I have to reinstall windows and I have a lot of data on dropbox (~30 gb). I'm afraid dropbox will start syncing all over again. I want dropbox to keep the current files in my harddisk after I reinstall windows. (files are in a different drive, obviously)

4 Answers 4


Dropbox path should be same before/after reinstallation. I just made the same thing, I bought a new laptop. I moved my old dropbox folder into my new laptop. By using settings in dropbox, select the dropbox folder --> you should show your actual folder to the new dropbox setup.

Note : DO NOT FORGET to backup actual dropbox folder into external hdd in order to avoid bad results.

  • 1
    You mean just point dropbox to the previous folder where dropbox synced files? Are you sure, because I've heard there are problems with conflicted copies? Sep 15, 2013 at 9:22
  • I had no problems when I did this. Conflicted copies may however occur, if you change the data in the folder between the last "old" and the first "new synchronization". And as NT already said: Make sure top copy the Dropbox folder somewhere save before reinstalling Dropbox.
    – Tim
    Sep 15, 2013 at 9:28
  • 2
    problems with duplicate copies occur with ownership and permission issues. use the same account name when formatting. Sep 15, 2013 at 9:56
  • It's should not be mark as answer, i just do that. All files is mark as conflict, and dropbox client sync all file again.
    – Cheung
    Nov 10, 2013 at 17:24
  • may be 99 people does it well but you (1/100) fail...So %99 it's working...if you try again,I hope it works for you too...
    – NT.
    Nov 11, 2013 at 21:55

Probably late, but because I was looking for that as well, here is the official procedure from the Dropbox documentation.



It looks like Laurent's answer is the right way. I seem to remember that SE likes the core part of the answer to actually be posted on SE, so here is what the DropBox documentation says, from the same link (https://www.dropbox.com/en/help/1941).

Basically, on the new computer or in the new location that you want DropBox (DB) to put the new DB folder:

  • Start a DropBox Sync from scratch to the new location, so that DB actually starts downloading all the online files to the new location.
  • Pause the Sync, to stop the downloads.
  • Copy your existing DB files into the new location (overwrite anything that was just downloaded).
  • Resume Syncing - DB will first check the DB folder, be astounded to find all the files magically there, and proceed to only sync the latest updates, if any.

To clarify how to start a DB sync from scratch in a new location (for example, in the event of already having all the files on a hard drive but in a different location, like myself & the OP), I had to actually

  • Unlink my DropBox (Prefs>Account>Unlink).
  • Re-Link it and point to the new desired location.
  • Pause the Sync
  • Move all the DB files from the old location onto the new location, overwriting anything already there.
  • Resume Syncing

In my case this worked perfectly, and DB was "up to date" after a short while. Again, thanks to Laurent for the link with the answer.

By the way, on DB v3.0.3, simply changing the DB folder location to whereever my existing folder was (as per the other answer) did not work; DB stated "There is already a DropBox folder in that location" or something to that effect.

  • uh... can't unlink, because of Dropbox's stupid new 3 machine limit. So... need to retain the existing link.
    – Michael
    Apr 29, 2019 at 22:13

this is how i did it on SAME computer after reinstalling windows

windows go on C: drive, dropbox files are on D: drive in subfolder "Dropbox"

i renamed that subfolder to "Dropbox OLD" and, after installing new Dropbox app, i chose same destination as before and call it the same "Dropbox". since i changed old subfolder name, there will be no conflict. I close dropbox app and MOVE (CUT/PASTE) everything from subfolder "Dropbox OLD" to new one.

then start dropbox again and let it sync. you shouldnt get any probs except if you changed some files from another computer (both will be preserved)

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