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Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Reconnecting synch to external drive?

New member | Level 2

Because my haddrive lacked space, I set up Dropbox to synch to an external drive connected to my MacBookAir. However, whilst travelling I disconnect the portable (external) drive and when reconnecting Dropbox fails to find the path back to the Dropbox folder on the external drive.

I have tried to change the path in the Dropbox advanced settings but all that does is create a Dropbox/Dropbox folder which would obviously defeat the purpose. 

 

Does anyone know how I can reconnect Dropbox to my external drive to ensure it continues to synch?

 

Thank you. 

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Helpful | Level 5

OK, here's the fix for Mac.  First, rename your existing folder of files on the external drive, I chose something appropriate, "ScrewedUpDropbox."  Then start from ground zero, quit DB and toss the folder it created on the system drive. Startup and relink to dropbox, let it create that folder on the system drive again and as soon as it starts syncing, pause it.  Go to Preferences, change the dropbox folder location to your External HD and hit OK through the prompts.  Wait for Dropbox to do its thing reloacting the folder.  Before unpausing, go to the external drive in the finder and move all of your folders in "ScrewedUpDropbox" into the newly created "Dropbox" folder that's now there.  Then unpause syncing.  It will resync to all your files without copying, takes a fraction of the time. Whew!

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12 Replies 12

Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Collaborator | Level 8

Hmm, it sounds like when you're linking the folder back up you are placing it inside the Dropbox Folder instead of leaving it in the parent directory. Basically this is like copying a folder and then pasting it inside itself.

 

Make sure that the path is pointing at the exact same folder that it was set up as before.

 

It sounds like you were really close to getting it to work, just one file under. With that said, you have to be careful when using external drives this way. By default Dropbox isn't really set up to do file management on external drives so you're going to have to work harder to get it to do what you want.

 

If you do not have to work with these files on a regular basis, you might want to look at using selective sync to only keep the files you need on your computer and keep the rest on Dropbox's servers. If you have not already done so, this should free up some space.

 

One last thing to check is to make sure that the external drive is being given the same drive letter, as this could also break the pathing. Depending on set up, this might change each time you plug it into your computer.

 

I hope all this helps.

Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

New member | Level 2
Thanks Bitdropper but unfortunately Dropbox won’t allow me to link to the folder one level up which is essentially the drive itself. I am now also out of synch between my online Dropbox and the drive because whilst this is not working I’m saving only to the drive. Thank you for the advice though!

Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Collaborator | Level 8

That is strange; it should have let you select the drive itself as the "folder" and then created the Dropbox Folder inside of it. I tested it and the only message I received was "The folder already contains a Dropbox directory" because I was putting it in the same location. This is what you would want it to do though. I also tested connecting an external drive to see if that was the issue you were seeing, but that gave me the following message: “This will move your Dropbox folder and all the files inside from its current location to M:confused face:Dropbox”, to which I said cancel because I figured this should probably work and it would take a long time to put it all back. You can check to make sure it is working correctly by looking at the path where it says "Dropbox folder location." All my testing was done on a 64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate OS. I could be missing something about how the Mac OS is handling it, but this does not seem like an area there should be differences. It is also possible that the Mac version of Dropbox has some differences, though I do not see why this would be one of them.

 

If you have not already, make sure that you are selecting the drive itself as the folder. If this functionality is not working for you at all then the next step would be to contact support here:

https:confused face:/www.dropbox.com/support

Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Explorer | Level 4

I have been having the same problem with my dropbox - on a Mac OS - for the past 12 months. It's fine for me to close the dropbox app then disconnect the external drive, then reconect the drive before opening the dropbox app. BUT, when I have had to reinstall the dropbox app, the DB app will not allow me to reconect the folder pathway. It forces me to resync my entire dropbox to the user, or to allocate a new folder within the external drive- a process which can take up to 3 days because of the size of the company dropbox.

See attached screenshot.

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 12.06.37 pm.pngScreen Shot 2018-06-25 at 12.06.58 pm.png 

 

I'd really like to be able to just relink the dropbox pathway to the folder that already exists on the drive...

 

Thanks.

Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Explorer | Level 4

After 3 hours of trying to resync the dropbox on my Mac Os' external hardrive, the fix was something really unexpected.

I closed the dropbox desktop app and deleted the new directory it kept trying to create to my user folder. I prepared to rename the Dropbox (ES) folder of my hardrive to (OLD) by highlighting the name so that I could start a 'new' sync pathway to the hardrive - then had second thoughts so clicked out of the name field. This is where the dropbox app gave me some strange results. Dropbox automatically opened a window asking me to relink this dropbox pathway, I was able to then use the advanced settings to relink to the current dropbox to the external location. 

This seems like a really strange workflow - but that's what worked in my case. I have not tried to replicate the issue as I don't have time, and I'm afraid the result may not duplicate.

Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Dropboxer

Glad to hear you figured this out in the end @AdrianDoidge - thanks for keeping us posted!

 

What you described is normal actually, as when you wish to re-install (or re-link) the Dropbox software and want to avoid re-downloading all of your files from the server, you need to choose the "Advanced" setup option during the installation process. You will then need to choose the parent folder of the existing Dropbox folder as the location for this new install.

 

For example, if your old Dropbox folder was added to: C:confused face:Desktop\Dropbox you would need to choose C:confused face:Desktop and the client will try and create a new Dropbox folder - as it did in your case as well. When you're connecting with the same Dropbox account as before, Dropbox will detect the existing folder and will then prompt you to merge the Dropbox folder. Upon merging the desktop version of Dropbox will check the existing files and the server versions and update accordingly.

 

Please note that any changes made to the files in the Dropbox folder or on the web interface while the folder was "offline" will probably generate conflicted copies.

 

I hope this information helps clear this up and let me know if there's anything else I can do to help with this. Thanks!


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Explorer | Level 4

Thanks @Walter. I understand the advanced functionality - but unfortunately, the dropbox app gives me (a Mac OS user) the error message from my screen shots, and doesn't allow me to select the parent folder because 'the directory already exists'. I'm not sure why this is.

 

As a follow up to my work around solution (clicking in the folder's name field and allowing dropbox to recognise the folder). I unfortunately had to delete the dropbox from my drive because of permission errors that arose with every file within the dropbox. Dropbox no longer recognised my Mac user profile with 'read & write' permissions after the relink, which meant that for each file and folder (for an entire company dropbox) required me to reset the permissions. This is because my profile experienced an update which changed the identifiers.

 

I couldn't just change the permission of the parent and have it take effect, I had to reset permisions manually for each file and folder (or enter my password each time I needed to update a file). In the case of wanting to create a new file and save it directly to the dropbox - it was no longer possible. I had to save it to my machine, then move it to the dropbox, and then enter a password to allow me to write to the folder.

 

The result: Deleting the folder and recreating the pathway from the start seems to be the only realistic way to get a working dropbox folder. The resync will most likely take three to four days.

 

This is an issue that I seem to have every 4-6 months for a Mac user profile. If anyone finds a solution, I'd love to hear it for next time.

Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

Dropboxer

Thanks for the elaborate reply @AdrianDoidge - much appreciated. 

 

Sorry to hear about this cumbersome situation. One thing that crosses my mind is that something did not go well when un-linking and re-linking this particular device. The permissions' error you get is usually fixed by performing an advanced re-install. Following, you'd need to point your Dropbox folder through the "Advanced" options to your already existing one on your external drive. 

 

One thing to note here is that our software can indeed be used with an external hard drive for as long as you can ensure the drive is always connected to your computer while Dropbox is running. Should the drive ever get disconnected from the computer while Dropbox is running there is a small chance that the Dropbox software will start deleting files before realizing that the entire drive has been removed.

 

Also note that for Dropbox to work best you should make sure that the drive is formatted as NTFS (Windows), HFS (Mac OS X ) or a file system that supports extended attributes (Linux) like ext4  for example. 

 

I hope this information clears this up a bit and if you have any further questions about this let me know and I'll reach out to you via email or go ahead and submit a ticket with our support team. Let me know a ticket ID if you do and I'll look into it ASAP.

 

Cheers!


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
Still stuck? Ask me a question!
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Re: Reconnecting synch to external drive?

New member | Level 2

I am having this same issue....help!

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