Apps and Installations
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I've installed Dropbox on my new laptop (Windows 10) with a 235GB hard drive and I've chosen online-only at the installation. Nonetheless, Dropbox has filled my hard drive and made my laptop completely unusable. I've checked all my folders for online-only, and there was one which was not set to online-only, the rest were. I've tried several times to set the last folder to online-only but I didn't succeed, since it still kept showing the option of online-only. I have no idea why that one folder was not set to online-only, and also that one folder by itself was not big enough to fill my hard drive. I couldn't see any solution to this puzzle, but since I desperately needed a solution, as I couldn't download even one file to my laptop due to a completely full hard drive, I set all my Dropbox folders in selective sync to not show on the laptop. That didn't make any difference to my hard drive either, it's still completely full. In fact, very annoyingly, I kept getting notifications from Dropbox asking me to free up some space, since it cannot sync files. Of course there was nothing that I could free up (it's a brand new laptop, so I don't even have temp files), as the space was taken up by Dropbox...
As my next desperate act, I uninstalled Dropbox from my laptop, and now I have the following weird situation. In file view, I see only one file in Dropbox, which was somehow outside of all the folders, so it is showing there, unlike all the folders which I deselected in selective sync. This is a 300KB file. However, when I look at my Dropbox folder in storage, it shows that Dropbox is occupying 73GB! (apparently the rest of the 235GB is taken up by system files, and 102GB is needed for system restore). This is a completely bizarre situation. Now you will probably tell me to go ahead and delete the Dropbox folder on my laptop, and this may (or may not) free up my 73GB hard disk space. However, at this point I am really paranoid about anything related to Dropbox, since so far nothing has worked the way it is supposed to, and it's driving me crazy that everything I find on the internet says that smart sync (online-only) and selective sync should work - well, they didn't work for me, quite the opposite, Dropbox has completely destroyed my laptop (so far)...
So, even though I have uninstalled Dropbox, I don't trust anything about Dropbox, and I am nervous about deleting the Dropbox folder on my laptop, as I don't want to lose my files in Dropbox. I cannot even do a partial delete to test the situation, as I don't see any folders under Dropbox (due the deselecting all folders in selective sync). I've tried to delete the one remaining file under Dropbox on my laptop to test whether that would change anything in my Dropbox online, but I received an error message. The error message says that "an unexpected error is keeping you from deleting the file." At this point this is not so unexpected... everything is going wrong, and this whole situation is very confusing. Can anyone tell me what's going on? Can anyone hep me out and tell me what to do? And most importantly, can anyone reassure me that whatever happens on this laptop, it won't make me lose my files from Dropbox? I would really appreciate it.
Hi @silvia24, I'd be more than happy to help!
First off, if you make sure that the app is indeed uninstalled from the device, you can go ahead and take any action to the Dropbox folder, or the file without that action affecting your content online.
Now, in order to solve what could possibly be going on here, you'd need to install the app again to your computer, and start over. Before you do that, I'd suggest you restart your device.
Keep in mind, that the process you followed (about choosing online-only) during installation, sounds the correct way to achieve what you wanted.
I now have two suggestions to make: one being that you repeat the steps all over again, choose for the content to sync as online-only, and if you come across any issues, you can let me know, so we can resolve it, and proceed troubleshooting this.
The second one being, that you choose selective sync during installation for all of your folders (it'd be under the advanced settings). Once you do that, you can then sync locally to the computer, each folder individually, and gradually. Once a folder is back to the device, as local you can then choose online-only for the folder.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to let me know!
I appreciate your taking the time to answer, and sorry for my late reply; I've been traveling.
I will follow your suggestions which make complete sense, but as I have mentioned I am paranoid about deleting the Dropbox folder (before reinstalling Dropbox), since nothing goes the way it is supposed to, so I have decided to order an external hard drive first and save all my files there prior to deleting the Dropbox folder, which scares me, even though I understand that it no longer communicates with my Dropbox folder online as I've unistalled the app.
So, I can only get back to you afterwards, and this will take a few days.
Hi @silvia24, don't worry and definitely take all the time you need!
I would also suggest an external hard drive if you're not feeling confident.
Test everything out, and let me know more, once you've gathered all the info.
I just wanted to let you know that I managed to resolve the problem, at last. I did get the external drive first and saved everything (which took several days), and then I double-checked that the Dropbox app was uninstalled and made sure that the laptop was disconnected from my Dropbox online. Then I deleted the Dropbox folder on the laptop, and afterwards I started the Dropbox app installation again.
In the meantime I'd found an old thread somewhere, where actually several people had similar issues to mine, not being able to stop Dropbox from filling up their hard drives, quite inexplicably. It's a very small minority of Dropbox users who are affected by this, and it was suggested there that this may happen when a third party overrides the default Dropbox installation, such as an antivirus program, firewall, or some organization. The latter applies to me, as I don't have full admin rights on my computer which is owned by my university. Of course my university claims that this has nothing to do with how Dropbox acted on my laptop, but I'm convinced that all my troubles are actually due to the fact they they've managed to create some settings on my laptop (unintentionally) which resulted in overriding the default settings and installation procedure for the Dropbox app.
So, the procedure that worked for me under these circumstances was the following: after installing the Dropbox app, I deselected all my folders on my laptop in selective sync first and let that sync (or, actually, not sync...) for about a day. Then I made sure that the "Save hard drive space automatically" was on in my Dropbox Preferences, and subsequently selected my folders to make them visible again in selective sync, ensuring that all of them were set to online only. This sequence did the trick. I believe that the key step that I was missing before was to immediately de-select all the Dropbox folders in selective sync after installing the app, which actually stopped Dropbox from syncing all the files to the hard drive, unlike simply selecting the online-only option from the beginnig which did not make any difference and never worked. Afterwards I was able to re-introduce these folders in the online-only mode, which was not possible before.
I hope that this solution will be useful for others who have similar troubles to mine , which makes computers with small hard drives unusable.
Also, thanks for your help! I appreciate it.
Glad to hear that you managed to successfully do this @silvia24!
Thanks for your guidance, in order for other users to also keep those tips in mind. If you need anything else, let me know!
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