Below are frequently-asked questions related to ndSync.
What content can I configure to be synced?
Only workspaces, filters, folders and CollabSpaces can be configured to be synced. Saved searches cannot be synced, even if part of a workspace that has been synced. An entire cabinet cannot be synced. Documents that are profiled to a workspace but that are not in a folder or filter or CollabSpace will not be synced.
Can I install ndSync on more than one computer?
Yes. You can install ndSync on as many computers as you like, both Windows and Macs. Each computer you install ndSync on will sync the same content. The configuration of which content should be synced is made globally, across all installations of ndSync and the NetDocuments server.
Is there a limit to the number of documents per folder or filter that can be synced?
Yes, there is a limit of 5,000 documents per folder or filter. (1,000 for older versions of ndSync.) The first time documents are synced to a device, the most recent 5,000 documents in the folder or filter will be synced. Any documents that are added or updated to the folder or filter afterwards on the server will be synced and any synced documents that have not been updated recently (not among the most recently updated 5,000 documents) will be unsynced. If any of those 5,000 synced documents are removed from the folder or filter, then the most recently updated unsynced documents will be synced until the 5,000-document limit is reached.
Is there a limit to the number of subfolders that can be synced?
No. You can sync any number of subfolders, as many levels deep as you like. (This remains subject to the limit of 500 subfolders in a parent container.) However, note that in Windows the path length of any file or folder is limited 260 characters, starting from the drive letter (like “C:\”). The ndSync folder is installed at “C:\users\[username]\ndSync”, which already uses up a small amount of that path limit. For any content you choose to sync, ndSync will include in your computer’s file system the following components below the main “ndSync” folder:
- The repository name (if you have access to more than one repository and have selected to sync content from more than one repository)
- The cabinet name the synced content is part of
- The full workspace (as the workspace is shown in ndWeb; for example, this might include both client key, client description, matter key and matter description), if syncing a workspace or content in a workspace
- The filter or folder being synced
- Any subfolders of a synced folder
- The documents in the synced filter and folders, including the document name and extension
If the path length of any synced content will be more than 260 characters, the content will not be synced and you will be shown an error message about this.
Starting with ndSync for Windows v2.3.0, this path-length limitation will not apply on Windows 10 computers with the Long File Path feature enabled.
Note that the Mac OS does not have this same path-length limitation.
Is it appropriate to use ndSync to backup my entire firm’s NetDocuments content?
No. ndSync is a personal productivity utility. You should use it only to sync NetDocuments content that you will need access to from your computer, such as when you will not have access to the internet, when you need access to Recent or Favorite workspaces, etc.
Do not use ndSync for bulk imports or large data back-ups. For firm-wide back-ups and disaster recovery features, learn more about ndMirror.
Can a document be profiled if it is added to the local sync folder?
When a document is added to a filter in a workspace (and typically to a folder in a workspace as well), the document will always inherit the attributes from the workspace (like client and matter numbers). If a document is added to the filter, it will take the attribute that defines the filter (commonly document type). If a document is added to a folder, the document will inherit the default profile values, if any, that have been configured for the folder to which the document is added.
Will ndSync sync multiple versions or every version of a document?
No, ndSync will only sync the official version of a document. But, refer to the next question about editing conflicts, which involves unofficial versions.
How do I control the notifications displayed by ndSync?
The ndSync “bubble” notifications are controlled by your operating system. Both Windows and Mac OS provide a centralized way of configuring and controlling notifications delivered by installed applications, although they do so in different ways, and each version of Windows differs from each other in this regard. Contact your IT Department or search the web to determine how to control notifications on your computer.
What happens when there are editing conflicts for documents that have been synced?
Imagine that User1 checks out and opens a Word document in ndOffice, makes and saves edits but keeps that document checked out. Those change are not synced via ndSync until the document is checked in. Then User2 opens the document from the local ndSync folder, which is the version of the document at the time User1 checked it out, and User2 makes and saves changes to the document. User2’s changes will conflict with User1’s changes. Because the document is checked out, ndSync will turn User2’s changes into an unofficial version of the document and save that unofficial version to the server, and User2 will receive a bubble message about this. For a long as User2 keeps that document open, the changes User2 makes will be saved to that unofficial version. After User1 and User2 close out of their documents, ndSync will remove the unofficial version from the local computer (it will still have been saved to the server) and then sync down to the computer the updated, official version of the document, based on the changes made by User1.
How often is content synced between the server and my computer?
There are three ways the content is synced between the server and the computer where ndSync is installed.
First, every 30 minutes the ndSync application checks to see if any changes have been made to content on the server and then syncs those changes.
Second, immediately after any changes are made to content in the ndSync folder on your computer, those changes are automatically synced to the server. For example, editing and saving an existing document, renaming a document, or adding a new document.
Third, you can manually select the Sync Now option on any synced content on your computer, either for all synced content or for a particular folder/container or for a particular document. This will look for updates from the server, limited to the particular content.
Does ndSync sync emails?
Yes. Any files that are saved to a synced location, including emails (typically .msg or .eml files) will be synced.
In the future, we will be adding a filter to exclude from syncing to your computer any emails stored on the server.
Can I sync any folder on my computer to the server?
The answer is both Yes and No. When ndSync is installed, it creates an ndSync folder on your computer where the synced content is stored. (For example, in Windows this is found at C:/users/[username]/ndSync.) Only content that is found within this ndSync folder will be synced from your computer to the server (and only if you have permission to add content to the corresponding location in NetDocuments). Therefore, you cannot simply designate any folder on your computer to be synced, but if you move or copy a folder somewhere else on your computer into an appropriate location in the ndSync folder, then that folder will be synced.
Can the content synced by ndSync be saved to a location other than the C: drive?
Currently, the ndSync folder can only be located on the C: drive, but we will allow you to select a different location during installation, in the future.
Can ndSync sync hidden files?
No, ndSync will not sync files marked as hidden on your computer.
Can I create repositories, cabinets, workspaces, top-level folders, filters and subfolders in the local ndSync folder?
You can create subfolders (assuming you have appropriate access rights to do so in that location in NetDocuments). However, ndSync restricts your ability to create new repositories, cabinets, workspaces, top-level folders and filters from your computer. If you create a folder within a workspace on your computer, it will be treated as a folder and not a filter."
Microsoft recently introduced a new anti-ransomware feature in Windows 10 that allows a user to limit which applications can access certain folders. If I enable this feature, will this impact the ability of ndSync to operate on my computer?
The answer depends on how this new feature known as Controlled Folder Access, has been configured on your computer. If the configuration includes the ndSync folder (C:\users\[username]\ndSync) as a “protected folder,” then ndSync will be unable to operate. This page provides guidance on how to add ndSync to the list of applications that are permitted to access protected folders. If the ndSync folder is not currently marked as a protected folder, we encourage you to mark it as such (instructions on how to do so can be found here) AND make sure to add ndSync to the list of permitted applications. This will help to protect ndSync content from ransomware.
Can I use ndSync when I do not have an Internet connection?
The answer depends on how you are using ndSync. If you simply want to access content that has been previously synced to your computer, then that content will be there when you are offline. However, ndSync will not be able to sync changes made from your computer to the server when you are offline, nor can it check for changes made on the server. If you make changes while offline or if changes are made on the server while you are offline, once you are online again, changes you have made or changes made on the server will be synced automatically.
How is ndSync activity logged by NetDocuments?
Starting in version 17.2, edits and downloads performed using ndSync will be recorded in the Consolidated Activity Log. When syncing a folder or filter, the sync will not be recorded in the History of the folder or filter. When a document is synced, a download entry is recorded in the document’s History.
Can I choose which content to sync from the ndSync application?
You can choose which content to sync (or unsync) from any installation of the ndSync application or from the NetDocuments web site. All of these locations will hold the same set of content to be synced.
How can I tell whether content has been configured to be synced?
From the NetDocuments web site, if you navigate to a workpace, folder, or filter, the graphical representation of the container will show a small “synced” icon (the circle with the spinning arrows) if the container has been synced. There will also be a container action called “Unsync [container type].” However, if there is a child container of a synced container, it will NOT indicate that it is part of a synced container, but the contents in the child container will be synced. If you try to sync that child container, you will receive a message that its parent container is already synced.
Also, from the ndSync application, if you select “Select Items to Synchronize,” it will show with a checkbox every container that has been configured to be synced.
How do I remove an item from a sync folder?
To stop syncing a folder or workspace, use the "Unsync" option from the web UI. Or, from the ndSync application, if you select “Select Items to Synchronize,” you can unselect a container that has been selected to be synced. This will not remove any content from the online server, but will remove the associated content from all synced devices.
Do not delete documents or folders from the ndSync folder unless you also want those items deleted in NetDocuments. However, you cannot exclude a specific document or other item in a synced container from being synced.
What happens if I delete synced content from my computer? Will those items be deleted from the server?
Assuming you have administrative (typically VESA) rights to the deleted content, the answer is yes, the deletions will be applied to the server, meaning that anything you delete locally will be deleted in NetDocuments. However, there are a few caveats to this answer:
- If you do not have administrative rights to the deleted content, then the deletions will not be applied to the server. Instead, the deleted content will be restored back to your computer during the next sync.
- Even if documents are deleted from the server, they are not purged, or permanently deleted. That allows anyone with administrative rights to the documents to find them from the ndWeb interface and restore them.
- ndSync will not send to the server a request to delete a repository, cabinet, workspace, top-level folder or filter, if you manage to delete one of those containers locally.
- Starting in version 17.2, there is a server-side setting for the server to ignore any requests made by ndSync to delete content (except for individual documents deleted using the ndSync “Delete” context-menu action). Every client using ndSync is encouraged to enable this setting.
- Starting in v2.3.4 of ndSync for Windows and Mac (not yet released), deleting content from ndSync can performed ONLY by using the ndSync "Delete" action.
Can I sync a workspace but not all of the content in that workspace?
No. When any container – workspace, folder, or filter – is synced, ALL content, any levels deep, will also be synced. You cannot exclude certain child content from being synced. That being said, if there are any documents profiled to a workspace that are not in a filter or folder of that workspace, then those documents will not be synced. This includes items under a saved search or ShareSpace.
Does ndSync respect repository access restrictions, such as when a repository can only be accessed from certain IP addresses?
ndSync will honor IP address restrictions at the time the user goes through the OAuth authorization flow (the initial login and the confirmation to allow ndSync to access the user’s account). Once the user has gone through that login flow and has obtained a refresh token, the IP address restrictions will no longer be applicable and the user can access the repository’s content via ndSync from any IP address, because satisfaction of the IP address restrictions during the initial login have, in essence, been “embedded” into the refresh token. That applies until the next time the user goes through the OAuth authorization flow, either because the user logged out or their refresh token expired.
And the “opposite” also applies. If the user logs in to ndSync from an unsupported IP address, ndSync will not connect to the protected repository and the refresh token will assumes that the user does not have access to the protected repository. Therefore, ndSync will not connect to the protected repository in the future, even if the user is later connected through a supported IP address. To gain access to the repository through ndSync, the user must first logout of ndSync and then login again from a supported IP address.
I am on a Windows computer and the "synced","not synced" and other overlay icons do not appear. How can I get this working?
This is a well known Windows issue with applications that use overlay icons. (The Mac does not have this same issue.) As explained in articles like this, Windows only supports 15 overlay icons. ndSync needs 3 of those. If you have other file syncing software (like Box and Dropbox), those install their own overlays. If there are more than 15 overlays in total, some of the overlays will not be shown. The way to fix this is to ensure that the overlay icons that you want to see are listed at the top of the list of overlay icons installed on your Windows computer. That list is always ordered alphabetically by name, and the default name is provided by the vendor.
To fix this you need to be have good technical skills or ask your IT department. Indeed, you may need to rely on your IT department entirely if your computer is very locked down and you do not have access to the Registry Editor. Follow these steps:
- You need to open the Registry Editor (from the Search Box, type "regedit"), and then navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers.
- Then you need to reorder to list to ensure that the overlay icons you want are listed at the top. To do this, rename the settings by adding multiple spaces in front of the setting names. That will reorder the settings alphabetically.
- Apply the changes and then restart your computer.
The settings for ndSync are called "NdSyncNotSynchronized", "NdSyncSynchronized" and " NdSyncrhonizedContainerLimit". See the screen shot, showing those 2 settings after being edited to add more spaces in front, but before the computer has been restarted:
The installation of ndSync for Windows will not complete. How do I get that working?
You may have some Windows updates that have not completed yet. Please apply any outstanding Windows updates and try again.
What happens if I move content that is in the ndSync folder, either to another location in the ndSync folder or out of the ndSync folder?
Generally, the way that ndSync works is that it looks for actions made in the ndSync folder on the local computer and it tries to interpret those actions, because ndSync does not have control over actions take on the local file system.
For example, if a document is moved from a synced folder to an unsynced folder, ndSync interprets that as the document having been deleted from ndSync and ndSync sends a deletion command to the server.
Similarly, if the user moves content from one synced location to another synced location, ndSync may view that as deleting the content from one location and adding it as NEW content to the other. (This may instead be treated as a move, but assume that it will be treated as a deletion and add.) That means ndSync will send a deletion request for the moved content at the original location and an add request for the moved content in the new location.
Therefore, moving synced content from the local computer is generally discouraged.
Also note that if the user does not have the right -- in NetDocuments -- to delete the content that has been moved, then when ndSync sends the deletion request to NetDocuments, that request will fail and ndSync will resync that content from the server. Therefore, moving content may result in the content being restored to the original location and being added as separate and new content in the new location. The deletion request would likely fail either because the user does not have sufficient rights to delete the content (Admin rights) or because the repository has been configured to ignore ndSync deletions.
Note that starting in ndSync v2.3.4 for Windows and Mac (not yet released), moving synced content will be respected and treated as a move on the server.
Can I preconfigure ndSync for Windows using registry keys?
Yes. ndSync for Windows utilizes several categories of registry keys. These keys should be stored in the following location: "...\Software\NetDocuments\ndSync\" (either in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or HKEY_CURRENT_USER).
Host and Proxy
If ndSync is installed on a computer with an existing installation of ndOffice and there are no applicable registry settings unique to ndSync, ndSync will use the registry settings for ndOffice that are also applicable to ndSync. For example, NetDocuments host (like Vault (US), EU or AU), proxy settings, LoginRepoID and auto update settings. However, the settings from ndOffice can be overridden from the ndSync Settings dialog, unless the ndSync registry settings are in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch of the registry, in which case the user cannot override them.
These host and proxy settings specific to ndSync are available:
- Host: this should have a value like “vault.netvoyage.com,” “eu.netdocuments.com” or “au.netdocuments.com”
The registry keys governing auto update are described in more detail here:
The ShowLoginOnStartup registry key, with a value of “True” or “False”, can be added to control whether or not the ndSync login page appears when the user’s computer or virtual desktop starts up, if the user has not logged in already. (By default, the login page will appear.) This will help in virtual environments, so that the ndSync login page does not repeatedly appear to every user until they login.
The WasLaunched registry key, with a value of “True” or “False”, is responsible for showing the ndSync tour dialog on the first launch of ndSync. If its value is set to True, the tour will not be shown.
Note that ndSync is configured to automatically start every time a computer is restarted. To change this behavior, go to the Task Manager > Startup tab and disable ndSync from the startup list.
The registry keys governing the Circuit Breaker feature are described in more detail here:
- CircuitBreakerActivities=# (minimum 2; maximum 25)
- CircuitBreakerMinutes=# (minimum 1; maximum 10)
- LoginRepoID -- if this key is present and contains a RepositoryID, then when the user is shown the NetDocuments login page, the regular login screen will be bypassed and the user will be taken directly to the Federated Identity login page for that repository.
Typically, if registry key values are set in HKEY_CURRENT_USER, they will simply be treated as defaults, but the user can override them. If the values are set in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then the user cannot override the settings.
Can I preconfigure ndSync for Mac using .plist?
For the Mac, settings similar to the ndSync for Windows registry settings are stored in a file is called “com.netdocuments.ndSync.plist” saved to the “Library/Preferences” folder. ndSync will take its default settings from this file, but the user can override these settings from the Settings dialog in ndSync or by editing the values in this file.
A subset of the registry key settings available for ndSync for Windows are available:
- Host & proxy settings
- Startup settings