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So let's assume I have a new PC. Also assume that I have an external hard drive that has a copy of all of the files in my Dropbox, but it is somewhat out of date (e.g. some files aren't there, some files on the disk are older than the current versions in the cloud). I don't have any other machines on the LAN which are synced to Dropbox so LAN Sync is not an option. I wish to use this existing, but outdated, folder as a "seed" so that Dropbox won't need to download my entire (several hundred GB) folder.

If I copy this Dropbox folder to my PC prior to starting Dropbox for the first time, and point Dropbox at that folder, will the Dropbox client assume that my PC has the "correct" versions of the files, or will it assume the cloud versions are correct? In other words, is there any possibility that the Dropbox client could assume that what's on my PC is somehow more up to date than what's in the cloud and end up reverting or deleting files in the cloud?

Naturally if you setup a new machine, you have an empty folder, so Dropbox always pulls down what's in the cloud. But what I don't know is how Dropbox behaves if the computer already has a lot of files, but some of which may be out of date, and some which do not exist at all. Is there anything special about the "initial" sync, such that the cloud would take priority?

I hesitate to "just try it" because I obviously don't want to inadvertently alter any files stored in the cloud! :-)

  • Create a test dropbox account so that you can "just try it". – JonoB Nov 30 '17 at 1:44

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