Dropbox Selective Sync: Overview, How to Use, Alternative

If you don’t know how does Dropbox Selective Sync work and how to set up this feature, you can refer to this article for the answer. Meanwhile, you can gain the best free file sync tool to protect your data.


By Maggie Updated on September 22, 2023

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What will Selective Sync do for you?

By default, you can backup Windows 10/11 files to Dropbox with its help. If you have multiple computers connected to a single Dropbox account, there will be loads of files and information synchronized and shared among the computers under this account. Sometimes the confusion of files will bring you inconvenience and trouble managing, and in serious cases, it may cause data loss.

But fortunately, Dropbox has a feature called Selective Sync that can eliminate your worries. Selective Sync help you sync Dropbox to computer, and are tied to each computer, not to your entire account. This means you can decide which files you can sync to specific computers and which ones you don’t want, simply by changing the settings on each device.

Activating this feature can help you save disk space and bandwidth on your computer, and has the following listed benefits.

  • Avoid syncing sensitive private data from your primary computer to other computers with the same account, ensuring data security and privacy.
  • Avoid syncing invalid files that are frequently and automatically generated by the system or applications, such as some temporary folders.

Dropbox Selective Sync

You may be wondering how to how to use Dropbox Selective Sync feature. I'll show you the exact steps below. Just keep reading the following contents.

How to use Dropbox Selective Sync for Windows

Here, you can grab the specific steps to enable or disable the Selective Sync feature. Once you have it activated, you can still see the files and folders on your computer, but they are stored in your Dropbox online account.

Please note that you must have the Dropbox desktop app installed to use Selective Sync.

1. If you already have this app installed on your PC, find the Dropbox icon in the system tray.

2. Click and select Preferences from the menu. In the open-up window, click the Sync tab, then click Selective Sync.

Selective Sync

3. From here a sub-window will pop up where you can check or uncheck specific folders or sub-folders to sync to the computer you are currently using. Then click Update to save your changes.

Select Folders

✍Tip: Unchecking folders will not remove that folder from the cloud or any other computer, they will be available online only on the Dropbox website.

4. Click OK to update Selective Sync settings.


Bonus tip: sync Dropbox local folder to another place as a backup

Dropbox Selective Sync does play a decisive role in helping you only load wanted folders to computer thus save disk storage space and protect your sensitive data. However, in the process of using this feature, you may encounter Dropbox Selective Sync not working issue similar to Smart Sync not working, or other problems that cause you to lose data during the syncing process.

As with the 3-2-1 backup principle, simply storing files or folders in one place is not secure enough. Therefore, it is recommended that you sync your Dropbox folder with important data to elsewhere as a backup solution. Thus you will be able to regain it in case of computer disk failure or accidental loss, etc. here, I sincerely recommend an all-in-one data backup and restore solution for you, that is AOMEI Backupper. AOMEI Backupper Standard, regarded as the best free file sync tool, has the following advantages you can benefit from:

♦ It can help you sync Dropbox local folder to other destination paths such as external hard drives, NAS, USB devices, etc.
♦ It allows you to set up schedule sync. Once you modify, add or delete files to the source folder, the changes will be automatically synced to the target path at a daily, weekly, and monthly frequency, thus you won't miss any changes.
♦ It has high compatibility and can support all Windows operating systems as Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP. If you are Server users, AOMEI Backupper Server is suitable for you.

Now, I’ll show you how to sync Dropbox local folder to another place as a backup in case of data loss. Here we taking NAS as a destination path for an example. You can click the button below to have this freeware downloaded and installed on your computer to have a try.

Download FreewareWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Once you open this free sync tool, click Sync and then choose Basic Sync.

File Sync

Step 2. Click Add Folder to select the Dropbox folder you want to sync.

Add Folder

Step 3. Click the inverted triangle icon at the second bar > Add Share or NAS Devices > input the IP address of the NAS device (Network Path) and click the blue button at the right.

Add Share or NAS Devices

Step 4. Once the target NAS device is added, select one folder as the destination folder to store the Dropbox folder and click OK.

🌟 If you want to automatically sync your Dropbox folder to NAS, you can click on Schedule Sync at the bottom to set your sync tasks to be executed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. If you want to sync folders based on event triggers or USB plug in, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Schedule Settings General

Step 5. Confirm your settings and click Start Sync to complete this process.


That’s all about how Dropbox Selective Sync feature will do for you and how to use it. To make your data stored in Dropbox folder safer, it is recommended that you use the best file sync tool to sync this folder to another place as a backup to prevent data leakage or loss due to computer failure, virus attack, etc. And there are many other distinctive syncing features to help you improve the efficiency of your syncing tasks.

In addition to its excellent file sync feature, AOMEI Backupper is an all-in-one data backup and clone software that enable you backup files, system, disks and partitions, and also helps you clone Windows 11 to another hard drive.

Maggie · Editor
Maggie is a technical editor from AOMEI and troubleshoots technical problems against data protection. She has received professional and systematic technical training. With a focus on user experience, security, and problem-solving, she always puts herself in the readers' shoes and provides them with valuable technical insights.