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How do I selectively synch files on my computer with Dropbox?

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Since your MIT Dropbox for Business account is extremely large, you may find your hard drive filling up. Fortunately, you can choose which folders to synch to your local machine. If you choose not to synch certain folders, you will not be able to access them on your computer using the desktop app. You will still be able to access them via your web browser at

This article assumes you have the desktop app installed.

Instructions for Windows

Selectively choosing what folders to synch between the cloud and your computer is easy once you find the correct area. There are several steps to take to get there.

  1. Click the dropbox icon in the system tray.

  2. Click the gear icon in the upper right.
  3. Click on "Preferences."

  4. Click on "Account."

  5. Be sure you are on the correct account (Personal or MIT), and click "Selective Sync..."

  6. Select the folders you want to synch and deselect those you don't want to synch. It may take a few seconds for all of your folders to show up in the list.
  7. Click "Update."
  8. Click "Ok."
  9. Click "Apply."
  10. Click "Ok."

Instructions for Mac

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in your menu bar.
    Result: A dropdown menu will appear.

  2. Click your avatar (profile picture or initials).
    Result: A dropdown menu will appear.

  3. Click Preferences.
    Result: A new Preferences window will open.

  4. Click the Sync tab.
    Result: The Sync tab will open.

  5. Under Selective Sync, click Choose folders.
    Result: A window will open with the folders on your Dropbox account.

  6. Check the folders you would like saved on your hard drive. Uncheck the folders you would like removed.
    Result: Those folders will be the folders to be updated.
  7. Click Update.

See: Dropbox's Selective Sync Overview

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

July 30, 2020

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