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Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk Drive

Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk Drive

desmond_singh
New member | Level 2

Hi All,

 

Let me start by saying I'm brand new to dropbox, so I apologize if my concerns are low-level and I thank you for your patience in advanced.

 

Here are my details:

 

I'm a Bioinformatics student, and I've created a BASH script that:

 

  1. unzips 22 large files (*.vcf.gz to *.vcf)
  2. assigns these unzipped files to a new subfolder within the original directory
  3. concatenates these 22 files into a single, large file

Each unzipped file (*.vcf) is ~ 22 GBs large, so they eat up the space on my hard-disk drive (HDD).

 

Accordingly, I've downloaded the dropbox application on my laptop and moved the project directory within the dropbox application

(ex. '/Users/myprofile/"Dropbox (Personal)"/project_directory').

 

When I run the BASH script that performs the above 3 steps, it doesn't run to completion because the unzipped files are saved to my HDD and it can't store 484+ GB of data. 

 

I'm wondering how I can make it such that when I run the BASH script, the 22 unzipped files and the large, concatenated file are automatically saved onto the dropbox application and NOT my HDD. 

 

I have 2 TB of dropbox space and I'm working on a MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020) running Big Sur v11.4 

 

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

Rich
Super User II

@desmond_singh wrote:

I'm wondering how I can make it such that when I run the BASH script, the 22 unzipped files and the large, concatenated file are automatically saved onto the dropbox application and NOT my HDD.


You can't. That's not how Dropbox works. It's not a cloud-based folder. It's a regular folder on your local hard drive like any other, and anything stored in the folder takes up space on the drive. Files saved in the folders are synced to your account online. It's not possible to save directly to the cloud, bypassing your local drive.

View solution in original post

9 Replies 9

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

Rich
Super User II

@desmond_singh wrote:

I'm wondering how I can make it such that when I run the BASH script, the 22 unzipped files and the large, concatenated file are automatically saved onto the dropbox application and NOT my HDD.


You can't. That's not how Dropbox works. It's not a cloud-based folder. It's a regular folder on your local hard drive like any other, and anything stored in the folder takes up space on the drive. Files saved in the folders are synced to your account online. It's not possible to save directly to the cloud, bypassing your local drive.

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

desmond_singh
New member | Level 2

That makes sense -- thank you for the response. Cheers!

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

chicago pixel pusher
New member | Level 2

Maybe I'm confused, but I disagree. If you select the sync online option only you save the local hard drive space. This may depend upon your account. Not sure if it works on the free version. It is confusing to set this. I'm on a Mac and can only do it if I'm running the app locally.

Right click on a file or folder and hover over the sync to show this option. It does seem to behave like a cloud only virtual drive.

I find that when I create new folders and add files I have to select this option each time. There may be a global setting that I've missed.

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

chicago pixel pusher
New member | Level 2

However, I see that you're trying to run a script to accomplish unzipping. That may be a completely different issue. Sorry.

 

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

Rich
Super User II

@chicago pixel pusher wrote:

Maybe I'm confused, but I disagree. If you select the sync online option only you save the local hard drive space.


Even if you set a folder to Online-only, when you save a file to that folder it is still saved to the local hard drive, marked as a Local file, and synced to your account. You then have to mark the file as Online-only to remove it from the drive. The OP was looking to save directly to his account in the cloud, which isn't possible. Also, the Smart Sync feature is only available on a paid account.

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

izzi-e
New member | Level 2

There is a smart sync option in settings that allows you to save files as an online-only file, that doesn't take up space on your hard-drive. However, once you need to view it again, I believe it will download and become a local file that does take up space. I'm not sure if there's a way to bypass having to download the file on top your hard drive first before uploading it as an online-only folder, but if you have enough space initially, this could be a good option. If you only need to store the large files in Dropbox, then it does work as a cloud based folder. 

 

Here's a link for the Smart Sync feature help:

https://help.dropbox.com/installs-integrations/sync-uploads/smart-sync 

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

Rodger C.
New member | Level 2

I read this because I have the same issue.  Why does Dropbox say it stores in a cloud, if it (supposedly) doesn't?  Now I don't know who to believe.

 

I've got files piling up on my solid state HD that I never knew were there, it's never happened before the last couple of months, and now the drive is almost full.  When I found these files today I deleted them but then when I went to Dropbox my folder had disappeared (it's not even my folder, another user set it up for me on his account), and my hard drive is about to crash.

 

I store NO files on my solid state drive, it's not big enough.  Those are supposed to load on the disk drive.  I even migrated the Dropbox folder I found on the SS drive to the disk, but that didn't work.  I'm trapped and I guess it'll be impossible to use Dropbox any more.

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

Advaita63
Explorer | Level 4

This makes NO sense to me whatsoever. Dropbox tells you that if you use SynchSelect you can choose which files are stored on your local hard drive and which remain in the cloud until you need them. Now I cannot even find a way to download Dropbox files on to an SSD directly from Dropbox.com. There used to be an option of 'Advanced Settings' which has now disappeared. WTF. If I can't solve this I am going to cancel my account. It is quite insane to me. 

Re: Trying to save files directly on Dropbox (not on hard drive), but they still save on Hard-Disk D

Rodger C.
New member | Level 2

(Replying to my own message) I've read about the "sync online only" feature but it's the first I've heard of it --- and yet, that problem of Dropbox storing old unneded files on my solid state hard drive seems to have somehow fixed itself without intervention.  I did not know about the sync option and didn't take that step, it simply started behaving.  This is still concerning since I still don't know what was happening and can't predict if it will happen again.  But I've loaded several fairly big files into that folder, it has ceased archiving on my poor overworked hard drive, and the files transferred without a hitch, which is what I expected from the beginning.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

I should add that my own Dropbox account, the one I'm actually signed up with, has never acted this way.

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    Rodger C. New member | Level 2
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    Advaita63 Explorer | Level 4
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    izzi-e New member | Level 2
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    Rich Super User II
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