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Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Steve_in_DE
Helpful | Level 6

I have a win10 PC.  In an attempt to include my desktop folder (50GB of files) in dropbox, I inadvertently moved the location of the contents of the Desktop to "E:/dropbox" rather than "E:/dropbox/Desktop".  Now, my dropbox folder IS my Desktop folder, and vice-versa!  Yikes!  Now everything in my dropbox folder also appears on my desktop!  

Now, when I right-click on the dropbox folder and choose "properties", I get the same "location" tab that I would normally get when right-clicking on my Desktop folder.

Even before I created this mess, my dropbox folder contains 800GB.

I need to figure out how to separate the Desktop folder (with all it's system files) from the dropbox folder.  Any thoughts on a process here?

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Steve_in_DE
Helpful | Level 6

Walter,

I managed to sort things out.  Here's what I did.

1. Disabled the wifi network adaptor to assure I would stay offline until finished.

2. I rebooted to safe mode.

3. My desktop/dropbox combo folder was on the E drive, so I created two temp folders on the root of the E: drive:  TEMP DESKTOP CONTENTS and TEMP DROPBOX CONTENTS.  To facilitate all the juggling to come, I moved everything out of dropbox to those two folders.  Despite being about 800GB of stuff, moving the files happened immediately.

4. I couldn't relocate the (now empty except for system stuff like the recycle bin) desktop system folder directly to E:/dropbox/desktop - something about the parent-child folder relationship.   So then I right-clicked on the folder, went to "Properties", then the "location" tab, and relocated the desktop to its default location on C:/

5. I then did the same process again to set up the desktop folder INSIDE the dropbox folder - created a new folder called "Desktop" inside dropbox, then used the dialog box to "locate" the folder inside the dropbox.

6. I then moved all the files from the two TEMP folders to their proper homes on the desktop and in dropbox.

At that point everything was where it needed to be.  I rebooted and turned the wifi adaptor back on.  The desktop and dropbox folders aren't literally the same folder any longer, my desktop with it's 50GB of files is continually backed up by dropbox, and the 750GB that live inside dropbox (including my documents folder) are back where they belong.

THANK YOU for your suggestions.  Even though I didn't do things as you suggested, it got me to the answer.  Dropbox is now busily indexing 30k files.

Steve

 

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10 Replies 10

Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Walter
Dropboxer

Hello Steve - welcome to the Community!

At first, allow me to clarify that your Dropbox folder is just a normal folder on your hard drive - only with syncing capabilities. Therefore, if you drag and drop files into the Dropbox folder, those files will be moved instead of copied.

It's common to assume Dropbox works like a network drive because of its many online features. However, your Dropbox folder is actually a normal folder and its contents are stored on your hard drive. The Dropbox application only watches your Dropbox folder for changes and syncs those changes online and to your other computers. One of the benefits of this way of syncing is always having access to your files, even while you are offline.

For more information on moving files versus copying them, visit our Help Center article:

https://help.dropbox.com/installs-integrations/desktop/files-move-instead-of-copy

This means that all you'd need to do here is move your desktop's files out of your Dropbox folder and let the app sync the changes until it shows 'Up to date'. 

When it comes to your concern though, could you first forward me the exact status of the desktop app on the affected computer and a screenshot of how it looks like on your end so I can advise further? 

Thanks so much!


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Steve_in_DE
Helpful | Level 6

Walter,

My issue really is this:  I wanted to back up everything on my desktop.  I figured I would put my desktop INSIDE my dropbox folder.  As the desktop is a system folder, there's a process for moving it's location.  I went through that process (find "desktop" inside my user folder, right click, choose "location" and pick a new location), but instead of designating the new location as "E:/dropbox/desktop", I just chose "E:/dropbox".  So now, my dropbox folder ALSO acts as the desktop system folder.

Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Walter
Dropboxer

So you moved your Dropbox Folder through the app's preferences to the wrong location Steve? Am I on the right track?

Have you tried moving it back using these steps?

https://help.dropbox.com/installs-integrations/desktop/move-dropbox-folder 

Let me know what you find!

PS: The information I asked for in my initial response would also help paint a better picture of the matter at hand and how you should move forward with the current task. 


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
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Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Steve_in_DE
Helpful | Level 6

No that is not correct.  

My dropbox folder is placed at E:/dropbox.

My desktop folder, which by default is at C:/Users/Steve/Desktop, was accidentally reassigned TO the dropbox folder.  My intention was to reassign it to a new desktop folder INSIDE the dropbox folder, E:/dropbox/Desktop.

As a system folder, the desktop folder (as I understand it) cannot simply be dragged to another location, it needs to be "relocated".  See the picture, which is a screen grab of what I get from right-clicking on the dropbox folder now...

I cannot restore the default location, as because the dropbox folder and desktop folder contents are now mixed together, it's all too big.  Maybe if I got an external drive as a temporary measure...

dropbox properties.jpg

Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Walter
Dropboxer

You could use selective sync to free up space while you go if needed Steve:  

https://help.dropbox.com/installs-integrations/sync-uploads/selective-sync-overview 

That being said, note that a screenshot of how your desktop looks like would be better so as to have a visual we can work on too.

Thanks for your cooperation. 


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
:arrows_counterclockwise: Still stuck? Ask me a question!
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Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Steve_in_DE
Helpful | Level 6

My desktop is chock full of folders and files, a combination of what what was originally there and the contents of my dropbox folder.

So then to be able to make the desktop folder less "weighty" and be able to move it somewhere else, I will attempt the following.  Please tell me if this will work.

EDIT: THIS IS NOT WHAT I EVENTUALLY DID.

1. use selective sync on the entire contents of the dropbox folder.

2. move the files and folders that "belong" in dropbox into a temp folder outside of the dropbox folder somewhere on the E:/ drive.  Now what's remaining are the 50GB of files that "belong" on the desktop.

3 create a folder called "desktop" inside the dropbox folder.

4. use the dialog box I showed you earlier to relocate the desktop folder to E:/dropbox/desktop.  This will move the remaining 50GB of files in E:/dropbox to the new desktop folder I created in the prior step, including the system files that I have no access to ("this PC", "recycle bin", etc).

5. return the "proper" contents of the dropbox folder from the temp folder to the dropbox folder.

6. Turn off selective sync on everything.  Hopefully dropbox will see the new file structure without any trouble.

 

Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Steve_in_DE
Helpful | Level 6

By the way the reason I suggested moving files to a temp location, then replacing them later, rather than deleting them and letting selective sync put them back later, was to save the upload time for restoring 800GB of files.  If my other plan is not viable I can still turn on selective sync on everything that "belongs" in dropbox, reshuffle my desktop folder, then turn selective sync off to allow dropbox to restore my local copies.

Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Steve_in_DE
Helpful | Level 6

EDIT: THIS IS NOT EXACTLY WHAT I EVENTUALLY DID.  SEE THE POST BELOW.

OR HOW ABOUT THIS...

1. put my computer in airplane mode to take it offline.

2. move the proper contents of the dropbox folder to a temp location outside of dropbox.

3. set up my new desktop folder, which will remove the association between the dropbox folder and the desktop system folder, and move the remaining 50GB of files to the new desktop folder.

4. put the files I removed earlier back into the dropbox folder

5. get back online and let dropbox see the new file structures

Re: Mistake! I assigned the desktop folder to the dropbox folder!

Steve_in_DE
Helpful | Level 6

Walter,

I managed to sort things out.  Here's what I did.

1. Disabled the wifi network adaptor to assure I would stay offline until finished.

2. I rebooted to safe mode.

3. My desktop/dropbox combo folder was on the E drive, so I created two temp folders on the root of the E: drive:  TEMP DESKTOP CONTENTS and TEMP DROPBOX CONTENTS.  To facilitate all the juggling to come, I moved everything out of dropbox to those two folders.  Despite being about 800GB of stuff, moving the files happened immediately.

4. I couldn't relocate the (now empty except for system stuff like the recycle bin) desktop system folder directly to E:/dropbox/desktop - something about the parent-child folder relationship.   So then I right-clicked on the folder, went to "Properties", then the "location" tab, and relocated the desktop to its default location on C:/

5. I then did the same process again to set up the desktop folder INSIDE the dropbox folder - created a new folder called "Desktop" inside dropbox, then used the dialog box to "locate" the folder inside the dropbox.

6. I then moved all the files from the two TEMP folders to their proper homes on the desktop and in dropbox.

At that point everything was where it needed to be.  I rebooted and turned the wifi adaptor back on.  The desktop and dropbox folders aren't literally the same folder any longer, my desktop with it's 50GB of files is continually backed up by dropbox, and the 750GB that live inside dropbox (including my documents folder) are back where they belong.

THANK YOU for your suggestions.  Even though I didn't do things as you suggested, it got me to the answer.  Dropbox is now busily indexing 30k files.

Steve

 

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