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Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Helpful | Level 5

There is a huge problem when using smart sync as a Mac user who has time machine setup to automatically back up the entire hard drive (including the dropbox folder). If this is the case the time machine backup will trigger each an every one file that is set to 'online only' to be downloaded locally. If the amount of data on dropbox exceeds the hard drive space it slows down the entire computer!

2 Accepted Solutions

Accepted Solutions
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Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Super User II
Super User II
The files aren't on the computer so your backup software can't back them up. If it tries to access the files, Dropbox is likely bringing them local just like it's supposed to do (no different from when you access a file that's Online Only; it's downloaded). Dropbox likely can't differentiate between you accessing a file or another application accessing the file.

Your best bet would be to add an exclusion to your backup set so that it doesn't attempt to backup any files that are marked as Online Only.

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Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Dropboxer
Dropboxer
 
Hey touchepas, let me follow-up on your last reply more closely (& thanks for taking the time to post your feedback here)!
 
You may keep in mind that it isn’t currently possible to avoid this behavior: 
 
However, I wonder whether there is a way to prevent dropbox from doing so if it is a 'read trigger' by time machine?
 
On the other hand though, I understand that this functionality is important to you & for that reason I’ve made sure to pass your comments & overall feedback on to our team for future consideration. 
 
Please don’t hesitate to post here again at any time in case you need further assistance & we’ll do our best to check back with you. Happy Friday! 

 


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

 

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View solution in original post

18 Replies 18
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Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Dropboxer
Dropboxer
Hey touchepas
 
Thanks for checking in with us on the Dropbox Community regarding this syncing question, let me send over some tips below!
 
You may keep in mind that back up services are set to see your actual files as they have their own versioning system & they need to recognize any changes by constantly monitoring the files in question, so as to complete the requested action. 
 
Off the top of my head, your best bet at the moment to use both apps would be to utilize the Selective Sync feature instead
 
Hopefully my tip helps you accomplish your task & please let me know here in case you have more questions. Wishing you a lovely weekend ahead! 

 


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

 

Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Best Answer' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

Highlighted

Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Super User II
Super User II
The files aren't on the computer so your backup software can't back them up. If it tries to access the files, Dropbox is likely bringing them local just like it's supposed to do (no different from when you access a file that's Online Only; it's downloaded). Dropbox likely can't differentiate between you accessing a file or another application accessing the file.

Your best bet would be to add an exclusion to your backup set so that it doesn't attempt to backup any files that are marked as Online Only.

View solution in original post

Highlighted

Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Helpful | Level 5

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to reply to this. I completely get as to why this is how dropbox behaves at present, i.e. that the time machine request triggers the download of the file. However, I wonder whether there is a way to prevent dropbox from doing so if it is a 'read trigger' by time machine?

 

What I really would like to continue doing is to be able to backup my dropbox folder to my time machine automatically as this gave me extra peace of mind that I physically have a copy of my important files. It was good enough for me to have this physical copy only of the files that are physically on my hard disk, i.e. I used selective sync.

 

Having smart sync is however a great new feature for me as I have a ton of files on my dropbox that I do not need regularly but which I really love being able to find via spotlight etc. 

 

So it looks like I'm between a rock and a hard place and for now need to exclude my dropbox folder from time machine and run a scripted backup from time to time from the command line to an extrenal drive using rclone. Given I'm using a laptop this is far less comfortable than using time machine over Wifi and I might of course forget to do the manual backup quite frequently.

Highlighted

Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Dropboxer
Dropboxer
 
Hey touchepas, let me follow-up on your last reply more closely (& thanks for taking the time to post your feedback here)!
 
You may keep in mind that it isn’t currently possible to avoid this behavior: 
 
However, I wonder whether there is a way to prevent dropbox from doing so if it is a 'read trigger' by time machine?
 
On the other hand though, I understand that this functionality is important to you & for that reason I’ve made sure to pass your comments & overall feedback on to our team for future consideration. 
 
Please don’t hesitate to post here again at any time in case you need further assistance & we’ll do our best to check back with you. Happy Friday! 

 


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

 

Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Best Answer' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

View solution in original post

Highlighted

Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Helpful | Level 5

Thanks very much Jane, it would be fantastic if there was a solution for this at some point!

Highlighted

Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Dropboxer
Dropboxer
Sure touchepas, I’ve already made sure to pass your interest on to a higher level of support, though you may also keep in mind that these suggestions are actively monitored through various channels by our team specialists. 
 
That said, you can rest assured that your voice is heard via the Community, as transparency is key to us frequenting the Forum. Cheers! 

 


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

 

Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Best Answer' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

Highlighted

Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Explorer | Level 3

That sounds like a great answer. How do you do that? How do you add an exclusion to a Time Machine backup that targets Dropbox online-files only?

 

AFAIK you only select files and folders in the Exclude window.  There is no "file type"  pattern matching or anything. And as soon as you select an online-file only,  it looks like the Mac starts downloading it right there in the Exclude dialog box. 

 

time-machine.jpg

 

 

 

 

I am hoping that since you suggested it, you know how to do it. I have hundreds of gigs in my Dropbox folder and there isn't a way for me to quickly identify in this dialog which are selectively synced or not.  Please share, thanks!

 

AM

Highlighted

Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Explorer | Level 3

That sounds like a great answer. How do you do that? How do you add an exclusion to a Time Machine backup that targets Dropbox online-files only?

 

AFAIK you only select files and folders in the Exclude window.  There is no "file type"  pattern matching or anything. And as soon as you select an online-file only,  it looks like the Mac starts downloading it right there in the Exclude dialog box. 

 

time-machine.jpg

 

 

 

 

I am hoping that since you suggested it, you know how to do it. I have hundreds of gigs in my Dropbox folder and there isn't a way for me to quickly identify in this dialog which is selectively synced or not.  Please share, thanks!

 

AM

Highlighted

Re: Time machine forces smart sync to download files locally!

Dropboxer
Dropboxer
Hey @Anne-Marie a., let me clarify in a bit more detail below! 
 
It’s my understanding that you’d like to follow my advice & make your files “Local” (so as to back them up in Time Machine)- which you can do in smaller batches using Selective Sync, is that correct? 
 
If so, please follow the steps listed here: 
 
#1. In case you have mixed state folders ☁️/  , you first have to make your files available locally withing the Dropbox folder. In case you don’t have the hard disk space to do so for the entire Dropbox folder in on go, you can Selectively Sync your content & repeat the backup within Time Machine until all your content is stored there. 
 
  1. Click the Dropbox icon from your menu bar. > Click on the  icon, and then select Preferences… from the menu. >Click Sync. > Click Change settings… 
  1. A window will appear with a list of all the main folders in your Dropbox folder:
  • The folders with a check next to them are synced to your computer.
  1. Uncheck any folders that you don't need to sync to your computer's hard drive.
  • Folders you uncheck will be removed from your hard drive, but will still be available on dropbox.com and on any other computers linked to your Dropbox account.
  1. When you're done, select OK.
 
#2. Once you finish backing up your content, you may exclude the Dropbox folder from Time Machine again & make your files Online-only as previously or adjust your settings according to your preference. 
 
I hope this is helpful to you Anne-Marie! 

 


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

 

Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Best Answer' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

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