Media Monkey and Dropbox

    I posted a while back about using Media Monkey with Dropbox and my liking of Music Bee, but how that wasn’t good (IMO) at syncing with my iPod. The problem I had was getting Media Monkey to work on two PC with media files in Dropbox. Media Monkey forced the use of two databases as it does not use Windows file paths relying on UNC paths or the drive serial number. In my setup with Dropbox on the two PC the Windows path is the same (P:Media) but to Media Monkey it was two different drives so on one PC the media would always be missing.

    I have now found a solution. Media Monkey can use UNC paths, but that is great for a network drive, but how about local drives? The solution is that in Windows all local drives have a hidden share in the format \localhostC$ for the C drive (just put the relevant drive letter before the $). So now I can reference my media in my local folder P:Media as \localhostP$Media and Media Monkey is now happy as it can now find my media files on any PC as long as the path is the same.

    I have the same path on both PCs for all files and folders.

    OK, so I mentioned Dropbox, but eagle eyed people will be thinking that if I am using Dropbox, then in my local path there should be the local Dropbox folder. Well spotted, it is there but I like things to be nice and tidy. The real path to Dropbox on my PC is P:CloudDropbox and the media folder is P:CloudDropboxMedia What I do with my local “cloud” folders is to create an NTFS junction using (for example) the commandmklink /J “P:Media” “P:CloudDropboxMedia”to create a virtual folder that maps to the real local cloud folder. This is not a shortcut, it sorts and appears in Windows like a real folder. Run the command from a Windows command window (Run -> cmd)

    So now I can (after waiting for it to sync down) open my Media Monkey database on any PC wherever I am. I then came across a problem. Each write to the database changes its last modified status and triggers Dropbox to sync it.

    However, when it is being synced Dropbox briefly locks the file making it impossible for Media Monkey to write to the database and triggering disk i/o errors. Not too bad in normal use, but bigger operations triggered multiple disk i/o errors. Back to the drawing board….

    My solution to this (if a bit messy) was to leave my media on Dropbox where I want it and to use Google Drive to sync the database. As both Dropbox and Google Drive retain previous versions this is also a good backup solution for a corrupted database. I found that Google Drive doesn’t lock the file (or not in the same way) while syncing so the i/o errors went. I could have used OneDrive to the same effect, but I find OneDrive to be a bit sluggish.

    Takes a while to set up, but now I do not have to sync two media players. When shutting down and starting up a little wait is needed to allow the database (and music if changed) to sync up and sync down, but I had to do that anyway with Music Bee so not a problem, and I now need only one music/media manager package.

    As an aside I also tried putting the Media Monkey database on a network drive with it set up as offline files on my notebook. The advantage of the Dropbox solution was to be able to add new music on the desktop, and then download it onto the notebook at any time and anywhere. The offline files solution would have needed me to connect the notebook to my network and let it sync before leaving, or to connect back to my network via VPN. Dropbox was the easier option.