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Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Helpful | Level 5

Can anyone explain the difference between using smart sync online only vs regular dropbox? With regular dropbox I copy a folder with files to dropbox and then delete the folder on my local computer to save the hard drive space. The folder and files are available via the dropbox favorite in finder.  If I enable smart sync and select online only then the folder and files are available via the dropbox favorite in finder. Isn't the result exactly the same? If so, is there some other benefit to using smart sync?

11 Replies 11
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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @ctctc, thanks for posting your question!

It sounds like you’re referring to using selective sync with the normal sync. This is perfectly fine for removing folders entirely from your local machine.

Smart Sync allows users to view their entire file structure, without needing to ‘remove’ your folders from the machine, since they would be online-only. If you ever need to access a file, that you might’ve had ‘removed’ using selective sync on its folder, then you can still open it with Smart Sync.

I hope this helps clarify the differences between the two features!


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


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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Helpful | Level 5

Thx Jay.


It sounds like you’re referring to using selective sync with the normal sync. This is perfectly fine for removing folders entirely from your local machine.

No I'm not refering to selective sync, I'm referring to the way I've used regular dropbox for many years where the folder with files is available online only.


Smart Sync allows users to view their entire file structure, without needing to ‘remove’ your folders from the machine, since they would be online-only. If you ever need to access a file, that you might’ve had ‘removed’ using selective sync on its folder, then you can still open it with Smart Sync.


This is exactly how I've been using regular dropbox where the folder and files  are still available via the dropbox favorite in finder.


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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Super Collaborator | Level 20

That what you can see in your "favorite" in "finder" is a regular folder which gets keep itself in sync with Dropbox. This folder content engage local space, still. Using "Smart Sync", engaged space gets significantly lower - folder structure you can see then, is empty in fact.

Hope this gives some clarity.

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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Helpful | Level 5

I have a computer who's hard drive has only 32 GB of free space. So I copied a 211 GB folder, and all of its files, to dropbox. It now appears under Dropbox in the favorites section of Finder. The original folder is still in its original location in documents and folders. The hard drive is still showing 32 GB of free space, so the folder in dropbox does not take up any more space on the hard drive. How does that effect your statement that "this folder content engage local space, still"?

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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Super Collaborator | Level 20

One possible reason you are already  using "Smart Sync". Did you check your application settings? Another possibility is you are using different partitions.

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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Helpful | Level 5
thx for the reply. Smart sync is not enabled and there is only one partition on the hard drive. Must be something else.
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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Super Collaborator | Level 20

Wow... That would be really magic. Yes, for sure there is some reason. Did you check actual filesystem, where original file sit on and where the copy sit on, aren't the same thing? Try something like in terminal:

df path/to/original/file.ext
df another/to/copy/file.ext

Do the partition drive in the both result is the same or not? What is the icon on the file in Dropbox folder - green check mark or something like a cloud?

 

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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Helpful | Level 5

when I enter df /Users/johndoe/Dropbox/Project Archive, or df c/Users/johndoe/Dropbox/Project Archive in a terminal window it returns a message that there is no such file or folder.

 

green check marks on the folder and all subfolders and files.

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Re: Smart Sync vs Regular Dropbox

Super Collaborator | Level 20

I suppose your Dropbox copy is "/Users/johndoe/Dropbox/Project Archive" (or least the folder where the copy is in). Your problem here is the space between words Project and Archive. By default any space in the command line is command parameters separator. That's why df command tries to touch two places: "/Users/johndoe/Dropbox/Project" and "Archive", not one. You should escape somehow any space in a path/filename, so everything not be split, but interpreted together! One easy way is entire path be set in quotes, like:

df "/Users/johndoe/Dropbox/Project Archive/file.ext"

So, you shouldn't receive such error anymore. If need apply same for the other path, too.

Another possibility, also. Are you sure that you actually copied the file you mentioned above? The default action on "drag and drop" can vary, depending on where you had drag the file from and drop it to! Sometime this is "copy" (between partitions), but sometime "move" (in a single partition borders). Be careful, if have moved a file - engaged space will not change, of course.

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