Dropbox: Using Selective Sync / Adding or Removing Folder(s) to Desktop App


U-M Dropbox


How to use selective sync in the Dropbox desktop app to free up hard drive space.


Selective sync lets you choose which folders you’d like to store on your computer’s hard drive from all of the folders you have stored in your U-M Dropbox account. If you check a folder, that folder and the files and folders inside it are saved to your hard drive. If you uncheck a folder, that folder and the files and folders inside it are removed from your hard drive and are only available online while connected to the internet/via the Dropbox website.

Note: Automatic, local desktop syncing for Team Folders is turned off by default. You will have to use selective sync in the desktop app to add it to your desktop sync. You must also install the Dropbox desktop application to use selective sync.

You can view the sync status of your folders from your desktop app preferences or from the Dropbox folder on your computer. (Refer to Sync icons in the desktop app for a thorough overview of each icon.)

Solid green circle with a white checkmark Local/available offline — The file/folder is saved to your hard drive and online at dropbox.com

Solid blue circle with two white arrows going in a circle Sync in progress — The file/folder is updating

Solid grey circle with a white cloud icon Online-only — Learn more about online-only files with Smart Sync

White circle with a green border and a green checkmark Mixed — The folder contains files and/or folders that are local and online-only

Solid red circle with a white “X” Sync error — The file or folder can’t update or sync. Learn more about sync errors

Choose which folders to store on your hard drive

To check and un-check which folders to store on your computer:

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in your system tray/toolbar (Windows) or menu bar (Mac).
  2. Click your icon/initials in the top right corner.
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Click the Sync tab.
  5. Click Select folders under the Selective sync section.
  6. Check the boxes beside the folders you’d like synced to your computer.
    1. Un-check the boxes beside folders you’d like removed.
    2. Folders that aren't selected will be available online only on the Dropbox website.
  7. Click Update.
  8. Click Update again to confirm.

Additional Information

Note: Once a Team Folder is created, it may take time for it to be seen in Selective Sync. When Selective Sync is opened, there may be a notice that says, "ITS has added you to [GROUP]. However, it will not sync to your computer."  It may take 10 to 20 minutes (more or less) for the Team Folder to appear in Selective Sync to choose per the above steps.

One common cause content may not sync is that certain characters in the folder name are not allowed on the target OS. Refer to the Dropbox Help Center for more information.

Need additional information or assistance? Contact the ITS Service Center.

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Article ID: 3069
Tue 7/7/20 9:05 AM
Tue 1/16/24 2:53 PM

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