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What's the best way to back up the Dropbox folder if I don't have enough space to sync all files?

Level 2

Hello,

I'm using Dropbox Business with Smart Sync.

I would like to brckup my entire dropbox to an external hardware (alternative ideas welcome). According to Dropbox support I would have to:

  • move my dropbox folder to the external hard drive
  • change smart sync settings to all local
  • move my dropbox folder back to the computer hard drive
  • adjust all smart sync settings

According to support there is no way to just download the entire dropbox to an external hard drive. Additionally "there's a small—but real—chance that the app will start deleting files". So that is obviously not an option.

Question: How do I backup my dropbox?

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9 Replies

Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Dropboxer
Hey there @TimP ), as long as the files in question are locally stored, you can work with them just like using any other folder on your hard drive (i.e. Online-only files are mere placeholders taking up approximately 0kb & containing minimal information about the file in question). If I were in your shoes, I’d merely unlink my account (which should leave the folderstructure on my device intact), move the Dropbox folder to my external hard drive & re-install the application from scratch. 
 
If you don’t mind me asking, can you elaborate a bit on your OS specifications & what would be the ideal end-result, in order to best address your initial inquiry? Thanks in advance & I’ll be awaiting your next reply here Tim! 

 


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


 


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Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Level 2

Thanks Jane,
I use the dropbox on my desktop (not in browser). I use smart sync, so it's not all stored locally. However, I do work with my files locally as you described (I guess that is the point of dropbox). I would like to add an extra level of security and backup my files to an external hardware once a week. I do not want to run dropbox from an external hard drive.

I use Mac w/ macOS Mojave Version 10.14.3.

Thanks!

 

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Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Super User II

There's no need to change the location of your Dropbox folder if all you're doing is backing up your Dropbox. You would only do that if your intent was to move the Dropbox folder to a new location permanently.

You do, however, need to have all your files local before you could copy them to another location for backup. There's really no other alternative. If your files aren't local, they don't exist on teh computer to be backed up. The only other thing you could do is download them from the website, but you'd have to do that in batches, and it would be a manual process.

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Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Level 2

Thanks for your reply.

Yes I understand that in order to copy them to another drive they would have to be local. I simply don't have enough space. I was hoping there is a way to download the entire content from the website. I'm not sure why that doesn't work and would have to be in badges.

At this point I guess there is no (safe) way to backup the dropbox. If anyone has ever backed up their dropbox and / or if there is a feature  / way that is designed to do so (could be another software solution) please let me know.

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Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Dropboxer
I appreciate it that you circled back to us here Tim (@TimP), let me clarify matters in a bit more detail for you below!
 
I simply don't have enough space. I was hoping there is a way to download the entire content from the website.
 
Please bear in mind that by suggesting the Dropbox folder move to your external hard drive, I meant the remaining folder after unlinking (which is just a simple folder as any other on your OS). This essentially implies that if you had chosen to exclude any of your content from syncing to your desktop, this will also be eliminated when you move files/ folder from your internal to your external drive. If you decide to follow my advice, it will be the same as if you downloaded your content in smaller chunks (i.e. via the website)
 
In other words, you can sync your files to your desktop utilizing Selective Sync; once you get all folder structures you’d need to backup fully synced, you can unlink & then safely move the folders to your external hard drive to back them up. 
 
From there, you can re-install the desktop application anew changing the Selective Sync settings in order to get going with the second backup batch &c. 
 
I hope that this illustrates my point a bit more clearly; please let me know if you have any follow-up questions! 

 


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


 


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Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Level 2

I would like to to exacty like you:

I would like to download the entire content from the webiste directly.

I don't understand why we can't do that.

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Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Dropboxer
Hey @Etienne2, while you should be able to download a folder (or more) using our website as long as the content is less than 20 GB in total size & it contains less than 10,000 total files, I’m wondering if you’ve enabled Smart Sync for some files or you’ve already synced your content to your device; please let me know in your next message if possible. If the latter is happening Etienne, then you should be able to move a copy of your Dropbox folder as you would do with any other local file. 
 
Additionally, if you don’t mind me asking, can you clarify how many files you’ve currently stored on your Dropbox account online? 
 
Please have a look at my recommendations at your earliest convenience & let me know how you get on with my advice or if I’ve misunderstood your inquiry in any way in your next reply here. Thanks & enjoy the rest of your day! 

 


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


 


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Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Level 2

I saw that I can download some folders.

But I think that it would be perfect if we could download all our Dropbox files in one time.

Some of my folders (with pictures) are to big to download them...

Regarding the size of a folder (GB or total of files in it), how can I see it?

I don't find a button to press that will show me the size and the number of files in a folder.

Thank's for you help. Really appreciate it.

 

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Re: Best Way to Backup Dropbox

Dropboxer
Thanks for getting back in touch with me here @Etienne2; I hope you’ve had a great day so far!
 
@Etienne2 wrote:

But I think that it would be perfect if we could download all our Dropbox files in one time.

Following what we've been discussing, I’ve already made a note of your interest on my internal report for future iterations, as this is some great feedback for our team devs.
 

Regarding the size of a folder (GB or total of files in it), how can I see it?

I don't find a button to press that will show me the size and the number of files in a folder.

Kindly note that you should be able to see the size of a folder following the steps relayed here & the number of files you've stored in a folder following Rich’s advice here
 
Please give my suggestions a go whenever you find some spare time & do let me know how you get on on this discussion; it'll be a pleasure to further clarify matters if needed! 

 


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


 


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What's the best way to back up the Dropbox folder if I don't have enough space to sync all files?
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