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Configuring a new Mac purchase with a large Dropbox, prob on external drive?

Configuring a new Mac purchase with a large Dropbox, prob on external drive?

Ramon F.1
Explorer | Level 4

Hello all --

I'm a heavy Dropbox user looking for recommendations on configurations for a new Mac. My iMac is on its last legs and I'm looking to upgrade. I've had mixed experiences with the Fusion Drive so I'm hoping to go SSD-only for speed and reliability. However I have a large (2TB+) Dropbox folder, at least 1.5TB of which I will want locally cached, and while there is a 3TB fusion drive option, there is only a 1TB internal SSD option.

What I'd like to do is get a new iMac with a 1TB SSD, but then store the Dropbox folder on an external SSD drive. I know that Dropbox officially doesn't support being installed on external drives. The consensus I've been able to dig up in these forums and elsewhere online seems to be that the primary risk is Dropbox running if it can't find it's folder on the external drive for some reason, notably because the drive may not yet be available at boot time.

There are utilities out there that allow you to configure what apps launch at boot time as well as their startup sequence. This includes, for example, saying "only launch app XYZ after volume ABC has mounted". I believe this should allow me to defer Dropbox launch until the external drive is available. (https://www.peterborgapps.com/lingon/ is an example of an app that enables this)

My questions are:

  1. Have I missed some other hardware configuration for Macs that support a large locally cached Dropbox folder on modern Mac hardware?
  2. Assuming that I need to go with an external hard drive, is the state of Dropbox in 2019 still that this isn't supported?
  3. Are there any other failure modes other than "can't find the folder at boot time" on OSX that I should be aware of? Or any other insights as to why my proposed approach wouldn't work?

Thanks in advance for your time,

Ramon

 

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: Configuring a new Mac purchase with a large Dropbox, prob on external drive?

Rich
Super User II

Correct...

If the Dropbox app can't see the Dropbox folder, it could be a problem. This could be because the app started before the drive was mounted, the drive was disconnected while Dropbox was running. the drive loses power while Dropbox is running, etc.

If you're going to run Dropbox on an external drive, I'd strongly recommend having another backup solution in place (and no, Dropbox is not a backup solution).

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3 Replies 3

Re: Configuring a new Mac purchase with a large Dropbox, prob on external drive?

Rich
Super User II

1) A larger internal drive that will hold everything you need it to.

2) No, external drives are still not supported.

3) Any failure that would result in the operating system not seeing the drive, including if the drive is simply unplugged from the computer or loses power.

Re: Configuring a new Mac purchase with a large Dropbox, prob on external drive?

Ramon F.1
Explorer | Level 4

Thanks @Rich, unfortunately #1 isn't an option for me (i.e. not possible to get an internal SSD configuration larger than 1 TB).

For #3, can you confirm that "seeing the drive" means "the drive has successfully been mounted by the OS"?

Re: Configuring a new Mac purchase with a large Dropbox, prob on external drive?

Rich
Super User II

Correct...

If the Dropbox app can't see the Dropbox folder, it could be a problem. This could be because the app started before the drive was mounted, the drive was disconnected while Dropbox was running. the drive loses power while Dropbox is running, etc.

If you're going to run Dropbox on an external drive, I'd strongly recommend having another backup solution in place (and no, Dropbox is not a backup solution).

View solution in original post

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