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How to Backup Dropbox to External Hard Drive?

Oct 20, 2020 • Filed to: Cloud Management Solution • Proven solutions


Dropbox is a platform that offers cloud storage services. Beyond storing files, it allows you to share files and even perform several other tasks. Since it is a very reliable platform, is there a need to backup Dropbox?

Truth be told, it is essential to always back up your data, regardless of the environment. Dropbox in itself isn’t a backup service. This is why you need to learn how to backup Dropbox to external hard drive. In this post, we will show you how to achieve this on both Windows and Mac. Let’s dive straight in.

Part 1: Why Backup Dropbox to external hard drive?

Let’s hit the nail on the head. Dropbox is no backup. It is only a cloud storage service that comes with several advantages. When you leave your files on Dropbox alone, it is a risky business. If you make use of Dropbox’s desktop app, it means that your files are insecure.

You can lose such files easily. Don’t get us wrong. Dropbox is a secure platform. It allows you to store your files away very easily. You can gain access to such files across an array of devices too. All you need to do is sync your different devices to Dropbox.

If you have Dropbox on your PC, for example, you can link it to your documents folder. This way, all the documents that you create sync with Dropbox. You can access the document from any location as long as you can log into your Dropbox account.

One of the limitations of Dropbox is that you only have access to 2GB of free storage space. As a result, there are times when you have to delete some files from the account to create more space.

Here’s why you need to backup Dropbox to external drive. Anytime you delete files from Dropbox, it gets deleted across all devices. Even though a copy of the deleted file stays in Dropbox for a while, it is lost after 30 days. This means that you will never have access to that file again.

If you don’t want this to occur, your best bet is to backup Dropbox to hard drive. Let’s not forget the part of security issues as well, even though they are uncommon in Dropbox. A final reason will be that you don’t have access to your Dropbox account, and you need such files. Simply plug in your hard drive and retrieve the document.

Part 2: How to backup Dropbox to external hard drive?

During this process, the first thing to note is that you need first to download the app to your computer. Once you install the app on your PC, you will see the Dropbox folder via your File Explorer. Whatever you drop in this folder, syncs to your Dropbox account.

Another thing that you should know before backing up Dropbox the location of the Dropbox folder. There are two ways to locate the folder in your local drive.

Method 1 – Enter %HOMEPATH%\Dropbox

This method allows you to search for Dropbox in your File Explorer window. Simply open your File Explorer and type Dropbox in the search box located on the right side. On the other hand, you can simply enter %HOMEPATH%\Dropbox in the address box of your File Explorer. This takes you to the root directory of the Dropbox folder.

Method 2 – Locate the path within Dropbox

You can always find the Dropbox folder inside your user folder. Moving the folder could result in it getting a new name. With the steps below, you wouldn’t be facing such a problem.

Step 1 – Go to your taskbar and click the Dropbox icon.

Step 2 – Move your mouse to the window's top-right edge and click on Settings, then Preferences.

click on preferences

Step 3 – You will see the location of the Dropbox folder in the Sync menu.

It is that simple. If you like to alter the location of this folder, then you can change the directory. With this out of the way, let’s show you how to backup Dropbox to external hard drive on Mac and Windows.

Dropbox Requirements

Before we go ahead with learning how to back up your Dropbox to an external hard drive, there’s something to discuss. Dropbox has a few standard requirements. Normally, you can move your Dropbox folder to different locations on your PC hard drive. You can also move it to an external drive.

However, it is not strange to see users complain that they find it difficult to do this. It is probably because they are not considering the requirements. So that you don’t make the same mistake. These are the Dropbox requirements to consider.

Requirement 1 – Supported File System

When you attempt moving the Dropbox folder to an unsupported hard drive, you’ll receive an error message. An example of such unsupported file systems is the exFAT file system. It is also important to note that you should avoid making use of network file systems. This is because they aren’t compatible with Dropbox.

Requirement 2 – Removable Media

Dropbox doesn’t allow you to move the Dropbox folder to any media it considers as removable. SD cards fall into this category. For an external hard drive, it is always hosted as one of the drives on your computer. As a result, you can move the Dropbox folder here.

Now that you know the requirements let’s look at how to backup Dropbox to external drive.

2.1 Backup Dropbox to external hard drive – Windows

If you make use of a Windows computer, then you should find this section interesting. Backing up Dropbox to an external drive on this OS isn’t difficult. You can do it using the Dropbox app. Let’s show you how.

Method 1 – Using the Dropbox app

Step 1 – Plug in your external hard drive to the computer and make sure that it detects it.

Step 2 – Click on the Dropbox logo at the bottom-right edge of your PC taskbar.

click on the dropbox logo

Step 3 – Click on the gear icon or settings button at the next window's top-right edge.

Step 4 – You will see a drop-down menu with a few options. Click on Preferences.

Select preferences

Step 5 – At the top of your window, click on Sync.

Step 6 – Go to Dropbox location and select Move.

click on ok to complete the process

Step 7 – Choose the new location of your Dropbox folder (in this case, the external hard drive). After making your choice, click Ok to complete the process.

Method 2 – AOMEI Backupper

The AOMEI Backupper is a data backup software that makes it easy to backup Dropbox to hard drive on Windows. It works on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10. Check out how to carry out the process below:

Step 1 – Plug in your external drive and be sure that your PC detects it.

Step 2 – Install AOMEI Backupper and run it on your PC. Go to the Backup tab and click File Sync.

Install aomei backupper

Step 3 – If you have to change the Task Name. You should then select your Dropbox folder by clicking Add Folder.

click add folder

Step 4 – Choose your external drive as the destination folder of your Dropbox folder.

choose your external drive as the destination

Step 5 – Click on Start Sync to initiate the process.

We have just shown you how to use the Basic version of AOMEI Backupper. The Professional version allows you to sync files in real-time from your PC to other locations.

2.2 Backup Dropbox to external hard drive – Mac

It isn’t so difficult to backup Dropbox to external hard drive on Mac. The process is just as easy as what you saw on Windows. Let’s show you how to move the Dropbox folder on your Mac to an external hard drive.

You can carry out this process through your Finder on your PC. If you are new to Mac, then let’s offer some help here. The Finder is the Mac equivalent of the File Explorer on Windows. It has a menu bar right at the top edge of your screen while the desktop is below. The Finder makes use of icons and windows to present you with the contents of your PC and iCloud Drive. If you have Dropbox installed on the computer, you will also see the Dropbox folder here as well.

Now, let’s check out the steps below:

Step 1 – Ensure that you already have your external hard drive connected to the computer.

Step 2 – Open your Finder and click on Dropbox in the left pane.

click on dropbox in the left pane of mac finder

Step 3 – Click on the Dropbox logo at the top of the screen. This will present you with a list of options.

click the dropbox logo

Step 4 – Click on the gear of settings icon at the options drop-down menu's bottom-right edge.

click the gear or settings icon

Step 5 – Now, you will have another drop-down menu with a list of options. Click on Preferences.

click preferences

Step 6 – A new window pops up. Here, click on Account to select the destination of the Dropbox folder. Of course, the destination is the external hard drive.

click account

Step 7 – Click on the Dropbox location and select the name of your external drive.

click on dropbox location to choose external hard drive

Step 8 – After choosing the new location, you will get a confirmation message. Click on Move.

click move

Congratulations, you have just learned how to backup Dropbox to external hard drive on Mac.


Backing up Dropbox to external hard drive isn’t as difficult as you thought it was. We have shown you several methods in this post. Try them out, and let’s know what you think.

Alice MJ

staff Editor

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