cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Announcements
Whether you are transferring a single drive, a team or an entire organization, Movebot's cloud migration tool has been built to make your Dropbox migration simple - learn all about it here.

Dropbox installs & integrations

Connect your tools and content together with help from the Dropbox Community. Join a discussion or post a question of your own to get started.

cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Gabry C.
New member | Level 1

Hey! Ye gods, am I confused! Help, please!!

I only just realized that Dropbox is storing all the photos I see on the website, on a folder in my computer (I have the desktop app).
- In order to get photos from my computer onto the website, I have to export them from 'My Pictures' to the Dropbox folder...essentially duplication, and a storage nightmare. I'd like only one copy of a photo taking up space on my drive.
- If I delete photos from the Dropbox folder on my computer, they vanish from the site. Sooo...what if my computer dies and the precious Dropbox folder with it? My photos on the Dropbox site vanish? Doesn't this, honestly, defy the entire point?

So essentially, it looks like I'm paying Dropbox to duplicate my photos and store them in a folder on my computer. Please correct me if I'm getting this wrong (as I probably am) - I want it to work! Thanks for your time! Cheers! 🙂

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Mark
Super User II

I dont understand why I am paying $9.99 a month when I am barely using 21.2 GB out of 1 TB used

Probably because if you dont you would have too much in your free account to work? 

www.dropbox.com/downgrade will let you see what your quota would be if you stopped paying. 


 


:penguin::penguin: - :penguin: - :penguin: - :penguin:


Heart Did this post help you? If so please mark it for some Kudos below. 


:white_check_mark: Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.


:arrows_counterclockwise: Did this post not resolve your issue? If so please give us some more information so we can try and help - please remember we cannot see over your shoulder so be as descriptive as possible! 


 

View solution in original post

18 Replies 18

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Richard P.
Super User alumni

You are paying Dropbox for the service they provide - syncing your files and folders between machines. It isn't a remote storage service, its a syncing service.

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Eric A.5
Helpful | Level 5

". . . what if my computer dies and the precious Dropbox folder with it? My photos on the Dropbox site vanish? "

Not really.

If your computer dies, you can unlink that device from your account and nothing happens to the photos in the cloud. Furthermore, if you were to get a new computer and install Dropbox on that new computer, Dropbox would copy your cloud Dropbox to your new computer, so you would still have your photos in the cloud and on your new Dropbox.

On the other hand . . .

If you delete files from your hard drive Dropbox, then, yes, they will be deleted from your cloud Dropbox. Dropbox is a sync/backup service, not a separate storage service. There are lots of products available for extra cloud storage if that is really what you want, rather than a sync of active folders.

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Gabry C.
New member | Level 1

Eric, many thanks for the extremely helpful explanation!
Just to confirm, here's my 'interpretation' of your answer:
My photos are present in the cloud through the Dropbox folder on my computer (this is the 'hard drive' you were talking about). Deleting photos from the folder deletes them from the cloud. However, the computer crashing (and the folder with it) does not affect the photos in the cloud.
Have I got it?
Thanks! 😉

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Eric A.5
Helpful | Level 5

"My photos are present in the cloud through the Dropbox folder on my computer (this is the 'hard drive' you were talking about). Deleting photos from the folder deletes them from the cloud. However, the computer crashing (and the folder with it) does not affect the photos in the cloud. "

Correct. Think of it this way:

The Dropbox app only tries to sync with your hard drive if it can actually see your Dropbox folder on your hard drive. In fact, you can have multiple devices with Dropbox on them (computer, web, phone, tablet, etc.). Only when a particular Dropbox is visible to the Dropbox app (either a desktop app or mobile app) does it try to sync.

If your computer dies and you throw away the hard drive, or if your Dropbox folder gets completely killed, Dropbox will not try to sync because it can no longer see the Dropbox folder on the relevant machine. Thus, if your computer crashes and you lose your whole Dropbox, nothing will happen to what you have stored in the cloud.

There are a few caveats and corner cases to be aware of:

If you suffer some kind of "partial" crash in which for some reason only part of your hard drive Dropbox is deleted, then the next time the cloud sees your computer it will likely try to sync and will (mistakenly) think that you deleted those sub-folders and files on purpose. In this case, yes, things will be deleted from the cloud in order to sync up with the changes it thinks you purposely "made" to your hard drive. Dropbox does offer prior backups to address this eventuality. Personally, I've never had that happen in multiple years of use, but it is good to know the cloud backup of a prior Dropbox image is available in a pinch.

More likely, something will happen to your entire Dropbox (accidentally delete the folder, computer crash, inadvertently move the whole folder, etc.). As mentioned, in those cases Dropbox should not even try to sync, because it cannot see the Dropbox folder where it expects to see it. However, in those cases, it is important to promptly login to your web Dropbox account and remove your hard drive device from your authorized Dropbox list. That way Dropbox will no longer try to sync with that device and you can do whatever you need with your crashed computer or deleted folder to restore it on your hard drive without affecting the cloud backup. Once you are sure you have everything the way you want it on your device, you can re-authorize the device and it should be OK.

Another thing that sometimes happens is that the Dropbox app itself crashes (either fails to start or refuses to sync). In those cases you will likely need to reinstall the Dropbox app. If your Dropbox is not in the standard location this can be a little tricky, but in short, the key is to click on the "Advanced Settings" near the end of the process before the installation is complete so that you can point the application to your existing Dropbox. Otherwise, it will not allow you to use your existing Dropbox on your hard drive, but will force you to create a new one or perform some unnatural acts of renaming and so on.

Finally, (and apologies for the long reply), if you have your Dropbox on a separate hard drive (which I do), Dropbox should not try to sync unless that hard drive is attached and visible to the app. Dropbox (the Company, not the app) warns about starting Dropbox when the removable drive is not visible, as there is a slight possibility that it could try to sync and either think it should delete something or sync improperly. I have never had this problem, although I have accidentally started the Dropbox app many times without my Dropbox drive in place. Thus far, the app has always just warned me that it cannot see the Dropbox folder and it doesn't do anything. That said, I try to make sure my Dropbox drive is visible before firing up Dropbox, just to be safe.

Well, that is more than you wanted to know, but hopefully gives a bit more detail about how the sync process works in actual practice.

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Gabry C.
New member | Level 1

Whoa, Eric, thanks! I've read, dissected, analyzed, and gotten closer to parsing than I'd like...and it all makes sense, so we're good!
Cheers, peace out, and God bless. 😉

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Lyn H.
New member | Level 2

excellent explanations, Eric! Thank you.

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Sandy B.4
New member | Level 1

I dont understand why I am paying $9.99 a month when I am barely using 21.2 GB out of 1 TB used. Also, Ive heard google photo is free. Thoughts?

 

Thanks!! 

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Mark
Super User II

I dont understand why I am paying $9.99 a month when I am barely using 21.2 GB out of 1 TB used

Probably because if you dont you would have too much in your free account to work? 

www.dropbox.com/downgrade will let you see what your quota would be if you stopped paying. 


 


:penguin::penguin: - :penguin: - :penguin: - :penguin:


Heart Did this post help you? If so please mark it for some Kudos below. 


:white_check_mark: Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.


:arrows_counterclockwise: Did this post not resolve your issue? If so please give us some more information so we can try and help - please remember we cannot see over your shoulder so be as descriptive as possible! 


 

Re: Why am I paying Dropbox to store duplicates on my computer?

Sandy B.4
New member | Level 1

OK thanks Mark Mc. Your advice was very helpful. 

Who's talking

Top contributors to this post

  • User avatar
    Michael P.110 New member | Level 1
  • User avatar
    Neilson G. New member | Level 1
  • User avatar
    Mark Super User II
  • User avatar
    Eric A.5 Helpful | Level 5
What do Dropbox user levels mean?
Need more support?