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Dropbox syncs entire folder when I interact with a file

New member | Level 2

I have a folder with all of my artwork that I have marked for online-only. I do occasionally want to download 1 item from that folder to interact with it, but if I open a file or save a file, suddenly Dropbox starts syncing the entire folder even though it has been marked as online-only. Is there a way to just download the file I need rather than the entire folder each time? I have limited space on my machine and I get an error that I am running out of disk space if I allow it to do this, so I'm forced to keep sync paused to prevent it.  Thanks. 

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Re: Dropbox syncs entire folder when I interact with a file


Hi @flashfox. Sorry to hear about this. 

To download the file locally, Smart Sync has to "go through" the path of this file to make it local and this syncs the folder that this file is in. This is not ideal but is an expected behavior. If you have very little storage space on your hard drive, it can be a problem. slightly frowning face


  1. Open the file directly from your explorer/finder. 
  2. Open the files from the web if there are extensions you can use on the web with the "open with" button to edit. 
  3. You can Smart Sync more files or Selectively Sync folders that you don't use that often to free up more space on your HD to have the ability to host local files for the editing process. Smart Sync and selective sync settings work fine together. 

Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have more questions. 

Thank you! 

Community Moderator @ Dropbox

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Dropbox syncs entire folder when I interact with a file
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