cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Announcements
Tell us what you want to see on the Community here!
Close

Dropbox files & folders

Get in sync with the Dropbox Community. Our members can answer all your questions on Dropbox files and folders. Join a discussion or start your own today.

cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

Highlighted

Backup solution for smart-sync files

Explorer | Level 4

I am looking for a macOS app that can backup online-only smart-sync files. I am imagining a backup solution like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner that would also be able to download files that are online only in the backup process. Does this exist?

 

I did some research but was not able to find any solution.

 

I am NOT looking for a cloud-based solution but rather want to make a copy to an external backup drive.

 

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions
Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

Super User

Hey @cloudster, As Walter and Mark said, it is not natively possible. A possible workaround: 

 

  1. Create a virtual machine. In order to avoid mess up with the smart sync settings/state in your actual machine. 
  2. Connect the external/network drive to the host. 
  3. Create a share folder between the host and the virtual machine. The share folder is located in the external/network drive. 
  4. Now a bit tricky part: Dropbox folder cannot be moved to a network drive (even a usual share folder might be a network drive under a virtual machine). Workaround: you can create a data container in the network drive, and mount it as a real drive inside the virtual machine. For example, you can create an encrypted Truecrypt/Veracrypt data container (format it with a supported file system according to the virtual OS) stored in the shared folder, and mount it in the virtual machine. 
  5. Setup Dropbox in the virtual machine. Move the Dropbox folder to the mounted drive/data container. 
  6. Let the Dropbox sync everything locally. Make sure the network/external drive or the data container mount is not disconned/interrupted. 
  7. Once done, unlink/quit Dropbox application. Unmount data container. Now you have the backup in your external or network drive. You can mount the data container in any computer to access the data stored inside. 

View solution in original post

9 Replies 9
Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

Dropboxer

Hey there @cloudster - how are you today?

 

I'm not in the position to recommend a third party app or service for this one - just have in mind that this could possibly lead to your files being recalled and set to local again which in turn would fill up your computer's drive. 

 

As you probably know by now, many processes on a machine can look at files that may have not been manually opened and in order to fulfill these requests from these processes Dropbox would need to sync the files on your computer's drive. Examples of this include:

 

  • Backup services
  • Antivirus 
  • Recently used file lists
  • Third party applications that monitor files in general. 

I hope this information helps a tad and I'm leaving this thread open so other users can chime in. If there's anything else I can help with in the meantime, please let me know. Thank you! 

 

PS: Some additional things to note here: 

 

1. You can install our desktop app and then point your Dropbox Folder to your external drive - supposing it's on a supported format. 

2. You can choose not to have the desktop app installed at all and access your files only from the website

 

3. You can log into your account on the web and download the files you need on your external drive directly ( you'd need to point your browser's download folder to your external drive). 



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
Still stuck? Ask me a question!
Tips & Tricks Find new ways to stay in flow or share your tips on how you work smarter with Dropbox.

Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

Explorer | Level 4

Hi Walter,

 

thank you, that is good information but not quite what I am looking for. 

 

I guess one solution would be to have a NAS type external drive, e.g. a Synology drive and do cloud sync, and then exclude the dropbox folder when doing a backup of my computer's hard drive.

 

But I am curious if anybody has found a different solution / a backup software that "understands" smart-sync.

 

 

Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

Super User II
Ive not seen any cloudster, no. But what i AM seeing is a lot of people now starting to ask for it, so, while it doesnt SEEM to be an option at the moment it is certainly something that may be possible in the future.

No, what I can, however, foresee as a HUGE issue though is that as soon as the backup software touches the files to back them up they are going to be downloaded locally for the back up to happen. There isnt another way around backing them up unless some clever company can do it cloud only (cloud to cloud) via the API? Thats what I can see as the stumbling block - for this to work and the files to actually backup the files need to be locally downloaded, but, that then defeats the whole point of SmartSync.

 


- - -


Heart Did this post help you? If so please mark it for some Kudos below. 


 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.


 Did this post not resolve your issue? If so please give us some more information so we can try and help - please remember we cannot see over your shoulder so be as descriptive as possible! 


 

Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

Super User

Hey @cloudster, As Walter and Mark said, it is not natively possible. A possible workaround: 

 

  1. Create a virtual machine. In order to avoid mess up with the smart sync settings/state in your actual machine. 
  2. Connect the external/network drive to the host. 
  3. Create a share folder between the host and the virtual machine. The share folder is located in the external/network drive. 
  4. Now a bit tricky part: Dropbox folder cannot be moved to a network drive (even a usual share folder might be a network drive under a virtual machine). Workaround: you can create a data container in the network drive, and mount it as a real drive inside the virtual machine. For example, you can create an encrypted Truecrypt/Veracrypt data container (format it with a supported file system according to the virtual OS) stored in the shared folder, and mount it in the virtual machine. 
  5. Setup Dropbox in the virtual machine. Move the Dropbox folder to the mounted drive/data container. 
  6. Let the Dropbox sync everything locally. Make sure the network/external drive or the data container mount is not disconned/interrupted. 
  7. Once done, unlink/quit Dropbox application. Unmount data container. Now you have the backup in your external or network drive. You can mount the data container in any computer to access the data stored inside. 

View solution in original post

Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

Explorer | Level 4

Thank you all. I am a total computer dummy and don't know this vocabulary or these processes. (Elixir's answer might as well have been Sanskit. Nothing personal.) Mark's is a little clearer, but I'm still not sure.

My question is how do I back up SmartSync Online files and folders.

I'm on an older MacBook Air running 10.14.6 I have ~250 GB storage, showing ~73 GB free. I use both the DB website and the app, though I really don't understand the difference, and the app on my iPhone and iPad, and my questions about those are a separate topic.

 

Detail below.

1. My computer memory is full, I need to remove some files. One way is to move DB files to SmartSync online.

 

2.  I'd like to back everything up before I move the DB material. I have accidentally deleted so many things in the past, mostly because I don't know what I'm doing. I had started moving files/folders from DB Local to on-line to save space, but I don't know whether the on-line stuff will copy to my external hard drive backup disk, so I stopped until I can back everything up and be sure I know what I'm doing.(Early on, I lost a lot of files because I didn't know the difference between Alias and Duplicate/copy!)

 

3. From a previous Support post, it sounds as though the only way to back up on-line files to an EHD is to make them all Local again, one folder at a time, if room, then copy that folder to the EHD, then make it on-line again on the computer. And do I use the "Copy" command or "Duplicate" or drag them, or something else? Please be as explicit as you can.

 

5. What does this mean? "as soon as the backup software touches the files to back them up they are going to be downloaded locally for the back up to happen."

I don't think I use backup software. I think I just drag stuff to the EHD.

I'm always very nervous about anything happening automatically, because usually I don't understand what it does or how to fix it if I don't want it to.

 

6. Does all this apply to Photos? Photos *really* confuses me. I think I've lost all my pre-2012 photos in trying to back up my library. Probably an Apple problem, not a DB problem.

 

7. Finally, in the two years since your original post, has there been any progress towards making this backup situation any better?

 

I am very grateful for any help.

 

Kate

 

.

 

 

 

Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

New member | Level 2

Kate:

 

I'd recommend turning on SmartSync (if you didn't already), and then only making folders you really need local. Copying online-only folders to external storage is easy, just make a bunch of folders Local again (via the popup menu, under SmartSync), then let them download, copy them to the external storage, and finally make the folders online-only again once they're safely backed up. If you're like me, you rarely change online-only files, so they don't need to be backed up very often at all. I'd strongly recommend against using backup software that forces downloads (i.e. most backup software), because it'll just fill up your disk and cause problems. Manual copying to external disks is easier to do, and remember that Dropbox itself maintains an online backup for you.

 

Photos is terrible, and I'm with you on the confusion. I tried using Aperture for a while until Apple killed it off, and I've been putting off redoing my photo library forever, out of fear of losing photos. Adobe has good image-library solutions that work much better with Dropbox, but they cost too much money if you don't use any Adobe apps already.

 

I just came upon the Dropbox SmartSync problem this week when I switched over to it, but I feel the original post from two years ago is fairly close to my current experience/questions.

Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

New member | Level 2

I have a client who is looking for a way to backup all dropbox files to a cloud backup (Acronis) that we use. Acronis will backup Office 365 and Google drive but no options for Dropbox. I'm wondering if I just tell the Acronis client to backup the dropbox folder that lives on the computer if that will work....admit that I don't have a ton of experience with backing up - cloud to cloud. So any advice is welcome.

Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

Dropboxer

Hi @Charlie52, there is a possibility that this would work, however, I don't know how that service works or syncs.

 

It could cause unexpected behavior and might cause conflicts, or even deletions. I'd recommend checking with them directly to see if they have any recommendations on how to do this.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
Still stuck? Ask me a question!
Tips & Tricks Find new ways to stay in flow or share your tips on how you work smarter with Dropbox.

Highlighted

Re: Backup solution for smart-sync files

New member | Level 2

Acronis works like anyother backup - it backs up whatever you tell it to on a schedule you create. As far as I know it doesn't do anything except backup whatever you tell it to the first time, then subsequent backups it only backs up whatever has changed. Assuming that dropbox syncs with local folder on the users hard drive, I don't see why it would cause a problem.....of course this is the reason I asked....

 

It's essentially the same as a backup program installed locally and backing up to a local drive...just backs up to a cloud account instead.

 

I use dropbox some but not much. I personally backup my computer everynight - I have never tried to restore dropbox stuff but I have never had any issues with dropbox eiter, in terms of lost files or sync issues. On the other hand I don't use it nearly as much as some folks do...

 

Thanks for your input

Work Smarter with Dropbox

The way we work is changing. Share and discover new ways to work smarter with Dropbox in our community.

Sound good? Let's get started.
Need more support?