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Tips and Tricks for Getting Below Your MIT Dropbox Quota

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Dropbox is primarily intended to be a mechanism for sharing data amongst collaborators or across multiple devices rather than as a backup service or for storing/archiving large data sets. Graduate students that may have large amounts of data related to their academic or research pursuits can work with their advisor and/or department graduate administrator to review options for obtaining additional storage. All others should see fee-based options for larger Dropbox storage plans at: How do I obtain more MIT Dropbox storage space?

For backup services, IS&T offers unlimited storage with Code42/CrashPlan.

Your default MIT Dropbox quota is 10TB for MIT faculty, lecturers, and Spring 2020 teaching assistants and 500GB for all others. To see how much space you are using, see How do I check my Dropbox quota?

Tips & Tricks

  • Don't use Dropbox as a backup service for your devices. There are many other backup options including MIT's Code42/CrashPlan service.
  • Delete files, especially large ones, you no longer need. Some examples are:
    • Video/Movie files
    • Software installers
    • Virtual Machines
    • Duplicate files
  • Disconnect from non-MIT shared folders you no longer need to access. Contents of shared folders from people outside the MIT Dropbox Business team count against the quotas of all members. Within the MIT Dropbox Business team the contents only count against the owner's quota. For more information, see: Do shared folders count against my storage space?
  • Move personal files to a personal Dropbox account. Note: you must open this account using an email address other than your MIT email address that's connected to your MIT Dropbox account (such as a Gmail or home internet provider account) to avoid conflicts with the MIT Dropbox service.
  • Store collections of large files you don't need for collaboration, such as videos or photos, on an external hard drive that's backed up using your computer's Code42/CrashPlan account.
  • Storage space to work on research data or classwork is often available through your lab or department. Talk to your lab or course instructors to find out what options they offer that won't use up your quota.
  • Move some of your data that doesn't need to be on Dropbox to another file sharing/storage service. See: Data Storage and Collaboration Options

Finding the size of your files and folders

  1. Sign in to
  2. Click Files.
    files menu
  3. Click a column header and select Size.
    size menu option
    Result: The size of all your individual files will display.
  4. Click the ... menu on the far right for the folder you want to check.
  5. Click Calculate size in the menu that opens.
    "calculate size menu option
    Result: After a short while, the size will be displayed in the Size column.
    size shows

Having many nested folders (folders within folders) can cause error messages or the size to erroneously display as zero. Click into the folder and try again. You may need to do this multiple times depending on how complicated your folder setup is.

See Also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

January 24, 2023

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