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Best way to use Dropbox

Best way to use Dropbox

Lantz66
Explorer | Level 4
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I really couldn’t find a matching Board for my topic, so if it doesn’t fit this one, feel free to move it.

 

I’ve been using Dropbox for years to not only sync selected files between three home PC’s but also as a form of “cloud backup”. This was way before Dropbox Backup was developed. What I did was ignore the normal Documents, Downloads, My Music, etc. folders in the Windows OS but instead created the same folder structure in my Dropbox folder. That way each PC could sync only the specific folders/files it wanted on its local hard drive yet have the comfort of knowing the files were backed up in the “cloud” on Dropbox. Each PC could choose to sync specific files from other PC’s if needed (not by “sharing”). All PC’s shared the 2TB allotment of my Dropbox plan. If I needed to replace a PC, I just signed into Dropbox on the new PC, synced the proper folders, and when all was synced, deactivated the old PC under devices.

 

Enter the era of Dropbox Backup. Now that this feature is available, should I be using it? I’m building a new PC to replace another and I hope to have a 1TB M.2 stick as my C: drive. This will hold Windows 11 and my Dropbox folder. One thing I want to avoid is file duplication. I know that many of the files I have in Dropbox will not be shared but most will be accessed from iPads from time to time.

 

What makes Dropbox Backup necessary considering how I’ve been using Dropbox up to now?

 

A complication I also have is that I’ve went from 3 PC’s to 2 PC’s and one of those is shared between 2 people using Windows User Accounts. I set Dropbox up for both accounts and I believe it has created duplicate files on the PC. I like using the separate Windows User accounts so that individual preferences for desktops/programs can be used. Is there a better way to use Dropbox for multiple users on the same PC?

 

Thanks in advance.

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Rich
Super User II
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@Lantz66 wrote:

... do you mean my Dropbox account in the cloud or does it actually move the folder on my PC from its present location outside of Dropbox into the PC’s Dropbox folder?


When you use Dropbox to backup your key folders, such as Desktop, Documents, etc., it actually moves the folder on your local drive into the Dropbox folder.

 


What I want to backup is a folder located on an external hard drive that is quite large. I don’t want to have it take up space on my internal SSD drive where my Dropbox folder will be located.

Backing up external drives doesn't work the same way. It won't be copied to the Dropbox folder on your local PC.

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3 Replies 3

Rich
Super User II
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@Lantz66 wrote:

What makes Dropbox Backup necessary considering how I’ve been using Dropbox up to now?


Nothing. Stick with the way you've been using it. The Backup feature works by MOVING those key folders into your Dropbox folder so they can sync. That's not made clear and people are losing files later when they remove Dropbox without first deactivating the backup, then deleting their Dropbox folder, which ends up deleting the original Documents, etc., folders as well.

 


I set Dropbox up for both accounts and I believe it has created duplicate files on the PC. I like using the separate Windows User accounts so that individual preferences for desktops/programs can be used. Is there a better way to use Dropbox for multiple users on the same PC?

No. The only way is to give each person their own installation, and yes, that will result in duplicate content on the computer with a separate Dropbox folder for each user. There are unsupported ways to get around that but it's risky and can cause data loss if certain features like Selective Sync are used. Just don't risk it.

Lantz66
Explorer | Level 4
Go to solution

Rich, when you say that when using Dropbox Backup, the “selected folders are moved into your Dropbox folder”, do you mean my Dropbox account in the cloud or does it actually move the folder on my PC from its present location outside of Dropbox into the PC’s Dropbox folder? What I want to backup is a folder located on an external hard drive that is quite large. I don’t want to have it take up space on my internal SSD drive where my Dropbox folder will be located.

Rich
Super User II
Go to solution

@Lantz66 wrote:

... do you mean my Dropbox account in the cloud or does it actually move the folder on my PC from its present location outside of Dropbox into the PC’s Dropbox folder?


When you use Dropbox to backup your key folders, such as Desktop, Documents, etc., it actually moves the folder on your local drive into the Dropbox folder.

 


What I want to backup is a folder located on an external hard drive that is quite large. I don’t want to have it take up space on my internal SSD drive where my Dropbox folder will be located.

Backing up external drives doesn't work the same way. It won't be copied to the Dropbox folder on your local PC.

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    Rich Super User II
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    Lantz66 Explorer | Level 4
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