Selective Sync is a feature of the Dropbox desktop application that allows you to select only the folders you want to be synced to your computer. Selective Sync gives you the control to ensure you have only the files you need on any computer. It's especially handy if you want to save space on netbooks and other computers with small hard drives.
To enable Selective Sync, head to your Dropbox preferences from your desktop:
If you’re a Dropbox Business user, you have two ways to manage what syncs to your desktop application:
- Selective Sync. Selective Sync helps you choose which files appear in your file explorer, and which are only available on dropbox.com.
- Smart Sync. Smart Sync shows you all of your content in your file explorer, but only downloads the ones that you want to access locally.
You can use both features together, or choose just one.
Smart sync is in early access. Contact your admin to turn on Smart Sync.
Learn more about Smart Sync.
Selective Sync conflicts
Folders that are deselected in Selective Sync preferences will be removed from the Dropbox folder on your hard drive. However, if a folder is created with the same name in the same place as the unsynced folder, the new folder will appear with a gray circle and a minus sign overlay. This icon indicates the folder is not being synced to your Dropbox. If you resume syncing your old folder of the same name through Selective Sync preferences, the new folder and its contents will appear alongside the old folder and have "Selective Sync conflict" in the folder name.
Leaving shared folders
Deselecting a shared folder from your Dropbox Selective Sync preferences will only prevent syncing to your computer. The shared folder will remain synced and active in the Dropbox of other members of the shared folder. To remove yourself from a shared folder, you can either leave the shared folder from the Dropbox website or, if you're the owner of a shared folder, you can unshare the folder.
Selective Sync unavailable while Dropbox is paused or indexing
If you're running the Dropbox desktop application for the first time, you may have to wait until Dropbox has finished indexing the files in your Dropbox folder before you can access Selective Sync settings. If you see a message that says "Performing initial sync with server. Please wait...," it means the Dropbox desktop application is in the process of indexing the files in your Dropbox or you have paused syncing from the Dropbox menu. You can choose to wait until indexing is complete to access your Selective Sync settings. Otherwise, select Cancel to dismiss the message and return to your preferences window. If you have paused syncing, you can resume syncing via the Dropbox menu.
Dropbox will continue indexing (as indicated by the blue icon with rotating arrows over your Dropbox icon) and you'll still be able to browse and change other preferences while Dropbox finishes.
Running multiple applications
Dropbox works best when it is the only desktop application interfacing with the Dropbox folder. Multiple Dropbox desktop applications or other syncing applications interfacing with the same Dropbox folder is not supported.