Is there any way I can upload whole folders to my Dropbox account without the desktop application?

I am syncing my home computer to a computer at university and the university computers do not allow users to install applications anywhere, meaning that I cannot use the Dropbox utility to share my folders.

I've attempted to use the online utility (on the website) to share my files, but much of my work is spanned over dozens of files all within their own folders. All you can do with the upload feature on the website is upload files and for my projects this would take a long time.

8 Answers 8


Since you are already using Dropbox, you might want to check out Dropbox Portable, you can run it from a usb thumbdrive, no install on your target computer required. You can find more information about it here: http://wiki.getdropbox.com/DropboxAddons/DropboxPortable.

and here are the instructions for installation:


Edit: It appears that the original dropbox portable stuff has moved but there is DropboxPortableAHK that seems to have taken it's place, I haven't used it, so YMMV.

  • +1: Neat, I haven't seen that before! Hopefully it works on EnderMB's uni computer (the Dropbox Portable page states that it won't work if certain permissions are switched off.)
    – Blixt
    Oct 8, 2009 at 16:29
  • 1
    broken link....
    – Cilan
    Oct 17, 2014 at 21:58
  • Is this still an up to date thingy?
    – Alex S
    Aug 22, 2015 at 10:40

You have to use chrome. Then just drag and drop the folder and it will upload very neatly.

I tried it on windows chrome. It worked.

Note that this is limited to at most 100 files.

  • 2
    I hate to suggest this as I personally prefer FireFox, but it does indeed work on Chrome. Mar 21, 2014 at 20:58
  • 2
    The limit now is 3,000 files per drag and drop. You can queue up more than 3,000, but that seems to be the upper limit per drag and drop. You must keep the browser tab open for the upload to finish. Sometimes I get a few errors with the upload and not sure how to re-submit without drag and drop manually on those files.
    – Sun
    Oct 29, 2014 at 7:00
  • 1
    Chrome on Windows I might add. It didn't work from Chrome on Linux. Dec 8, 2015 at 2:45
  • 2
    Confirmed working on chrome for Mac OSX Jul 14, 2017 at 3:47
  • 1
    Drag-and-drop now seems to work for Firefox on Ubuntu.
    – tparker
    Nov 21, 2017 at 6:16

The only way to upload an entire folder is to compress that folder into a zip or zip/tar file. On most operating systems, right click and go to "send to" or "compress" and then select zip or zip/tar if available. This can also be done from the command line:


Then on the dropbox website, click upload file, and select the compressed file (FOLDERNAME.tar.gz or FOLDERNAME.gz). Then once you are at home, download that file where you want the folder to go. On most operating systems, double clicking the zip/ zip/tar file will uncompress it into the folder that you wanted to start with. This can also be easily done from the command line with:

tar -zxvf FOLDERNAME.tar.gz

You will be left with a folder called FOLDERNAME, as well as a FOLDERNAME.tar file which you will need to delete once you have verified that the folder has been extracted.

In the rare event that you are using files with no tar format (such as .m), you will need to compress with a zip archive only. Use:

zip FOLDERNAME.gz FOLDERNAME/ (to compress)

unzip FOLDERNAME.gz (to uncompress)


When you hover a folder in the web interface, you'll see a down arrow to the right. Click it and you'll get the option to download the whole folder as a ZIP file.

Alternatively, use their mobile application (I think only iPhone is supported at the moment, though) and sync it to your mobile phone and then transfer the files to/from there via a data cable or wireless pairing.

As for uploading multiple files, their new design allows that pretty easily, but for folders, I don't know a good way to do it. I can only recommend the mobile application for that as well.


There are two ways to upload a folder as a whole to Dropbox using the Dropbox web site.

  1. Zip the file and upload it.
  2. Click on the option upload file and drag your folder to there.
  • The "Upload File" option via web interface fails to upload nested folders/files, on Safari at least. Worked on Chrome though.
    – Demis
    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:11

If this is going to be a constant and ongoing thing (with folders) you might want to invest in some web space and then use a FTP application to move files across computers. Web space can be had for as little as $3.99 USD a month, and that includes the domain.

Otherwise, folders are going to need to be zipped prior to uploading to Dropbox.

  • 1
    Dropbox will offer to download them as a zip via the web interface
    – Chris_K
    Oct 8, 2009 at 13:54
  • Right, I hadn't noticed that.
    – Josh K
    Oct 8, 2009 at 15:27

If you have dropbox open on a computer, you can just drag/drop a whole folder into dropbox (open in your browser), and the upload will begin.


This wont answer your question fully, but will show how to upload a folder with many files in it to your Dropbox webpage without storing them on your computer.

I was looking at how to upload large folders to my online dropbox from my external storage drive without storing them on my computer.

I first created a folder online at the dropbox webpage called MyStorageDrive

I then uploaded a 600mb folder (full of video and pics) to this folder at online webpage simply by dragging it from my external drive into the Dropbox folder on my computer.

When finished uploading/syncing to the webpage MyStorageDrive folder, I configured that webpage folder NOT to sync back to my computer (Tray icon/cog wheel/preferences/ selective sync) and then deleted it from my computer.

It saved me uploading about 1000 files separately. I now had all my pics on my external drive and the Dropbox webpage but not wasting space on my computer dropbox folder.

Hope this helps in some small way... Mike

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