How to Change the Location of Your Dropbox Folder
Every now and then you should Marie Kondo your files and folders. Well, organize them at least. If you wanted to properly Marie Kondo them, i.e. get rid of what doesn’t bring you joy, you might end up with no files left. Bye-bye work stuff. Bye-bye boring bureaucratic documents…
Joking aside, when the time comes to organize your desktop, you may wish to change the location of your Dropbox folder. But, this is where you hit a problem. You can’t simply drag and drop your Dropbox folder like you would any other folder.
So, here’s everything you need to know about changing the location of your Dropbox folder without running into any errors:
Where Are Dropbox Files Stored Locally?
When you install Dropbox, it creates a folder in a default location on your device. Here’s how to find your Dropbox folder on a laptop or computer:
Step 1. Go to File Explorer.
Step 2. In the address bar, type %HOMEPATH%/Dropbox
Step 1. Open Finder and select the Go menu.
Step 2. Select Go to folder…
Step 3. Type ~/Dropbox/ in the dialog box.
Here’s how to find your Dropbox folder on a mobile device:
Step 1. Go to the Files app.
Step 2. Find the Dropbox folder under Locations.
Step 1. Go to My Files and select Internal Storage.
Step 2. Select the Android folder then data.
Step 3. Find the Dropbox folder saved as com.dropbox.android.
Where Can You Move Your Dropbox Folder?
There are a few things you need to know before changing the location of your Dropbox folder. Follow these tips to avoid error messages and achieve optimal performance:
1. Use Another Location on the Same Hard Drive
When you open the Dropbox desktop app, it needs to be able to locate and access the Dropbox folder on your hard drive. If it can’t, then the app won’t work properly.
It’s also worth noting that SD cards and other removable media are not supported locations.
So, if you want to change the spot where your Dropbox folder hangs out, it’s best to move it to another internal drive.
2. Steer Clear of Network File Systems
Your Dropbox folder can’t be moved to Network File Systems, i.e. folders on a shared network. This is because these file systems don’t send messages when files are updated.
Dropbox needs these messages to work properly. When you open the app it detects and syncs any updates or changes you’ve made to files. Hence, network file systems are a no-go.
3. Be Careful with External Drives
You can move your Dropbox folder to an external drive but proceed with caution.
Firstly, your external drive must be connected to and recognized by your computer before you start up Dropbox. If not, you’ll see an error message when you open the app.
And here’s an important warning – if you disconnect your external drive while Dropbox is running there’s a possibility that the app will start to delete your files. Obviously, that’s not something that you want. So, either avoid transferring your Dropbox folder to an external drive or be very careful if you decide to do so.
How to Change the Location of Your Dropbox Folder
As mentioned above, you can’t just drag and drop your Dropbox folder to another location. You have to go into the Dropbox app settings to change the folder’s location. Nevertheless, it’s still a relatively easy process.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1. Open the Dropbox desktop app on your computer.
Step 2. Click on your avatar or your initials.
Step 3. (Mac users) Click Preferences… then Sync. (Windows users) Click Sync.
Step 4. (Mac) Click Dropbox location. (Windows) Click Move…
Step 5. Choose a new location for your Dropbox folder.
How to Change Dropbox From Your C Drive to Your D Drive
The C drive is the default location for your Dropbox folder on Windows 10. But, if you’re a Pro or Business user, it’s likely you have more data than the C drive allows for. The reason being, this drive also stores system files, program files, temporary files etc.
Thankfully, most computers have additional internal drives with much more storage space. All you have to do is move your Dropbox folder from the C drive to the D drive to access more space.
The process is the same as above:
Step 1. Open Dropbox.
Step 2. Click your profile image or initials.
Step 3. Click Sync.
Step 4. Click Move…
Step 5. Select D:\Dropbox.
How to Change the Dropbox Install Location
If you’re new to Dropbox or wish to install Dropbox on a new device, you can choose to bypass the default location and install it where you please from the get-go. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Download and install the Dropbox desktop app.
Step 2. Enter your account details.
Step 3. Before you click Open Dropbox, select Advanced settings.
Step 4. Under Dropbox location, choose where you want to place the Dropbox folder from the dropdown menu.
Why Can’t I Move My Dropbox Folder?
Having issues when trying to change the location of your Dropbox folder? There are some common reasons why this might be the case:
If you don’t know what symlinks are then you probably aren’t using them. Symlinks are essentially shortcuts that redirect to another folder.
Symlinks, networked folders or junction points may interfere with Dropbox and cause performance problems, high CPU usage and other issues. Remove any symlinks before trying to relocate your Dropbox folder.
2. Configuration Problems
How many times have you heard the phrase, “Have you tried switching it off and on again?” A similar fix works if there are any issues with your Dropbox configuration settings.
If you unlink and relink your device then Dropbox will sync any changes you’ve made to the settings and reindex your folder. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Open the Dropbox desktop app.
Step 2. Click on your avatar and select Preferences.
Step 3. Click the tab labeled Account.
Step 4. Click the unlink button next to your computer.
Step 5. You’ll have to re-enter your information when you open Dropbox again on this device.
3. Permission Issues
Another problem may be that folders in your Dropbox folder or the location you want to move your Dropbox folder to don’t have the correct permissions. In this case, you’ll have to troubleshoot access to files and folders on your desktop. Run command prompts that’ll grant the necessary permissions:
Copy and paste the following:
icacls “%HOMEPATH%\Dropbox” /grant “%USERNAME%”:(F) /T
icacls “%APPDATA%\Dropbox” /grant “%USERNAME%”:(F) /T
Copy and paste the following:
sudo chflags -R nouchg ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox ~/.dropbox-master
sudo chown “$USER” “$HOME”
sudo chown -R “$USER” ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox
sudo chmod -RN ~/.dropbox ~/Dropbox
chmod -R u+rw ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox
4. Low Disk Space
You won’t be able to move the Dropbox folder to a location where there isn’t enough storage space. To resolve the issue, check how much storage space you have left on your desktop and what exactly is taking up that space. This will indicate where you might need to free up some space by deleting unused files or programs.
Here’s how to check your hard drive usage:
Step 1. Open Settings and select System.
Step 2. Click Storage.
Step 3. Now you’ll see a breakdown of how your C drive is being used.
Step 4. Under More storage settings click View storage usage on other drives, if you want to check your D drive etc.
Step 1. Open the Apple menu and select About This Mac.
Step 2. Click on Storage.
Step 3. Here you’ll get an overview of the space you have left and what kind of files or programs take up the most space.
Step 4. Click the Manage… button if you want to review and optimize storage.
5. Files Are in Use
If any applications or programs are using files or folders that you store in Dropbox, you won’t be able to move the main Dropbox folder. Simply close these apps before trying again.
5 Bonus Tips for Using Your Dropbox Folder
1. Use Selective Sync to Save Hard Drive Space
If space is a concern when moving your Dropbox folder, remember that you don’t have to sync every single file and folder from Dropbox to your hard drive. Here’s how to use Selective Sync:
Step 1. In your Dropbox settings go to Preferences then click the Sync tab.
Step 2. (Windows users) Click Selective Sync… (Mac users) Click Choose folders under Selective Sync.
Step 3. Uncheck folders you don’t want to save to your hard drive.
If you’re a Plus, Pro or Business user, you can also use Smart Sync to make files online-only. This means they’re visible on your hard drive but are stored at dropbox.com.
2. Clear Your Dropbox Folder’s Cache
Dropbox temporarily saves the files you delete in a cache folder. If you need to free up some extra space pronto or if you want to ensure that files are permanently deleted immediately then you can clear your cache.
Step 1. Open File Explorer type in %HOMEPATH%\Dropbox\.dropbox.cache to go to your cache folder.
Step 2. Delete files by dragging them to the Recycle bin.
Step 1. Open Finder and then the Go menu.
Step 2. Select Go to folder… and type ~/Dropbox/.dropbox.cache in the dialog box.
Step 3. Drag files to Trash to delete them.
3. Make the Dropbox Folder Your “My Documents” Folder
If you use Windows, you can make the Dropbox folder the default location for saving your files and media. Do this and you won’t have to click Save As every time you work on a document nor will you need to move files manually from your My Documents folder to the Dropbox folder.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Find your My Documents folder on your desktop.
Step 2. Right-click and select Properties.
Step 3. Click the Locations tab and enter the path to Dropbox: C:\Users\Username\Dropbox\Documents
4. Remove the Dropbox Folder From a Device
There are a few reasons why you might want to delete Dropbox from a device, for example, if you lose a device, it gets stolen or you simply get a new computer. For security reasons, it’s possible to wipe Dropbox from a device remotely.
Step 1. Open Dropbox and click your avatar to go to Settings.
Step 2. Select the Security tab.
Step 3. Find the device you want to wipe under Devices.
Step 4. Click the X next to said device.
Step 5. Select Delete files from [account name] the next time this computer comes online.
Be sure to do this when you’re unlinking the device as you can’t wipe the files remotely once a device has been unlinked.
5. Add an Extra Layer of Security
Dropbox is equipped with enterprise-grade encryption. But, if you want to make your Dropbox folder extra secure, you can use a third-party encryption tool.
Tools such as Cryptomator and Boxcryptor encrypt your files before they’re synced to your Dropbox folder. Both of these tools work with other major cloud providers, too, such as OneDrive and Google Drive.
Cryptomator is open-source and therefore free. Boxcryptor is free for non-commercial use and has cost-effective plans for businesses.
As you have seen, there are tons of ways to organize and manage your Dropbox folder exactly how you want to.
Changing the location of your Dropbox folder to gain some extra storage space is simple. But, there are a few things you need to bear in mind if you decide to do so.
To keep Dropbox running smoothly, remember that it’s best to relocate the folder to an internal drive. Bookmark this guide and you can use it to troubleshoot any issues you may encounter along the way.