Affinity Consulting Blog


Many Microsoft OneDrive users fondly remember the "placeholders" from the Windows 8.1 file synchronization client. Placeholders let you see all of the files and folders in your OneDrive online storage even if those files or folders were not actually present on your computer's hard drive. Sadly, that feature was eliminated in Windows 10 (although something like it may come back soon). Now Dropbox plans to introduce a conceptually similar service with its Dropbox Infinite project.

According to Dropbox, they want deeper access to the kernel of your operating system to "enable you to access all of the content in your Dropbox—no matter how small the hard disk on your machine or how much stuff you have in your Dropbox." This is much like placeholders. However, OneDrive and placeholders were from Microsoft, the makers of your operating system. It may be one thing to allow Microsoft to design this functionality into Windows. It is something different to allow a third party such as Dropbox to have the same level of kernel access. That is not to say it is wrong. But it is something that must be very carefully considered before leaping aboard.

To its credit, Dropbox understands this concern: "We understand the concerns around this type of implementation, and our solution takes into consideration the security and stability of our users’ experience, while providing what we believe will be a really useful feature." It will be interesting to see how Project Infinite develops and whether these security concerns are real or imagined.

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