By Jonna twitter/ Last Updated February 1, 2023

Why Do You Need Cloud Backup?

  • Are you afraid of accidentally losing the data stored on your hard drive?
  • Are you anxious that there is not enough space locally for backup?
  • Are you panicked that you have lost all local backups due to local accidents?
  • Backup all your data to the cloud offsite, never lose data and recover them from any PC.

Eliminate all your concerns with the Best Cloud Backup service - CBackup

Get Started

External hard drive vs cloud storage: which one wins?

In the past, as one of the most used physical storage devices, external hard drive is favored by many users because it is stable and usually has a large capacity. However, with time going by, users gradually realized the shortcomings of external hard drives and turn to cloud storage to get rid of the limitations of external hard drives.

As you may know, external hard drive is prone to breaking down after a long term of use and even a new device could break due to manufacturing defaults. While external hard drives allow you to have your data with you at all times, it also means it can get lost or stolen and even be destroyed in case of a disaster like fire incidents or flood. What’s more, you need to connect it manually with your PC to update your backup each time. If you are running out of storage space, you can only buy an extra device to get more storage space, making it hard to manage your data.

Cloud VS External Hard Drive

However, with cloud storage, you can access your data from any device easily. And since your data is stored remotely, it is not prone to fire damage or theft. Besides that, most cloud storage has scheduled update features to automatically back up files. Furthermore, users can upgrade the cloud storage capacity directly by choosing a plan.

According to the contents above, it is not hard to see that cloud storage is the winner in the battle: external hard drive vs cloud storage, and you are suggested to backup data to cloud storage. If you have backed up a large number of data to an external hard drive, you can also backup external hard drive to cloud storage for better security or easier management.

Can I backup external hard drive to Dropbox?


How do I backup my external hard drive to Dropbox?

Hi! I'm working on a school project, and all the files are in an external drive, about 300GB. I registered to Dropbox and found that files on Dropbox can be accessed easier than on external hard drives. So, I want to backup all the external hard drive files to Dropbox. Can I backup external hard drive to Dropbox directly? Looking forward to your reply!


As shown in the aforementioned case, many users who used external hard drives to backup files now register an account of cloud storage and backup files to cloud. As the big three in the cloud storage market, Dropbox has accumulated many users and become one of the most popular backup destinations for an external hard drive.

If you are a Dropbox user and want to use Dropbox to backup external hard drive to it, you can read on and follow the methods below. If you are not a Dropbox user, you can also backup external hard drive to OneDrive, Google Drive, or other cloud storage.

4 Ways to backup external hard drive to Dropbox on Mac and Windows

In the following contents, you will learn how to backup external drive to Dropbox or how to achieve Dropbox and external hard drive sync on Mac or Windows in three ways. The first way supports you to select and upload files from external hard drive to Dropbox manually. The second and third ways use the Dropbox desktop app, and the fourth way helps you automatically backup external hard drive to Dropbox. Please read on and choose one way according to your needs. 

Before achieving Dropbox external drive backup, please pay attention to the things:

Make sure the storage space in Dropbox is enough for the files you are going to move from external hard drive. Dropbox free account that comes with 2GB, a $9.99/mo account that comes with 1TB, and a $15/user/mo business account that comes with 1TB. If your space is insufficient, you can upgrade your account. Or you could combine cloud storage for free.

Connect your external hard drive to your Windows PC or Mac and make sure it can be detected. As long as the external hard drive is connected to your computer, Dropbox will treat it as if it is just a regular part of your local storage.

Way 1. Backup external hard drive to Dropbox via website

1. Go to the Dropbox website and sign in to your account.

Dropbox Login

2. On the Dropbox main page, click the “Upload Files” option to choose the files that you want to upload to Dropbox from external drive and upload your files manually. In this way, file size up to 20GB.

Upload Files to Dropbox

Way 2. Backup external hard drive to Dropbox via desktop app

Dropbox desktop app can help you automatically sync files to Dropbox, so, you can sync external hard drive to Dropbox with it. You just need to download and install the Dropbox desktop application on your computer. And then, sign in to your Dropbox account to follow the instruction to set up it:

By default, the "Dropbox" folder will appear on your computer, located at C:\Users\Computer Name\Documents\Dropbox. To back up external hard drive files, you just need to directly drag and drop them into the folder and the newly added data will be automatically uploaded to the Dropbox cloud storage.

View Dropbox Through File Explorer

Way 3. Dropbox backup external drive once it connected

If you want to automatically backup external hard drive to Dropbox, you can set it up in Dropbox Preferences, here it is:

1. Please sign in to your Dropbox account on the Dropbox desktop app.

2. Then tap the Dropbox icon on the system tray, then choose the avatar icon, and select Preferences.

Dropbox Preferences

3. Hit the Backups tab, and check the Show setup notifications when new external hard drives are plugged-in under the External Drive Backups section.

External Hard Drive Backups

4. Hit Apply > OK.

5. Once you connect the external hard drive to your computer, it will show you a window like this.

Backup External Hard Drive to Dropbox

6. Select Back up and it will backup all files on external hard drive to Dropbox. If you tap Choose folders, you can choose the files and folders to backup to Dropbox.

Way 4. Auto Backup external hard drive to Dropbox via CBackup

As we all know, as long as you connect your external hard drive to the computer, it will be recognized as a local hard drive. So, using tools that support PC to Dropbox cloud backup is also a way to backup hard drive to Dropbox directly. It's highly recommended to try the free cloud backup service - CBackup which allows you to backup external hard drive to Dropbox Cloud, as well as sync external drive to Dropbox. 

CBackup is a professional cloud backup service and provides two versions for different users, the web version for any devices and the desktop app for Windows PCs. With it, you can backup files on the external hard drive to Dropbox easily and quickly as long as you connect your external hard drive to the computer.

Here, we will take CBackup as an example to show you how to backup external hard drive to Dropbox automatically:

1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer. And download CBackup on your computer and install it, create a new CBackup account and sign in CBackup desktop app.

Download CBackup Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. After logging in, please click Storage > Dropbox in order, and then click Authorize Now. Then follow the steps to allow CBackup access to your Dropbox files.

Add Dropbox

3.  Then select the "Backup" tab on the left side and then press the "Backup PC to Public Cloud" button to create your Dropbox hard drive backup task.

Create Backup Task

4. Specify the "Task Name", and choose the external hard drive to backup. And, select Dropbox as the target location. And hit Settings > Scheduler to make Dropbox backup external hard drive automatically.

Backup Settings

Tip: Besides backing up hard drive to Dropbox via daily, weekly, or monthly, and if you enable email notification and you could get the email about the backup result after the backup is finished, especially useful to monitor the backup remotely; besides, you could backup only file types you'd like to backup with File Filter, etc.

5. Press the Start Backup button to backup external hard drive to Dropbox automatically.

Backup External Hard Drive to Dropbox

That's all about how to backup external hard drive to Dropbox, if you want to backup Dropbox to external hard drive, you can read this article: How to Backup Dropbox to external hard drive effectively.

Furthermore, you could sync files from an external hard drive to Dropbox as well by clicking Sync > Sync PC to Public Cloud. And the synced data can be used directly while the backed up data should be restored to use.

Sync PC to Public Cloud

Bonus tip: how to increase Dropbox backup space for free?

As you know, Dropbox will sync a copy of all your files in the Dropbox folder to Dropbox cloud by default. If you have more and more files backed up to the Dropbox cloud, the storage space will run out sooner or later. To get more Dropbox backup storage space for free, you can use the CBackup to increase your backup space.

CBackup offers a cloud storage combination feature that allows you to add and merge multiple Dropbox accounts to increase Dropbox backup space. And the more Dropbox accounts you add, the bigger backup space you will get for free with CBackup. If you want to backup more files to Dropbox without paying, you can use CBackup to combine the storage space of Dropbox accounts for free, and backup files to the combined Dropbox cloud.

Increase Dropbox Space for Free

Here is how to free merge Dropbox accounts to increase Dropbox space easily with CBackup:

1. Please sign in to CBackup app. Then follow step 2 to add more Dropbox accounts. 

2. Tap "Storage" > " + Add Combined Cloud" subsequently.

Add Combined Cloud1

2. Specify the combined cloud name and tick all the Dropbox accounts you added, and click "Next".

Add Combined Cloud2

3. Choose the order for all your Dropbox accounts to store files and press the Combine button to let Dropbox increase storage space for free.

Now all your Dropbox accounts have been merged for free.

Backup More Files on External Hard Drive to Dropbox Combined Cloud

Now you could backup external hard drive to Dropbox hybrid cloud storage as well, here is how:

1. Run CBackup and sign in. After logging in, click on the "Backup" tab > "Backup PC to Combined Cloud" to create a new backup task. 

Backup PC to Combined Cloud

2. Choose the external hard drive, then select the Dropbox combined storage as the destination.

Start Backup Files To Combined Cloud

3. Press "Start Backup" to backup external hard drive to Dropbox combined cloud with huge backup space easily and directly.

Besides, CBackup provides the following useful features for your cloud backup:
Offers 10 GB free cloud storage space of CBackup Cloud, and you could get more free cloud storage space if you subscribe to the CBackup pricing plans.
Except for Dropbox, you could backup files to Google Drive, OneDrive, CBackup Cloud and the combined cloud easily and automatically.
Backup one cloud to another with professional backup settings to save your time and cloud storage, making everything easy.
Sync one cloud to another with everything moved and you don't have to download and reupload, it's amazing for you to switch cloud drives, such as you could sync OneDrive to Google Drive, transfer files from Dropbox to OneDrive, etc.


With the methods above, you can easily backup external hard drive to Dropbox. No matter which way you choose, don’t forget to use CBackup to get more Dropbox backup storage space for free. Besides backup space combination, it can also help you backup files from PC to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or CBackup Cloud with large storage space at a preferential price.

Get Unlimited Cloud Storage for Free to Protect Files with CBackup

Learn More