How to move the Dropbox cache folder

created May 30, 2014, last updated May 24, 2015.

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How to move the Dropbox cache folder

Dropbox is extremely useful, it can be used in many different ways to allow distributed sharing of files between various systems, Windows, Mac, Unix, IOS devices. The list of ways to use Dropbox are endless.

I use one dropbox account to backup SQL backups from various systems on a Windows 2003 server however I noticed today the disk dropbox was installed on had ran out of disk space and the problem was the Dropbox cache folder.

Dropbox Cache Folder too large?

The Dropbox cache folder is a hidden folder within the Dropbox folder which caches older versions of Dropbox files. The cache contents are cleaned out every few days by Dropbox but the cache files still seem to have the ability to grow very large, very quickly – my cache folder was 20GB, which on a relatively older 250GB disk was a large percentage of the free disk space.

Whilst this may not be a problem on some desktop PC’s or Laptops if you have Dropbox installed on a server with limited disk capacity you might find yourself running low on disk space. Even worse, if you installed Dropbox on a relatively small system partition, your system will grind to a halt.

You can manually delete the cache folders, but you will see that they very quickly reappear and start to grow in size.

Move Dropbox cache folder to an external drive

The solution is to move the Dropbox cache folder (NOT the data folder) to an external drive.

Unix users will be familiar with symbolic links which allow you to link a virtual file or folder to a target file or folder. This is possible on newer versions of Windows with the Mklink command, and on older versions of Windows Server with the Junction command.

To move my Dropbox cache folder on Windows 2003 to an external usb drive, I used junction with the following command:

junction “d:\DATA\Dropbox\.dropbox.cache” “g:\EXTERNAL\dropbox-cache”

with Mklink on Windows 7/8 the command would be

mklink /d /h  “d:\DATA\Dropbox\.dropbox.cache” “g:\EXTERNAL\dropbox-cache”

The external drive is large so the Dropbox cache folder can grow there without any problems.




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