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Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Will V.3
New member | Level 1

Hi,

We use dropbox for business at our company and each one of my colleagues has its own folder. I use selective sync to get only my folder synced and that works well.

Right now I need access to a folder from one of my colleagues, it has a VM and a size of 67GB. I have 107GB available in my hard drive.

I go to dropbox Selective Sync and check only that folder from my colleague's folder, after a few hours it shows the error icon on the client and it says that there's not enough hard drive space. I go to Windows Explorer and it says that I have just 15GB left. I go back to the client, uncheck the folder in Selective Sync and after a couple of minutes the space goes back to 107GB.

So, my question is [censored]? How come I can't download a 67GB folder having 107GB of available space?

12 Replies 12

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Rich
Super User II

 Hi Will,

First, please refrain from using language like that, even in acronym form, on these forums. There's no place for it here. Thank you.

Are there any files at the same level as the 67GB folder that you're trying to sync? If so, they will sync as well. For instance, assume the following structure:

├── Dropbox
│   ├── Parent Folder
│   │   ├── Sub-folder 1
│   │   │   └── File 1
│   │   │   └── File 2
│   │   │   └── File 3
│   │   ├── Sub-folder 2
│   │   │   └── File 4
│   │   │   └── File 5
│   │   │   └── File 6
│   │   ├── File 7
│   │   ├── File 8
│   │   └── File 9

Let's say you decide to use Selective Sync to remove the entire parent folder. The entire structure of Parent Folder is removed from your computer. Now you decide that you need Sub-folder 1. In Selective Sync you check just that folder so it will sync to your computer. When you do that, you'll get Sub-folder 1 and all the files it contains, along with File 7, 8 and 9.

Selective Sync only works for folders. You can't use it for individual files. So when you enable Sub-folder 1, any files that reside at the same level get synced as well.

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Will V.3
New member | Level 1

You americans take language too seriously. 

 

In any case, I figured that out from the UI (bc the parent folder is semi-checked), but there are no files at that level (only other folders that aren't syncing). 

Where does DropBox store the temporary files (while they are being downloaded)? My DB folder is in the D drive (that's the one with 107GB available), C hass less than 30GB available. 

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Rich
Super User II

You americans take language too seriously.

I'll take seriousness over classlessness any day.

there are no files at that level (only other folders that aren't syncing). 

Then the folder that is syncing is likely larger than you're expecting.

Where does DropBox store the temporary files (while they are being downloaded)?

In the hidden .dropbox.cache folder in the root of your Dropbox folder.

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Will V.3
New member | Level 1

So for you mocking someone and calling him "classless" is better than using a non-offensive acronym? makes sense...

 

Anyways, tried again, now with both hard drives having free space, C had 111GB and D had 144GB.

The folder in question has 11 files, the first 10 (all less than 1GB total) were synced correctly. The last one, a 60.8GB VMDK file (size according to the DropBox site) takes a few hours to download.

During all that time the DropBox client displayed (in the tooltip) the time remaining. And the available hard drive space didn't go down at all. Once it was "done" with the download (a few minutes after it said 5 minutes remaining), the available space in the hard drive started to go down for about half an hour until dropbox displayed an error saying the hard drive didn't have enough space.

So, is this a bug or what?

 

 

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

DaveC2
New member | Level 1

Files are downloaded in small parts into the .dropbox.cache folder (2-4mb each)

Once all parts are downloaded the file is assembled and then moved to the correct folder

So a 61GB file will need 122GB free for its creation, then 61GB of that remains as the part files all get erased, when putting the parts together they should have started erasing the used parts as they went, but they didnt, so they didnt 😞

 

So not a bug, just a size+size overhead required for file creation

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Will V.3
New member | Level 1

If that was the case then it should've worked when I had 144GB free on my hard drive, and it didn't.

And even if I didn't have double space it should be considered a feature request, not needing twice the space used by the files...

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Will V.3
New member | Level 1

In the end I worked around the issue by having the person uploading it "split" the file in 8 smaller files.

 

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Rick M.
Experienced Collaborator | Level 13

Selective Sync only works for folders. You can't use it for individual files. So when you enable Sub-folder 1, any files that reside at the same level get synced as well.

Where is this described in the documentation?  You say that enabling a folder brings along any files at that level and that seems to contradict "only works for folders."

Re: Selective Sync using more space than necessary

Rich
Super User II

You say that enabling a folder brings along any files at that level and that seems to contradict "only works for folders."

That doesn't contradict it. In fact, it supports it.

You cannot select/deselect files with Selective Sync. Only folders are visible in the Selective Sync menu. If you uncheck a folder with Selective Sync, everything within that folder is removed (files and any sub-folders). If you later go back into Selective Sync and select one of the sub-folders of that previously unchecked parent folder, you'll get the sub-folder and, because files cannot be selectively synced, any files that reside at the same level.

Where is this described in the documentation?

Selective sync is a feature of the Dropbox desktop application that allows you to select only the folders you want to be synced to your computer.

 

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