By Nicky / Last Updated December 28, 2020


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External hard drive vs cloud storage: which one wins?

Cloud VS External Hard Drive

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.

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 damages or theft. Besides that, most of the cloud storage have scheduled update features to automatically back up file. 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?

“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 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 drive to backup files now register an account of cloud storage and backup files to cloud. As the big three of 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 backup an 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.

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

In the following contents, you will learn how to backup external hard drive to Dropbox 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 way can help you automatically backup external hard drive to Dropbox. Please read on and choose one way according to your needs.

Before backing up, 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.

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. In the Dropbox main page, click the “Upload Files” option to 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, you just need to download and install 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 important files, you just need to directly drop 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. Backup external hard drive to Dropbox via a free third-party tool

Using a third-party tool is also a way to backup external hard drive to Dropbox directly. Here, we will take a free third-party backup tool called AOMEI Backupper Standard as an example to show you how to do it:

1. Download Dropbox desktop application on your computer and install it. Connect the external hard drive to your computer as well. Then download AOMEI Backupper Standard, install and launch it.

2. Run AOMEI Backupper Standard and click "Backup" tab. Scroll down your mouse to find "File Sync" and click it.

File Sync

3. Edit the task name if necessary. Click "Add Folder" to select the folders you’d like to sync on the external hard drive. Click the drop-down icon and choose "Select a cloud drive". In the pop-up window, select Dropbox and click "OK". Then, click "Start Sync".

Choose Destination

Bonus tip: How to get more Dropbox storage space for free?

As you know, Dropbox will sync a copy of all your files to the Dropbox folder on your computer by default. As time passes, you will have more and more files be backed up to the Dropbox cloud. Thus, the storage space will be run out of sooner or later. If you want to get more Dropbox backup storage space for free, you can use CBackupper to achieve it.

CBackupper offers a free web-based cloud storage manager that supports you to add and merge multiple Dropbox free storage space on one interface. In this way, you can run multiple Dropbox accounts at once and combine the backup storage space into a huge space. Here are the steps to use CBackupper:

1. Create an account and sign in. Just go to the main page of CBackupper, then type your email, password, and name to create an account. After that, sign in your account.


2. Click “Add Clouds” under “Clouds” tab, select Dropbox and click “Add”. Then sign in your account and authorize CBackupper to access and manage your files on the cloud. Google Drive, OneDrive, and FTP/SFTP are also supported.

Add Dropbox

3. After adding, all your Dropbox accounts are listed here. With only one login, you can manage and combine all your Dropbox accounts freely

Allocated Space OneDrive

In addition, CBackupper also has also a desktop tool that you can use it as an alternative to achieve Windows PC cloud backup with large storage space at a low price. With this tool, you can back up PC files including documents, forms, videos, photos, etc. to its AOMEI Cloud. Meanwhile, CBackupper offers 1000 GB storage space for only $6.00 per month and $60.00 per year.

Moreover, CBackupper provides a 15-day free trial as long as you register a CBackupper account. And the data in Backupper will be retained for 7 days after the 15-day trial period, you can restore the backups in AOMEI Cloud within 7 days. You can use it as a Google Drive alternative to do cloud backup with large storage space at a low price.

1. Install it on your computer. Run it and sign in.

cBackupper Sign Up

2. After logging in, click on the "Task" tab and click on the "New Task" button.

Create Task

3. Click on "Add Source" to select the PC files that you want to backup to AOMEI Cloud. After selecting, click "Start Backup".

Add Source


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