Thank you for taking the time to express your exasperation regarding this truly perplexing set of instructions/outcomes. I'm with you...I have an advanced degree working and over 25 years' experience working with complex systems, and I this system makes absolutely no sense to me. I have been trying to get the same outcome you have been attempting (get all of these files OFF of my hard drive, yet visible in the dropbox folder). Here I am 4 months later with no progress - as a matter of fact, it is worse. I'm using a Mac - 2 weeks ago, even without adding a single file, as dropbox was "syncing" it was actually filling up my hard drive (vs reducing the # of files). Eventually, the drive reached capacity and the entire computer shut down resulting in me losing ALL of the data on the hard drive. 5 months of slow attempt to get my hard drive backed up with dropbox only to end up losing everything I had. Apple Support was unable to help me get the data back. I had to re-format the drive and start from scratch. Fortunately, I know how to extract data and was able to recover some of the data; but that consued another 2 weeks of my time trying to fix the mess created by Dropbox process. Here I am again today with the exact same problem (hard drive almost full, and the "sync" process churning along for at least 7 days with about 1% progress. Even when I try to stop and upload small "chuncks" of data at a time, nothing works. Sorry for the rant, I just wanted to validate your concerns and express similar frustration...This is NOT user-friendly...even for folks who are intelligent with some degree of experience. I don't have time to sit on the phone with someone telling me the same unhelpful info that I can read on the site. My opinion...this system is not logical and is NOT user-friendly!
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