I can't get Cryptomator to work with either of my cloud providers - can someone take a look at my setup and give me some advice?


#1

Here’s my process:

I created a Cryptomator drive inside my local Dropbox folder and another one inside my local Sync folder. The problem I’m going to describe below happens with both.

  • I create a new document, title it something like “cryptomator test document” and save it to the My documents folder, which is what I do with all my documents.
  • I drag a copy of the newly created test document from My documents into the unlocked Cryptomator drive residing in my cloud folder - so there’s now one version in my local documents folder, and one in the cryptomator drive in the cloud folder.
  • I exit out of everything and close the drive.
  • I re-open the test document from its original location in My documents and edit it. Then I close the document.
  • I unlock my Cryptomator drive, click on the test document inside of it, and find that the changes I made to the local version of the document haven’t synced properly. The document inside of Cryptomator no longer matches the local version.

Sorry if this sounds really naive, but what am I doing wrong? I know that the appeal of platforms like Dropbox is the ability to drag a copy of a file or a folder into your Dropbox folder and then have any changes made to the local copy of the file(s) get synced automatically with Dropbox. I thought Cryptomator still allows for this functionality by running silently in the background, maintaining encryption but still syncing file-level changes made to the local version of your documents. Have I simply gotten the wrong impression of what Cryptomator is capable of?

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!


#2

Your way to deal with Dropbox files is very confusing to me. Nevertheless. You only need one cryptomator vault. You have a local folder which Dropbox does sync. Create your vault exactly here and let Dropbox do the sync.
Open the vault and then a virtual drive is shown (your vault). Place your file here. If you have a look at the Dropbox icon at the bottom right, you may notice a sync action. This is because Dropbox is syncing your encrypted data to online storage.
If you have a look in the folder where you have created your vault, you see a lot of crypt files (more than the amount of files that are actually encrypted. This is ok and right).

Hope I could help.


#3

Hi there. Maybe I should try and explain the situation using a different approach. I save all of my new documents to the local “My documents” folder (I’m running Windows 10). I never save files directly to the cloud folder, be it my OneDrive folder or Dropbox folder. How do I take these local files, stored in the “My documents” folder, and make it so that those files are backed up and synced to Dropbox/OneDrive/Sync/whatever cloud provider I choose and encrypted with Cryptomator. I would like to be able to work on the documents that are locally stored in the My documents folder and have any changes made to those documents mirrored in the copies saved to my Cryptomator vault.


Sync encrypted backup to cloud automatically
#4

Ah, ok. Cryptomator does nothing but encrypt your files stored in your vault. There’s no backup or sync function.

For your purpose you need an additional solution to sync your files from your local “My Documents” folder to the vault. I do this with the software “Personal Backup” (http://personal-backup.rathlev-home.de/). It allows you to start external Programms before and after the backup job.
My actual configuration does the following when starting a backup with PersonalBackup:

  1. Start cryptomator. Please make sure the “auto open vault” is activated. This will automatically open your vault when starting cryptomator and sets the always same drive, in my case “F:”
  2. Run the Backup Job. This will copy all new or changed files into the vault
  3. Open OneDrive. For syncing the now encrypted files to my online storage.

Of course you can use any other backup solution or online storage


#5

I see - that makes a lot more sense! When you say an additional solution to sync files between the local My Documents folder and the vault, do you mean something like Syncthing? That seems to be the most popular program I’ve heard about, although I’ve always had trouble wrapping my head around how it works.

How would “auto open vault” work if I have more than one Cryptomator vault? And if I set up syncing using either Personal Backup or something like Syncthing, will it run in the background thereafter? If syncing needs to be manually instigated when working with Cryptomator, then that doesn’t seem too different from what I do now, which is manually update the contents of a Veracrypt drive stored in the cloud folder. Being able to achieve real-time syncing with file encryption that runs in the background was my primary reason for using Cryptomator.


#6

Sorry I don’t know syncthing, but i guess it’s a backup Programm like many others. As i do have only one vault, please try if the auto open option works an more than one vault. I guess it will work because every vault gets its own file path. ( I’m on vacation and don’t have access to my computer atm).

It depends on the backup software and it’s options if there’s a configuration to automatically start cryptomator and then perform the backup (=sync your files to the vault).
In my case I do not have to do anything. The backup job is a windows task that runs automatically on defined days and then perform the three steps described above.

Again: this is not a cryptomator feature. It depends on your backup software. So maybe it’s a good idea to ask for setups at the community of your preferred backup software.


#7

Hi there. Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to this, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with school lately.

Is Personal Backup open source and has it been audited? I can’t find much information about it online. The only reason I was thinking of using Syncthing is because I’ve heard it’s the most popular open source file backup solution with many “eyes” on it. I have been having a lot of trouble setting it up though, so much so that I’ve thought of abandoning Syncthing entirely in favor of something more user friendly.

I’m also still pretty confused about how the sync and encrypt process works to begin with. The rough idea I have now is that you create a Cryptomator vault, copy over the local documents stored in My Documents that you want synced to said Cryptomator vault, put that vault into the sync folder designated by Syncthing or Personal backup (or any other file backup tool), and then create a copy of that sync folder and place it in the cloud. That doing all this will make it so that any changes you make to the local documents stored in My Documents will be synced with your Cryptomator vault. I’m trying to find a way to continue working within the My Documents folder, as I’ve done for many years, rather than working straight from a Cryptomator vault or the cloud.


#8

Hi.
You can find licence agreements on the Personal Backup site in the download section. It is free, but not open source. For further questions, please have a look at the FAQ or the online-help there. Again: you can use any backup program you feel comfortable with.

Its hard for me to follow your thoughts when you describe your process.
I guess there’s a general misunderstanding how cryptomator works.
Its simple as that:

  1. create a vault in your local DropBox folder. Please read this guide thoroughly.
  2. configure your backup software to make a backup of your folders “My Documents” etc. into your vault (in the guide, please see point 5). This means: the backup target is your virtual drive (cryptomator vault). The backup source is you “My Documents” folder.

yes.

no and yes. you can do this manually, but if you prefer to have an automatic process for this: use a backup software for this step.

Not at all. You don’t have to copy any cryptomator files locally.

At this point I’m out :slight_smile:
Why do you want to do this? Your encrypted files are already in the cloud as you have puttet the cryptomator vault into your local DropBox folder. The DropBox Client will automatically put the files into the cloud (encrypted)

This is exactly what you can achieve (without copying files manually) with the 2 steps above.


#9

no and yes. you can do this manually, but if you prefer to have an automatic process for this: use a backup software for this step.

I guess this is the part that I’m confused by. Right now I’m manually moving a copy of the documents and folders I want synced with Cryptomator into my Cryptomator vault. I understand why Cryptomator can’t detect changes made to the original local copies, but I don’t know how to use a file backup software to bridge this gap. Do I essentially do things in two layers? I’ve read that most file backup tools give you two folders that will get mirrored with each other. Do I keep one of those folders in my Cryptomator vault and the other stored somewhere locally on my machine, and then I move the copies of the documents and folders I want synced into the sync folder itself? (to be mirrored across both locations). As I said, what I want to be able to do is have certain documents and folders get backed up and synced with my Cryptomator vault automatically, while still being able to open and make changes to those documents as I normally would if they were only kept locally, through the My Documents folder.

I think I understand now that it’s not about putting the Cryptomator vault itself in the sync folder created by the file backup tool, it’s about getting the contents of the Cryptomator vault to sync with the local version of documents using the file backup tool, and then the vault can be placed directly in the cloud. I just need a little more clarification. Sorry if this was confusing!


#10

I kindly ask you to study the basics of backup methods and then pick up any backup software of your choice and just “play” with it.
This is not a cryptomator issue

No. Just work as normal on your local Dokuments (=“My Documents” =Backup Source)

Yes. But you dont have to create these folder(s) manually. The backup software will automatically create all needed folders with the first backup. Just configure the backup software that “target” folder is your virtual cryptomator drive.

no and NO!!
Source folder = My Documents (in your case).
Why the hell do you want to copy manually your local files in a directory for automatically syncing it to cryptomator? that does not make any sense?!?
Source Folder = "My Documents"
Target Folder = “Virtual drive”.
And if you would have played around with backup software, (like Personal Backup ;)), you would have noticed that most of the solutions offer a configuration to select detailed which folders or documents within the source should be backuped or which not. (not only “2 folders”)

and as I said, this is exactly what you can achieve with setting up a backup process into the vault (as I have described it several times)

exactly!