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Moving or Copying Dropbox To Another Computer

Moving or Copying Dropbox To Another Computer

jrlbell
Helpful | Level 6
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I just moved 80 Gbytes of Dropbox folders and files (not that much really) to my new computer. First I copied them to an external hard drive. Then I installed the Dropbox application on the new computer. Then I copied all of the files from the external hard drive to the Dropbox folder on my new computer. Six days later (yes, I have a slow but steady DSL Internet service), it's still uploading every one of those files. These files were already in the cloud and still on my old computer.

 

All I can ask is, "WHY!?" These files had already been uploaded and indexed on my old computer and existed in the cloud. Why would my new computer have to re-upload them and not just re-index them? It makes me think that it would be quicker just to download the files from the cloud (download speed on most Internet services being quicker than upload speed). But this also seems unnecessary since I can copy those same files much faster using an external hard drive or even my LAN for that matter.

 

This has happened to me before. It seemed ridiculous then and it still does.  It makes me want to discard cloud storage altogether and stick with redundant computers for backup and external hard drives for access on other devices.

 

So, anyway, can someone tell me how to avoid having to upload all the files all over again when moving or copying files from one computer to another? 

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Hannah
Dropbox Staff
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Hey @jrlbell, there are some steps you can follow, so that the application doesn't sync your Dropbox files, but only indexes them.

 

This however would require to have your Dropbox files already on your new computer and not on an external drive.

 

These steps are:

 

1. Rename your existing Dropbox folder to "Dropbox (old)" or similar. 
2. Install Dropbox and select the location that you want for the Dropbox folder. 
3. When the installation is finished, Dropbox will immediately start to sync. 
4. Pause syncing or exit Dropbox. 
5. Move only the content of "Dropbox (old)" into the newly created Dropbox folder. When the move is complete, and not before, resume syncing or re-launch Dropbox.

 

This should cause the app to index the files, instead of redownload them. 

 

I hope this helps.


Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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View solution in original post

15 Replies 15

Jay
Dropbox Staff
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Hi @jrlbell, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

 

Have you amended the bandwidth settings on the Dropbox desktop application for the files to upload or sync faster?

 

Did the Dropbox desktop application state that the files are syncing, or indexing, when you click the icon in the system tray/menu bar?

 

This will help me to assist further!


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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jrlbell
Helpful | Level 6
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Hi Jay,

 

Yes, about three days into the upload I went through the settings and realized that the Bandwidth for uploads was limited, so I changed that to unlimited.

 

The Dropbox app (hovering over taskbar icon) indicates (and indicated) "Uploading". When I click on the taskbar icon at the bottom of the window it simply says "synching." I'm down to 38 files left after more than a week (I believe it was a total of 48k files or 90 GB) to start. However, I can't say that the 38 files left aren't ones I've created since starting this whole thing. 

 

I do know what it looks like when Dropbox is simply indexing because I kept the dropbox on the old computer but moved the files (using the built-in move function) to a different drive. The indexing takes a infinitesimal fraction of the time.

 

Thanks for looking into this. It will help when I transfer files to another computer.

Walter
Dropbox Staff
Go to solution

Hey  @jrlbell, sorry to jump in, but could you clarify if syncing is still stuck at the same number of files or if the desktop app is 'up to date' now?

 

If so, a screenshot of the app's exact status and version as shown in your taskbar would be much appreciated. 


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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jrlbell
Helpful | Level 6
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Hi Walter,

 

It was never stuck at the same number of files to be uploaded or synced. I had no doubt that eventually everything would get uploaded. I was just wondering why the files had to be uploaded at all since they were already in the Dropbox cloud, already on another device, and were replicated exactly in the new computer's Dropbox folder from an external hard drive. It seems to me that they should have just needed a re-indexing, not an entire upload.

 

Anyway, after moving all of the very large files (> 5GB) and a bunch of medium sized files (100 MB <> 4.99 GB) from the Dropbox folder on my desktop, it finally reached the up-to-date stage. However, 7 or 8 days to upload 90 GB of files is just unacceptable to me. At that rate, backing up or syncing all of my 850+ GB of data would take two or three months to get to up-to-date.   

 

I work with some fairly large video, graphic, raw photos image, and ISO type files. One thing I noticed even prior to upgrading to this new computer is that it is next to impossible to work with large files when they are in the Dropbox folder and syncing. The second that Dropbox starts uploading (syncing) a large file, the file cannot be renamed or moved to a different folder and becomes kind of unusable in many applications because they are somehow locked by Dropbox.

 

I think the solution for me is to use Dropbox only for documents and smaller images (.jpg, .png, etc.) that I need to use on multiple devices and leave everything else in my desktop's non-Dropbox folders. That is the way I have operated for years, but I thought I'd would give the 2TB subscription a try. It's definitely not worth it unless you have very fast Internet upload speeds.

 

I still think that the Dropbox scanning feature is the best-in-breed and I like that my iPhone photos are automatically uploaded to my Camera Uploads folder so that I can readily access them on my desktop (oh yeah, I need to set that so it doesn't upload videos, i.e. large files,  automatically) . I'll continue to back up my files onto external hard drives because this is by far the fastest way to backup files.

 

Well, that's all for now.

 

John

Hannah
Dropbox Staff
Go to solution

Hey @jrlbell, thanks for the additional info and the clarifications.

 

Your feedback is also very valuable and I will make sure it's passed along to our team.

 

I'm not really clear on why you followed this process; adding files to your Dropbox folder (even if they already exist in your Dropbox account), would cause them to get uploaded again, thus the "Uploading" sync status.

 

In my opinion, it would have been faster to just allow the application to sync everything down, after installing the app to your new computer.

 

In any case, I'm glad to see that syncing is now finished and everything's gone back to normal, even if it was that slow.

 

And of course, your feedback will be passed along.

 

If you have any other questions, please let us know.


Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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jrlbell
Helpful | Level 6
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I had a fairly straight forward reason for copying the folders and files to my new computer.   I actually needed to use them  and I didn't want to wait 7 to 10 days (or who knows how long) for the files to download to my computer from cloud.

 

Now that I know how Dropbox works (or doesn't work) I will never do that again. 

 

My question remains though: why, if the exact same files are in the cloud and on my computer in the "Dropbox" folder (after I copied the files over) does Dropbox not simply reindex the files?

Nancy
Dropbox Staff
Go to solution

Hi @jrlbell! Hope you don’t mind me jump in. 

 

What you mentioned in your last message sounds correct; however, please keep in mind that sometimes the status of the Dropbox app may show as “syncing”, even though it’s actually indexing your files. This may still take some time though, depending on the number and size of your files.

 

Like Hannah suggested, if you need to do something similar in the future, it may be better to sync the files anew to your Dropbox app as online-only, and then make available offline only the files/folders you need access to on a more regular basis.


Nancy
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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jrlbell
Helpful | Level 6
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I guess I'm still looking for an answer to my original question which was, in a nutshell, how to move the Dropbox files and folders to the Dropbox folder on  a new computer quickly, via external hard drive or a network share, without them being uploaded all over again?  If this cannot be done, then maybe someone could confirm that it is not possible.

 

JB

Hannah
Dropbox Staff
Go to solution

Hey @jrlbell, there are some steps you can follow, so that the application doesn't sync your Dropbox files, but only indexes them.

 

This however would require to have your Dropbox files already on your new computer and not on an external drive.

 

These steps are:

 

1. Rename your existing Dropbox folder to "Dropbox (old)" or similar. 
2. Install Dropbox and select the location that you want for the Dropbox folder. 
3. When the installation is finished, Dropbox will immediately start to sync. 
4. Pause syncing or exit Dropbox. 
5. Move only the content of "Dropbox (old)" into the newly created Dropbox folder. When the move is complete, and not before, resume syncing or re-launch Dropbox.

 

This should cause the app to index the files, instead of redownload them. 

 

I hope this helps.


Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, give it a Like below to let us know.
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