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Copying From DropBox to USB Drive Taking Up Space on C:

Copying From DropBox to USB Drive Taking Up Space on C:

wmcorcor
Helpful | Level 6

I'm attempting to backup a large folder on DropBox by copying it to my USB-connected 4TB Drive

 

This seems like it would take the files directly from DropBox and write them to the USB drive....but I'm noting as the copy progresses, it is taking up space on my C: drive.

 

All files on my DropBox are set to Online-Only.

 

1) Why is it taking up space on C: when I'm copying from DropBox to the USB drive? The issue this is causing is that the folder I'm copying is larger than the free space I have on C: so I can't copy/bakup the folder without running out of space on C:

 

 

8 Replies 8

Jay
Dropbox Staff

Hi @wmcorcor, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

 

Could you clarify exactly how you're copying files across?

 

Are you downloading them from the site directly to the external drive? Are you copying files from your local Dropbox folder into the external drive?

 

This will help me to assist further!


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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wmcorcor
Helpful | Level 6

I'm on Windows 10.

 

I'm using Window file explorer and doing a simple Copy of the DropBox folder and a Paste to the USB drive folder.

Walter
Dropbox Staff

Hey @wmcorcor, sorry to jump in here, but could you send us a screenshot of where you're spotting the space discrepancy so that we can have a visual too?

 

Also, do the files you copy over to your USB drive still show as 'online only'? 


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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wmcorcor
Helpful | Level 6

I'm not sure what I'd screenshot, so let me explain the scenario:

 

Started up my machine yesterday morning.

 

Clicked on the DropBox folder in Windows Explorer and clicked On-Line Only to be sure all of my DropBox is online-only. (even though that's my default, I do see that sometimes things are not online-Only and I wanted to be sure)

 

Clicked on C:\ and clicked properties---it shows 500GB free space on C:

With nothing else running on the computer, I did the Copy / Paste I described above to copy my large Media Folder to a folder on my 4TB USB drive.

 

I've been checking thru the day, and as of now, with nothing else running on the computer except the Copy/Paste, C:\ is now showing only 290GB free.

 

I suspect what's happening is that DropBox is taking the Media folders out of Online-only to perform the copy? It looks to be leaving them in Available Off-line mode (i.e. taking up space on my C: drive).

 

I have tried selecting the DropBox folder and clicking on On-line Only again, but it makes no difference in the available space on C:

 

The copy/paste is now running for over 24-hours and it's about 1/3 done with a long way to go.

 

To make it more confusing, somewhere along the line (months ago) my DropBox sync icons stopped appearing next to files and folders so it's tricky to see what's online-Only

Rich
Super User II

@wmcorcor wrote:

I suspect what's happening is that DropBox is taking the Media folders out of Online-only to perform the copy?


Exactly. You can't do anything with files that are in Online-only mode. They're just placeholders and not the real files. If you try to open, copy, move, etc., any file that's marked as Online-only, Dropbox needs to first download the file to your computer before anything else can happen. There's no way to copy Online-only files directly from Dropbox to another drive using Explorer without having those files downloaded back to your computer first.

 

You'll either need to mark small batches of files as Available offline, copy them to the other drive and then mark them as Online-only again, or you'll need to use the Dropbox website to download files directly to the other drive.

wmcorcor
Helpful | Level 6

Thanks. That makes sense.

 

But wouldn't DropBox be sophisticated enough to make the file/folder available offline (on my C: drive), copy it to the USB drive and then return that file/folder to Online-Only?  It seems like it's not returning them to Online-Only like it should.

 

This folder has 140,000 files, so small batches would be pretty hard to do. I also plan to run this backup every month or so, which would make that process pretty awful and very manual.

 

How exactly would I use DropBox.com to copy this folder? I looked but I didn't see any sort of Copy/Paste or browse functionality.

Rich
Super User II

@wmcorcor wrote:

But wouldn't DropBox be sophisticated enough to make the file/folder available offline (on my C: drive), copy it to the USB drive and then return that file/folder to Online-Only?


No, Dropbox doesn't do that automatically.

 


How exactly would I use DropBox.com to copy this folder?


You'd have to download small portions of it at a time and specify your external drive as the download location. You wouldn't be able to download the entire thing in one shot.

 

In short, there is no simple way to do what you're trying to accomplish, and Dropbox wasn't built with that process in mind. If you don't have the space on your main drive to sync the entire folder, you'll be looking at a mostly manual process.

wmcorcor
Helpful | Level 6

Thanks. I'll be very curious to see if when the copy/paste completes (in a few days)...and I go back and make my DropBox On-Line Only, if it recovers the full space and goes back to 500GB Free again (as it was before the copy). I will report back.

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