Frequently Asked Questions

Can I rename files on cloud drives (i.e. Dropbox)?
Last Updated 2 years ago

There are many cloud services—Dropbox, Copy, Google Drive, etc.—that allow you to keep a local folder synced with the cloud drive. Changes made locally are (usually) immediately synced to the cloud, and any changes made on the cloud will be reflected in the locally synced folder. While these services are wonderful in general (we rely on them heavily here at Many Tricks), using Name Mangler to rename files on a synced cloud folder could result in unintended consequences.

Here's what could happen, as one example: When you ask Name Mangler to rename files in a cloud drive folder, it does so as if the folder were any other local folder. But it's not; any changes made are synced to the cloud, and that's where the problems can start. Depending on your connection speed, and the speed of the cloud service on any given day, sometimes things can get jumbled in the sync process. What you'll wind up with, instead of a batch of renamed files in the cloud folder, is both the old and the new files—for all or some subset of all the files you renamed.

You may not see this often; if your connection speed is fast enough, things may work as you expect. But they may not, and the problem is you can't predict when they will or will not work.

Unfortunately, there's really nothing we can do to prevent this, because reading and tracking all of the various cloud services' folders would be incredibly difficult and quite fragile. Our ability to identify cloud folders could break with any minor update to a cloud service, for instance. So for now, the best advice is this:

We do not recommend using Name Mangler to rename files that reside within a cloud folder.

Instead of renaming directly within the cloud folder, first copy the files to a purely local folder, rename them there, then copy them back. Alternatively, if your cloud service lets you disable sync temporarily, disable sync. Then rename the files within the folder, then re-enable sync. While this alternative method should work, we haven't tested it extensively with all of the cloud services, so proceed at your own risk.

(As always, we strongly recommend keeping a backup of the files you're going to rename, regardless of where they reside, just in case your renaming task doesn't do quite what you were expecting it to do.)

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