Dropbox: Sync only specific folders

   Posted February 9, 2012 by Lê Hoàng in Internet

While using Dropbox is a great way to share your files, synchronizing all your files on every computer may be unnecessary. If you have a large Dropbox account, you may not want to fully sync and use up all your hard drive space. Dropbox has an option to let users sync only folders of their choice. Continue reading to know to use this feature.

I use Dropbox to share files among multiple computers. One system is a tiny computer will little additional storage. By limiting what I sync to that computer, I keep from consuming hard drive space needlessly.

1. Launch Dropbox.

2. Right-click on the Dropbox’s icon at the taskbar, and choose Preferences…

3. In the Dropbox Preferences window, go to the Advanced settings.

4. Click the Selective Sync… button under the Selective Sync section.

5. In the Selective Sync window, uncheck any folders that you want to stop syncing with your computer. Please note that only top-level folders will be displayed by default. If you want to sync parent folders but not sub folders, you can switch the view by clicking the Switch to Advanced view button.

6. When you uncheck a sub-folder, the check mark next to the parent folder will be replaced by a blue square. This mark indicates that (some) sub-folder(s) inside the folder are not synced.

7. When you are done, click Update, then click OK to save the setting.

8. Unchecked folders will then be removed from your current computer. This will not remove the folders in your Dropbox account, or on any other computers that you have Dropbox installed.

9. Later, if you want to sync the previously excluded folders, just repeat the steps above and choose them. Please note that if you have stopped syncing some sub-folders, the Selective Sync view will be in Advanced mode by default.


About Lê Hoàng

When not creating exciting new Android games, Lê Hoàng is here crafting tutorials, tweaks, and fixes for your enjoyment.
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  • SillySod

    This is all very well, being able to limit which folders are synced on your PC. But the real use for this surely would be on your mobile phone, where you are much more limited in terms of space.
    I cant seem to find an option to prevent certain folders syncing to my mobile. For instance I wouldnt want my business folder to sync with my mobile, but pictures would be fine. Is there a way to do this ?

  • Nicolas

    I need an option for selective syncing in the opposite way, as it is possible with e.g. Sugasync, but since I migrated to Ubuntu, Dropbox is the only option currently available (waiting for MEGA to release their sync applet for Ubuntu).
    For example, I want to used the same Thunderbird configuration on multiple computers.
    My emails are configurated with imap accounts (with the option for offline access checked), so that they are automatically synced with gmail, and therefore I don’t need to sync the specific email-subfolders.
    But I do need to sync everything else in my Thunderbird folder (such as accounts configuration, extensions, add-ons, etc…).
    Therefore I want to be able to sync the complete Thunderbird folder, which is stored on my labtop, but not the email subfolders.
    If I do selective sync according to description here above, the email subfolders will be REMOVED from my labtop, instead of simply beging ignored…
    Is there a way to circumvent this issue?

    Thanks, Nicolas