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Syncing Dropbox folder to external hard drive - Mac

New member | Level 2

For many years I have worked between Mac computers at home and at the office using an external hard drive to sync my files, however I would like to change to a Dropbox folder instead, for convenience and security reasons.

 

I would like to know if I can automatically sync a copy of my dropbox files to my external hard drive so I can still use it if I need to travel and there's no wifi to connect to dropbox.

 

Thanks

A

4 Replies

Re: Syncing Dropbox folder to external hard drive - Mac

Dropboxer
Hey @AmandaNT ! upside-down face
 
Thanks for reaching out on the Community about this. 
 
Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee perfect / full functionality of the Dropbox app if you’re running it on an external drive. For the Dropbox application to work properly, I’d recommend that you install it on the hard drive of your Operating System. This is because Dropbox can’t always work correctly if the Dropbox folder becomes inaccessible, and this can happen if it's located on an external drive. 
 
If you’d like to move the Dropbox folder to an external drive, you can read more about how to do this by clicking here ← 
 
One of the most important things to always keep in mind when making such a move is:
 
  • The Dropbox folder must always be available when your computer boots and before the Dropbox desktop app starts up.

    • Some external drives take some time to mount before your computer recognizes them, and the Dropbox desktop app could start running before the external drive is ready. 
    • This would lead to a potential error and Dropbox will get confused. 
    • If the external drive is disconnected from the computer while the Dropbox app is running, there's could be potential risk, such as the app starting to delete files.
 
Hope this info helps clarify, and let me know if you have any additional questions about this. I’ll be happy to help!
 
Thanks, 
Karina



Karina
Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Syncing Dropbox folder to external hard drive - Mac

New member | Level 2

This answer is an embarassment!

Google Drive has no problem being on an external drive. If you start up without the drive present they just warn you and then go into a disabled state.

What does DropBox do? It deletes your preferences and settings, so when you do plug in the external drive you have to set it up again.

No problem, I hear you say, I've got all the data so it should be easy.

Not the case. First of all you run into the 'There's already a folder called Dropbox' error when trying to point to the old location. So you rename, create the new dropbox folder, then move all the contents into the new dropbox folder from the old. Guess what? It will take hours (or days in my case) to resync and use gigs of your network connection.

 

It is pathetic and the reason that I switched to Google Drive for my laptop.

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Re: Syncing Dropbox folder to external hard drive - Mac

New member | Level 2

Can the DropBox app's startup be delayed, allowing sufficient time for any external drives to boot up? Or perhaps the DropBox app can be removed from the start up items, and instead be launched manually when the user sees that the external hard drive has booted and is recognized by the Mac?

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Re: Syncing Dropbox folder to external hard drive - Mac

Dropboxer
Hey Sean_Larki
 
Welcome to our Forum, I’ll do my best to answer your question below. Happy 2018!
 
At this point, I’ll have to reiterate Karina’s reply above, as we’d like users to have a seamless experience with the desktop application. Should you decide to move the Dropbox folder to an external hard drive regardless, you may keep in mind that you could follow the steps below to disable the app’s launch upon the device startup:
 
1) Right click the Dropbox icon in the system tray at the the top of your screen on Mac
2) Click on the gear icon in the Notifications panel and select "Preferences" from the menu 
3) Verify that the box next to "Start Dropbox on system startup" is unchecked.
 
Hopefully this is helpful to you, though please let me know here in case you have more questions. Wishing you a great weekend ahead! 

 

[This thread is now closed by moderators due to inactivity. If you're experiencing a similar behavior, feel free to start a new discussion in the Find Answers section here. ]

 


Jane
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


 


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