I have a desktop machine with plenty of space with Dropbox set up. I also have a netbook with limited space. Is there any way to set up my netbook to sync only with certain folders in my Dropbox (i.e., sync my 10 MB of documents not my 100 GB of pictures). I also have some Ubuntu machines and some Windows machines so advice for both would be welcome.

  • The current beta's for Dropbox in the 0.8 series now support selective sync. You can find a copy here - forums.dropbox.com – Pauk Jul 14 '10 at 8:21

The current version of Dropbox suports selective sync, it is explained in the dropbox help. Here's how to do it, check the help link for more advanced cases.

  1. Click on the Dropbox icon from the system tray
  2. Select Preferences
  3. Click the Advanced tab
  4. Click the Selective Sync button

Selective sync

A window will appear with a list of all the top level folders in your Dropbox folder. The folders with a check next to them will be synced to your computer. Uncheck any folders that you don't need to sync to your computer's hard drive. When you're done, select OK. Any folders you deselected will be removed from your hard drive, but will still be available through the website and on any computers linked to your Dropbox account.

Use the Advanced View button to drill down into the folders in your Dropbox. Click on the arrow next to the folders in your Dropbox to drill down and check or uncheck folders deep within your Dropbox hierarchy.


Not yet, but it's an upcoming feature!

on the client:

  • LAN P2P sync optimizations (i.e. dropboxes on the same network will exchange blocks locally instead of downloading from the server)
  • selective sync (i.e. the ability to exclude paths from syncing to specific computers)
  • significant performance improvements when moving around/manipulating large numbers of files (needed before we unveil the ability to sync any folder)
  • OK, but in the meantime is there any(possibly hacky) workaround. I'm thinking some way to fool the OS into thinking it's writing files but really throwing them away? Sounds like something Linux would be good at :) – JoelFan Oct 18 '09 at 23:00
  • Create the pictures folder and take off write permissions for it? Depending on how dropbox processes the sync (eg. alphabetically) you could change the picture folder name to start with Z for example, then after it processes everything else it will be denied write permissions and hopefully stop there. – John T Oct 18 '09 at 23:23
  • 2
    I was thinking of another idea... what about share only a certain folder with another user, i.e. another of my email addresses? – JoelFan Oct 19 '09 at 1:18
  • The feature disappeared from John T's Votebox link, but it looks like it's still not available. Any better workarounds yet? – Miss Cellanie Feb 4 '10 at 19:48
  • The feature has been released (and is detailed in the accepted answer). This answer should probably be deleted. – ale Jul 17 '12 at 13:12

One way to sync multiple folders in the current version is symlinks. You can create a symlink on the command line by typing:

mklink /d somefolder c:\path\to\somefolder

Just create one symlink per folder you want to include, an they will show up in your My Dropbox folder as shortcuts. I use this to sync most of my user directory, but not my music folder, for example.


This is coming from a *nix noob, however couldn't you make a symlink to /dev/null with the name of your picture folder?

However, this may have the unfortunate side-effect of forcing you to download 100gb of pictures every boot, and I don't know if you can stop it!! A folder full of empty files wouldn't pass the updating checks, either, so it looks like you really do need to wait for the client to update.

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