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Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Not applicable

Hi there,

I have two computers that I will call "PC" and "Laptop" that run Windows 7.

I decided that Pictures (the system folder in Windows 7) should be inside the Dropbox folder. So I moved it on PC, and it is now syncing, namely uploading files.

My question regards the computer, Laptop. I could simply wait for Laptop to sync Pictures by downloading everything. But there are about 20GB so it would take a lot of time and bandwith which is not convenient. As it happens, I already have an old backup of Pictures on Laptop. So I'm thinking I could also move Pictures inside Dropbox on Laptop. And I'm guessing Dropbox will figure out that this is an old version and sync it with the online version that is up to date (synced from PC), adding recent pictures.

I'm pretty sure this would work. But I'm still a bit scared that Dropbox may think the (outdated) version of Pictures on Laptop is the newest version (since Dropbox will see it later in time) and that the sync on PC deletes recent pictures there!

So, before to proceed, I'd like confirmation that it will work out, and also I'd like to understand the logic: why will Dropbox NOT think it's the new version of Pictures?

Thanks a lot for your attention.

28 Replies 28

Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Daphne
Dropboxer
Hey there @anonymous,
 
So firstly, I’m assuming that the old back up you have of the Photos folder contains the same content as the current version minus the new additions, is that correct? That’s to say that the photos in the current Photos folder haven’t been recently edited/changed so they are now different from their copy in the back up.
 
If that’s the case, then I can suggest that your method will work well! I’ll go through the exact steps though just to make sure we’re on the same page too:
 
  1. Sync the entire Photos folder from PC and check the sync status for Dropbox is “Up to date”.
  2. If you haven’t already, download and install the desktop app on Laptop and sign into your account.
  3. Once signed in the app will start to sync, at this point you can pause syncing
  4. Copy the content of the back up Photos to the Dropbox folder on Laptop and resume syncing.
 
The desktop app will index the files you have placed into the folder and check if you have them in your account online. The files that you uploaded from your PC that are not then present in the Laptop’s Dropbox folder will sync down to your Laptop. So, your method won’t result in files being deleted from the Photos folder. 
 
Hope this helps to clarify the matter, let me know if you have any other questions - Thanks!

Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Not applicable

Hi Daphne,

This does answer the first question, namely it confirms that it will work. Thank you for that, and for getting to it so quickly.

My second question was, "why will Dropbox NOT think it's the new version of Pictures?" I'd like to understand the logic to feel more confident in similar operations, now and in future. After all Dropbox will be presented, AFTER syncing from PC, with a NEW state of Pictures on Laptop. So how can I be confident that, when Dropbox see the new state of Pictures on Laptop, it doesn't think that this is the new desired state and proceeds to delete newer pictures on PC? Do you see what I mean?

Thank you.

Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Daphne
Dropboxer
Hey @anonymous,
 
Apologies there, you’re right that I didn’t address that part in detail! So this would be the reason I mentioned in the steps to pause syncing before adding the content to your Dropbox folder rather than while sync is in progress.
 
If you move the content while syncing is in progress it can result in unexpected behaviour, which could indeed result in potentially deletion of files (this is unexpected so I can’t say for sure the outcome). We recommend pausing the sync so that you can take this action of simply copying the content over to the Dropbox folder without the risk of unexpected behaviour. 
 
Since the files that you will copy over are the same as what would be syncing, you can think of it as tricking the app into thinking it has already synced this content. So, when sync is resumed the app will quickly index what is there and continues to sync the data from your account online. If you were to add the folder while the syncing was live, then this could result in the app thinking this is the new state of the folder as it will “see” the action of the folder addition.
 
Hope this helps - Cheers!

Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Not applicable

Thanks again @Daphne for your quick, detailed and relevant answer! I get it and it makes sense.

Yet to be entirely honest I am not totally confident in the operation, both because of the explanation and because I'm not sure that your requirements mentioned at the beginning of your first answer are met: some pictures may have been edited in the current Pictures folder, compared to the backup; also there must have been some reorganization with changes in folders and pictures moved around.

At this point I am thinking syncing Laptop from scratch (without using the backup) may be better (safer) even if it takes a few days. Or I could backup the folder on PC before the operation and then try do the sync on Laptop with the backup and try to check that everything went well. Thanks for your help.

Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Daphne
Dropboxer
Not a problem @anonymous! 
 
I would agree with you there, if you’re not sure the files are actually the same then it would be best to either just allow the app on the Laptop to sync the files down or to make a new back up from the PC Photos folder and move that over with the previous steps.
 
If you have any other questions then please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here, I’m more than happy to help - Cheers!

Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

@anonymous wrote:
...

At this point I am thinking syncing Laptop from scratch (without using the backup) may be better (safer) even if it takes a few days. ...


Hi @anonymous,

'Few days', may be You are using too slow network. Probably (if the PC and Laptop are on same place) You can speed up, using 'Enable LAN sync' option in 'Preferences -> Bandwidth'. :wink:

Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Not applicable

Thanks @Здравко for the suggestion, actually I think I will wait for the first sync to complete, then make a copy of the whole thing to an external drive, then copy it to Laptop, ignoring my old backup, that way I should be fine.

Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

Yes @anonymous, of course, I also suppose that should be fine. My proposal was in context that You expect 20GB to be transferred for 'few days', which is too much, even for not too fast network. Reasonable time have to be less than a day, I think. On LAN context, even faster, few hours. Even more, possibly double transferring, to and from external drive could be even slower as overall, and additional risk, possible side effect, is introduced.

Good luck!

Re: Speeding up a sync with an old backup

Not applicable

Hello there,

I'd like to follow up on this please.
I proceeded to complete the up-sync from PC.
Then I decided, in order to speed things up even more, to do a complete backup of the Dropbox folder (including Pictures) to an external drive, and then update my Dropbox folder on Laptop with my backup (I actually used Goodsync for this step, which is a software I own, like and am familiar with).

At this point, I should have the exact same content in the Dropbox folder on PC, in the backup on the external drive, and in the Dropbox folder on Laptop. I connected Laptop to the Internet and expected Dropbox to tell me that the Dropbox folder was up to date.

Not at all! It worked for a long time and then told me that it would proceed to sync 40,000 files!

What is going on, and what would you advise to do? Thank you.

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