc, between all computers manually unless you use an automated sync option (such as the one I described above).

      WIth your current setup, I would install on both computers and keep it manually in sync until bemental: https://rohankapoor.com/2010/09/sync-livescribe-ac… gets back to us. Assuming syncing works between Livescribe Desktop on Windows and Mac, I'll update the directions here!

      Hope that helps,

      Rohan

      Reply
  3. Bob Allen

    Hi Rohan:

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work and expertise with LiveScribe and the SmartPen projects you have been doing. Please keep up these great works, there are a lot of us out here glad you are so willing to share your knowledge. I used your link to sign up for Dropbox and received my notification just now about the extra 250mb. Thanks to you! Warm regards, Bob Allen- 4GB SP Pulse.

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Bob,

      I'm glad I was able to help you and the other people that are using my Livescribe projects! The vast majority of these started as something that I needed for myself and thought I would share with the community! I never realized how many people actually wanted and were using these till after I posted about them.

      Thanks for signing up with my link, I also received the extra 250 MB!

      Reply
  4. Coca

    Hi Rohan,

    I got your method to work but was a bit confused by your steps. In "Transfer your Livescribe Data to Dropbox if it is on a Windows Vista or Windows 7 Computer", you never say to delete the original Desktop folder once you have copied it to the Dropbox folder, and used junction to redirect to that new Dropbox/Livescribe/Desktop folder.

    Is this intentional? Is there any reason to have a junction to the Dropbox/Livescribe/Desktop folder AND the original Desktop folder sitting inside the original Livescribe folder?

    With the way I've set it up, I deleted the original Desktop folder once I'd copied it to my Dropbox folder.

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Hi Coca, In the directions that you are referring to, I never said to copy the folder, I said to move (or cut) the folder. This way there is nothing to delete as the original has just been moved to another location. Glad you got it working!

      Reply
    2. Rohan Kapoor

      Hi Coca,In the directions for “Transfer your Livescribe Data to Dropbox if it is on a Windows Vista or Windows 7 Computer”, I never used the word copy. If you look at it again, you will see that I used the word move (cut). This way there is no original Desktop folder to delete afterwards! Glad you got it working though!

      Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Yes, you can move your Dropbox folder. However the average person (myself included) would prefer not to make the entire Dropbox Folder the Livescribe Folder. We want to sync Livescribe through Dropbox while still using it for other things which is why this guide is useful. I use this on all three of my computers and from the comments, I believe that several other people are also using it because it allows them to still use Dropbox for all the other files they need it for.

      Reply
  5. dangerouspenguin

    Thanks so much…worked like a charm. You do know that you can change the name of your Dropbox folder, right? I assume so, and that you wrote this for a general audience. Makes it a little easier if you are reading from and writing to Dropbox in multiple languages.

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      You're welcome! Yes, I am aware that you can change the name of the Dropbox folder. As I told someguynamedpie: https://rohankapoor.com/2010/09/sync-livescribe-ac… average Dropbox user (including myself) would prefer to use Dropbox for multiple purposes. Syncing Livescribe data is only one of them. For that reason, it makes sense to put the Dropbox folder outside of the Livescribe folder instead of making Dropbox the Livescribe folder. And yes, I did write this guide for a general audience. It is very easy to change the Dropbox folder path within the instructions, replacing that path with your own, if you have a changed Dropbox Folder. Personally, I'm quite happy with my Dropbox folder's name and default location.

      Glad I was able to help.

      Reply
  6. Deon

    Hi Rohan and thank you very much for this excellent explanation.
    I am battling to make the relinking work. I have this:

    junction “C:UsersDeon.SINCROAppDataLocalLivescribeDesktop” “C:UsersDeon.SINCRODesktopDropboxDropboxLivescribeDesktop”

    When entering this at the command prompt, I get this error:
    Error Creating ?C:UsersDeon.SINCROAppDataLocalLivescribeDesktop?:
    the filename, directory name, or volume label syntex is incorrect.

    I will really appreciate it if you can please point out what I am doing wrong? I have changed "Username" to the my real name. Can this be the error?

    Thank you so long for your help.
    Sincere Regards,

    Deon

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Hi Deon,

      It looks like you put in you full name instead of your username. Can you verify that you did change Username to your actual username or did you change it to your full name? If you could provide links to screenshots that would help me troubleshoot.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  7. Eva

    For a reason I do not know, this does not work for me. I followed the exact directions on two Computers (both Win7 Professional) and the folder were linked to my Dropbox, but after that, my Livescribe Desktop (on both computers) didn´t run until I copied it back to its destination und deleted it from my Dropbox, after that Livescribe Desktop worked again. Any suggestion what to do, to get my Dropbox and Livescribe Desktop connected? Because I need to have my data synched between these two computers…

    Thanks for any help provided!

    Reply
  8. Eva

    Just found the mistake, my Dropbox is located in "DocumentsMy Dropbox" and not in "My DocumentsMy Dropbox"…. Now everything works fine! Thanks for your comment, so I checked everything and found it…

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      That would certainly do it. If the files were being put in the wrong place Dropbox and Livescribe Desktop would have no idea where they were. Glad you were able to fix it.

      Reply
  9. Mike G

    I can't get junction to work. I always get this error: "Cannot create a file when that file already exists". Junction seems to want to create a file rather than create a relationship. I could write more but rather than describe what I've done in gory detail, I'd rather here if this error something you know about.

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      It sounds like you forgot to remove the original file from the directory before creating your symlink. Verify that you have moved the original files to the Dropbox folder and are actually trying to create a symlink after removing the original files. If you can post some screenshots I can help you better.

      Reply
  10. @zechariahs

    Thanks for the instructions! I have no need to sync my Livescribe data across multiple computers, but these are great for moving from one PC to another.

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      You are very welcome! That's certainly an interesting way of moving them from one computer to another but you know I probably would have done the same thing! Glad it worked out for you.

      Reply
  11. Bob B

    I followed your directions, but now my Livescribe Desktop shows nothing – no notebooks, no data, nothing. When I dock the pen, it says that it has been authorized for another computer. I don't understand what is going on. I followed the directions for the Windows XP machine.

    My Dropbox folder is on my e: drive (e:My DocumentsDropboxLivescribeDesktop), which is just another partition on my laptop's hard drive. I can see the Livescribe data there.

    So, Livescribe Desktop is not going to my Dropbox folder to see the data and thinks its a brand new installation.

    Any ideas?

    Bob

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Hi Bob,

      In step 9, when you actually used Junction did you replace the Dropbox path with your own specific Dropbox path (the E: path you listed above)? It sounds like you forgot to do that and therefore you haven't actually linked Livescribe Desktop to the data folder.

      Reply
  12. Doug Hibbard

    Just a quick thank you! This worked once I followed the directions properly—my folder paths weren't identical and I wasn't paying attention properly. Very helpful. I set my wife's up this way. We actually use Dropbox to keep her desktop and laptop in sync, but we use SugarSync to keep my work computer and my laptop in sync, so I just had that program start syncing the directory for Livescribe. It was much easier for the computers with the SugarSync accounts. But the other two are using Dropbox, and this worked great!

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      You're very welcome Doug! I'm glad that the instructions worked out well for you. At some point, I do plan to go through and record a video tutorial of this but have not had a chance to do so yet.

      Reply
  13. thomas

    Hallo, i have a question about that tool junction. i tried to use it, following your steps. And i want to link my drobox which is on my D: partition to my livescribe folder in C: partition. Could it be possible that i can't link between different partitions. Because if i try to link a folder from C: to another folder on the C: it works ?.

    Has somebody an idea

    Reply
  14. thomas

    ok i tried some more things, I found out that my junction programm can't handle the space character in the folder name's. There is no error message or something else. No folder is created or something else, nothing happens.

    Reply
  15. George

    When I trying running the junction command, I get the following:

    Junction v1.06 – Windows junction creator and reparse point viewer
    Copyright (C) 2000-2010 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

    The first usage is for displaying reparse point information, the
    second usage is for creating a junction point, and the last for
    deleting a junction point:
    usage: junction [-s] [-q] <file or directory>
    -q Don't print error messages (quiet)
    -s Recurse subdirectories

    usage: junction <junction directory> <junction target>
    example: junction d:link c:windows

    usage: junction -d <junction directory>

    And no "Desktop" folder is created in the "..Local SettingsApplication DataLivescribe" Directory

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Sounds like a directory problem. When junction responds with that, its not able to resolve the directories provided. One or both of them don't exist. Sounds like you may have installed Dropbox after they changed their install location. In that case, you should look and find the correct path to Dropbox and change the second path provided to junction to reflect your actual Dropbox location.

      Reply
  16. Chris

    Hi,

    Thanks for this great help file – but I am a little confused as I am used to making SYMLINKS for things like CrashPlan which from what I read is bascially what you are doing using the junction utility – but windows 7 does this as default using the DOS command mklink – so is there any reason to use the junction download rather than creating a SYMLINK with mklink?

    Thanks,

    Chris.

    Reply
    1. Rohan Kapoor

      Hi Chris,

      There is no difference with using either utility. I chose to use junction for all of these examples because I was working primarily (at the time) with Windows XP machines which don't have mlink built in.

      Reply

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