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Ignore folder (without selective sync)

Tom_M
Helpful | Level 5

Please please please can you add a feature that allows folders to be excluded from the Dropbox account (on windows and mac). For sure I'm not the first person to request this, but I'm yet to find a good explanation of why it's not there. A quick google search reveals loads of people also looking for the same feature. I really like the workflow I have with dropbox, but it's getting to the point where I might switch providers in order to allow better selective sync.

I've seen hackish solutions using selective sync, but it would be great if this could be done in one of the following ways:
- global pattern matching eg "node_modules"
- a marker file in the directory like .dropboxignore
- a simple right click context menu "Ignore this folder"

Other than that, keep up the good work. Cheers.
Tom

896 Comments
Sam B.27 New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

I'm pretty sure that every single developer would benefit from this functionality along with the company itself with bandwidth and storage savings. How do they quantify demand? +1's here?

luciano c.1 New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

So I'll be able to stop syncing hundreds of thousands of dependency and log files in vain, lowering a lot the stress on both my machines and their servers.

Sam B.27 New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

How does Dropbox support quantify demand? +1's here?

Tom_M
Helpful | Level 5

Sadly they weren't very specific about how they calc demand, I guess it is not an exact science. This is what I got back from support:

"I have forwarded your feedback to our client (desktop app) team, who are looking further into this. Initially, we will start to track this to try to estimate the demand is for this type of feature, and also to collect more use cases like yours that will help us to better understand how to improve Selective Sync. That will then help us determine how to best proceed."

Mike A.26 New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

+1

Dropbox is almost unusable for me without this feature. On the off-chance that it's useful, here's my particular usecase and how I'd like to see it solved.

I use npm a lot, its npm install command can create thousands of files very quickly. Dropbox then spends a long time trying to index all these files, during that time CPU usage is pegged at 100% and the fans on my laptop will be (noisily) spinning at maximum. I may delete, add or recreate all of these files several times during a day.

I'd like to be able to ignore all changes to files within a folder, based on a folder-name pattern. I never want to store these files on the dropbox server as they are trivial for me to recreate locally. I don't want to have to manually select each folder to be ignored.

e.g. the pattern node_modules/ would ignore any changes in any folder in my dropbox called node_modules.

This could either be via a file dropped into a folder (See git's .gitignore file for an example) or as a config setting within the dropbox client or web interface.

If I start ignoring a folder that is already stored on the Dropbox servers, I think I'd like Dropbox to delete the remotely stored files (this could be dangerous, maybe there's a better solution) and stop updating any other clients. The icon of the ignored folder should change to show that it's being ignored.

Erik B.8 New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Got tired of not having this, now using BitTorrent Sync for the files where I needed it the most. They do this with a IgnoreFile: http://sync-help.bittorrent.com/customer/portal/articles/1673122-ignoring-files-in-sync-ignorelist-

It's not great, but it gets the job done... and that's what counts.

Jeremy B. New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

My Case
While it isn't that different from many others, it should be helpful here nonetheless. I'm a developer. I run online browser games, and I build the odd website for clients too. In modern web design, the node_modules folder is a frequent creation within my Dropbox folder.

Why Dropbox?
Primarily it's awesome for being able to easily restore previous versions of a file if I screw up, and of course for backup, and the ability to access files from anywhere.

Why do I need .dropboxignore?
node_modules contains thousands upon thousands of small code files in packages created by other developers. It slows Dropbox to a crawl, and consumes an aggressive amount of CPU (Mac OS 10.10). These node_modules packages are easily replaceable at any time, so are not needed within Dropbox. I would like for node_modules to be automatically ignored by Dropbox whenever I create a new web project without having to manually fumble through Selective Sync.

Stav Yagev s. New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

There are so many use cases for this...

  • you could create 'temp' folders wherever you want (so no need to have all your temp files outside the main directory structure which is on dropbox).
  • any developer would gladly put on the ignore list all the temporary objects and binaries that are constantly generated during development ('node_modules' included)
  • any video / media creator would not want to save her intermediates (which are usually very heavy in size). Think of preview files when working with After Effects/Premiere/3ds Max etc.
  • in a shared folder, sometimes each contributor to the folder wants to have her own version of the files without constantly overwriting the 'master' copy (much like source control).
Mike K.30 New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Yeah, this is an issue and I'm surprised there isn't more uproar (or information, for that matter) about it.

I just tried setting up Dropbox as my profile for Thunderbird so I could use it across multiple computers and the file "parent.lock" which is created by Tbird when you first start it up prevents DB from syncing properly. It ALSO (much worse) prevents TBird from deleting it properly when it exits (not quite sure why this happens -- I'll try turning DB syncing off and see if that makes a difference, but even if so that's not an acceptable solution in any way shape or form).

Quite honestly I don't know how folks are even using DB with Thunderbird, unless they just don't care if DB is synced properly, but I can't find much information about this anywhere (other than the problem is noted, time and time again).

Mike K.30 New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Sigh. Okay, Christian, I figured out how to do this (but it isn't intuitive and it really still ought to be added to DB.

Here are the steps to take to make DB selective sync a file (it's a bit of a kludge but let's hope DB never removes it):

To exclude FILES, not folders, from Dropbox, there is a trick you can do:

Move the file somewhere else

Create a folder with the same name in place of the file

Go to Dropbox selective sync options and ignore the folder, this will also delete it

Move the file back in place

I got this from a superuser forum and it makes sense -- and in some way I understand why DB works like this. But it would be SO much easier if DB just had an option when you right clicked a file in your folder (either in the desktop app or the browser app) where you could choose not to have that particular file synced without having to go through this process.

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