Dropbox: How to recover when Dropbox sync fills your computer's drive
My three-year-old 11in MacBook Air has what was once considered a commodious disk—all 256GB of it. But these days, especially with large RAW files, it really isn’t that much. I had taken my eye off the ball and, of course, the day of reckoning had to happen while I was away from home on my Greek island. Ever since I arrived last Wednesday, Dropbox had been churning along, stretching the Air’s processor to the limit, and first reported “downloading file list” and then “syncing files”: All pretty normal stuff except that with my glacial 1GB broadband, the procedure was taking days rather than hours.
Then came impasse: Disk Full. It was exacerbated by the three days’ worth of shooting I’d done here in Mykonos and, to a large extent, the slowness of sync was down to the fast-filling state of the SSD. What do do?
Fortunately I am travelling with a 1TB Thunderbolt drive containing all my photographs for the past twelve months. But there was sufficient space to copy across the photo files from Dropbox. Once the files were safely stored on the external disk I was able to go to Dropbox Preferences/Account/Selective Sync/Change Settings in order to untick the two folders I had already copied. The result is that Dropbox deleted the folders from my local Dropbox folder but, of course, retained them on the server for future access.
I now have 110GB of free space but still have all my files on the external disk if I need to refer to them before returning to London.
Selective Sync in Dropbox isn’t something I use often, but it becomes essential as the amount of material stored in Dropbox balloons over time. At home I have a 1TB internal drive in my iMac so do not expect problems. But 256GB is now just too little for my purposes when travelling and this situation prompts me to consider replacing the Air as soon as possible.
I still dither between the top-spec MacBook, with all its compromises, and a much faster and higher-specified 13in MacBook Pro. When I get back to London I hope to have a play with the MacBook but, I think, sense will prevail and the decision will fall in favour of the MacBook Pro.