Moving your Dropbox folder to a new location

You can move your Dropbox folder to any location on your hard drive or an external hard drive using the Dropbox desktop app.

Notes before you get started

  • Use the same hard drive: If you decide to move the folder, choose a location on the same hard drive as your operating system. Dropbox won't work correctly if the Dropbox folder becomes inaccessible, which can happen if it's located on an external drive that gets disconnected.
  • Use a supported file system: Moving the Dropbox folder to a drive with a non-supported file system for the operating system will generate an error message. Please review the system requirements for supported file systems for your operating system.
  • Avoid network file systems: Dropbox isn’t compatible with network file systems, since they don’t send messages when files change. When Dropbox first starts it does a deep file scan, detects changes, and syncs them. However, Dropbox usually waits for "file update events," which are only sent by physically connected drives.
  • Issues with external drives: If you’re moving the Dropbox folder to an external drive, the Dropbox folder must be available when your computer boots and before the Dropbox desktop app starts. If the Dropbox desktop app starts before such a drive mounts and gets recognized by your computer, you'll see an error. Dropbox will then give you the opportunity to relink your Dropbox account or exit if it can’t find your Dropbox folder.
    • If the external drive is disconnected from the computer while Dropbox is running, there's a small—but real—chance that the app will start deleting files before realizing that the entire drive has been removed.
  • Removable media: SD cards, or any device considered "Removable media" by your operating system, are not supported locations for the Dropbox folder. Dropbox works best when hosted on your computer's main internal drive, or on a physically connected external hard drive. Dropbox can only provide direct support when the folder is hosted on your computer's main internal drive.

Take these potential issues into consideration when choosing a new location for Dropbox. Consult resources for your operating system if you have further questions.

How to move your Dropbox folder

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in the system tray or menu bar.
  2. Click Preferences (Linux), or the gear icon (macOS and Windows)
  3. Click Sync (on macOS you’ll first need to click Preferences…).
  4. Click Move… (Linux and Windows), or Dropbox location (macOS).
  5. Select the new location for your Dropbox folder.
  6. Let Dropbox move your folder and its contents to the new location.

If you've connected a personal and a work Dropbox, you'll see both of your Dropbox accounts listed. Select the correct tab before moving the Dropbox folder location.

Your Dropbox folder will keep the same name as before, and can't be renamed during the move process. Dropbox will not sync your folder if it has been manually renamed or moved through your operating system. If Dropbox loses track of your folder, it will attempt to re-sync the folder in its entirety using its last known location.

macOS: Manually move the Dropbox folder back to its default location

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in the system tray or menu bar.
  2. Click the gear icon.
  3. Click Preferences…
  4. Click Sync.
  5. Click the dropdown beside Dropbox location.
  6. Select Other…
  7. Open the Applications list.
  8. Click the Applications dropdown, and select your hard drive.
  9. Open the Users folder.
  10. Select your computer username (it will likely have a "home" icon beside it).
  11. Click Select.
  12. Confirm the move by clicking Move.

I can’t move the Dropbox folder to a new location—what should I do?

If you're moving your Dropbox folder to a new location, you may see errors if any of the following are true:

The new location is on removable media

If you're moving your Dropbox folder, and the selected destination is on removable media (such as a removable USB drive or memory card), Dropbox may not be able to create the Dropbox folder.

We strongly recommend choosing a location on an internal drive. If the Dropbox folder is located on removable media, and this media becomes unavailable, you may see problems including:

  • Unwanted deletions
  • Poor syncing performance
  • Issues with extended attributes
  • File system incompatibilities

There are files or folders in use

Dropbox can’t move some files to a new location if they’re currently being used by other applications. To resolve this issue, close any applications that are accessing files in your Dropbox folder before attempting to create the Dropbox folder in a new location.

Problem with the configuration settings

You can rebuild your configuration settings by signing out and then back in to the Dropbox account on the Dropbox desktop application. This will restore any settings which may have been changed without affecting or removing your files. Please follow these steps to unlink and relink your computer:

  1. Right-click the Dropbox icon in the system tray, or menu bar, by the clock.
  2. Click on the gear icon in the Notifications panel, and select "Preferences".
  3. Select the Account tab.
  4. Click the "Unlink" button in the Account tab.
  5. Your Dropbox will then prompt you to re-enter your account information.

Your account will then take a few moments to re-index your Dropbox folder and sync any pending changes before returning to normal activity.

Your hard drive, or the destination for the Dropbox folder, is low on space

If you weren’t able to move the Dropbox folder to a new location, it's possible that the external drive doesn’t have enough space for all of the data stored in your Dropbox folder. To check whether this is true for you, view your available hard drive space. If your hard drive is very low on disk space, you'll need to make space available in order to properly move the contents of your Dropbox folder to the new location.

You're using symlinks or referenced files

We strongly recommend against methods that add referenced files (symlinks, junction points, or networked folders) to the Dropbox folder. In addition to interfering with creating the Dropbox folder in a new location, reference files can cause high CPU usage, poor syncing performance, permissions issues, and space usage discrepancies.

There are incorrect folder permissions

If you weren’t able to move the Dropbox folder to a new location, you may be encountering a permissions issue. Specifically:

  • Folders in your Dropbox don't have correct permissions
  • The destination where you're attempting to move your Dropbox folder doesn't have correct permissions

If either of these are true for you, follow the steps below to troubleshoot file permissions. If these steps don’t work, contact the maker of the software you’re using on your computer or external hard drive to troubleshoot further.

Click your operating system below to see instructions:

Linux

  1. Quit Dropbox by right-clicking the Dropbox menu from the menu bar and selecting Quit.
  2. Open a terminal window and copy and paste the following line into the terminal (exactly as written below):
  3. sudo chown "$USER" "$HOME"

    sudo chown -R "$USER" ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox

    sudo chattr -R -i ~/Dropbox

    sudo chmod -R u+rw ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox

  4. If your Dropbox folder is not ~/Dropbox, make sure you modify all the commands above to point to the correct location.
  5. Restart Dropbox by going to the Internet menu under Applications.

Mac

  1. Quit Dropbox by clicking the Dropbox icon from the menu bar, clicking the gear icon, and then selecting Quit Dropbox from the pop-up menu.
  2. Open your Terminal app (located at /Applications/Utilities/Terminal).
  3. Copy and paste the following lines into the Terminal, one at a time, and press Return after each one.
    • Be sure to copy-and-paste these commands, rather than typing by hand, as entering the command incorrectly could cause some harm to your computer
  4. You'll be prompted to enter your computer user's password (not your Dropbox password) after entering the first command. Note that the password field in the terminal will remain blank as you type your password. After you type it, press Return.
  5. 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

  6. If the location of your Dropbox folder is not ~/Dropbox, be sure to modify all the commands above to point to the correct location.
  7. Restart Dropbox. Dropbox is located in your Applications folder.

Note: To modify commands to point to the correct location, edit the Dropbox folder path to match the host info directory.

  • If the folder is not in /Users/USERNAME/Dropbox​, replace ~/Dropbox​ for the full location in the host info of the specific computer.
  • For example, if the Dropbox path is /Volumes/MyDrive/Dropbox (Team),​ all ~/Dropbox​ entries should be replaced with /Volumes/MyDrive/Dropbox (Team)

Windows

  1. Quit Dropbox by clicking the Dropbox icon in the system tray, clicking the gear icon in the notifications panel, and selecting Exit Dropbox from the menu.
  2. Press Windows Key + R (at the same time), then type cmd and press Enter to open the command prompt.
  3. Copy and paste the following lines into the command prompt, one at a time, and press Enter after each one.
    • Be sure to copy-and-paste these commands, rather than typing by hand, as entering the command incorrectly could cause some harm to your computer
    • Paste by right-clicking and then selecting Paste
  4. icacls "%HOMEPATH%\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T

    icacls "%APPDATA%\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T

  5. If the location of the Dropbox folder does not have C:\Users\YourUser\Dropbox as its path, modify the first command to point to it. For example, if your Dropbox is in D:\Dropbox, the command would appear as:
  6. icacls "D:\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T

  7. The other commands should remain unchanged. Note that, depending on the size of your Dropbox, this operation may take some time to complete. Wait for the C:\ prompt to appear again before proceeding.
  8. Restart Dropbox by opening the Start menu, selecting Program Files, and then Dropbox.
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