How to Delete Dropbox Files from Computer Only: 2 Ways

Deleting a Dropbox file from computer also deletes it from all Dropbox accounts. But don't worry! If you need to delete Dropbox files from computer only, you can follow the solutions below.


by CBACKUP Lasted Updated April 11, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

What happens if I delete Dropbox folder on my computer?


I've got this Dropbox folder hogging up my space on my Windows 10 laptop. What's the deal if I just delete it from the Dropbox folder on my computer? How to remove Dropbox files from computer but not Dropbox?

- User case from Dropbox Community

Removing a file from the Dropbox folder on your local computer also eliminates it from and any other Dropbox synced devices. However, there's no need to worry about it. First, if you accidentally delete a vital file, it will remain securely stored within the Deleted files folder, ensuring the option for recovering deleted files in Dropbox.

  • Users with a Dropbox Basic (free), Plus, or Family account, deleted files persist in the Deleted files folder for a duration of 30 days.
  • Users with Professional and Business accounts retain deleted files for an extended period of 180 days.

Second, there are solutions to delete Dropbox files from computer only and free up your PC storage. You can try the following methods.

Delete Dropbox Files From Computer Only

Delete Dropbox files from computer only in 2 ways

If your primary use of Dropbox revolves around storing files for daily operations, you might not necessarily require the synchronization of local file copies to occupy a lot of storage space. Various methods to remove Dropbox files from computer only can aid in freeing up storage space.

Method 1. Use Dropbox selective sync

How to make Dropbox delete files locally only? The first way is to use Dropbox selective sync. It is a convenient feature integrated into the Dropbox desktop app, enabling users to manage their hard drives by removing specific Dropbox folders from local computer. And these folders remain securely preserved within the user's account on

✦ Note: It's important to note that selective sync exclusively applies to entire folders and not individual files, encompassing all the content contained within those folders.

Here's a step-by-step guide to using Dropbox selective sync to delete Dropbox files from computer only:

1. Open your Dropbox desktop app. Then look for your avatar (profile picture or initials) positioned in the top-right corner and click on it.

2. Select Preferences from the dropdown menu. Then navigate to the Sync tab.

Dropbox Preferences

3. Find Selective Sync and click on Choose folders.

Dropbox Selective Sync Choose Folders Mac

4. Check the folders you want to retain on your hard drive. Conversely, uncheck the folders you wish to remove. Once you remove the checkmark from a synced folder, it will be deleted from your computer but remain accessible on Dropbox, allowing access from any other device

5. Finally, click Update to save your changes. After that, it will solve the issue of how to delete Dropbox files on my computer.

Update Dropbox Selective Sync Update

Method 2. Make Dropbox files online-only

How to remove Dropbox folder from computer without deleting files? If you aim to free up space by removing Dropbox folder from computer, you don't need to do that and you can easily free up your disk space by making files online only in the Dropbox folder.

Online-only files are securely stored in the cloud, ensuring they do not occupy any storage space on your computer or mobile device. This feature proves especially beneficial in managing storage constraints, allowing for seamless accessibility without burdening local memory.

✿ Note: If you are a Dropbox Basic user, you can't make files online-only , which is only available for paid users. You can only use selective sync to save storage space on your device.

Here are the instructions to delete Dropbox files locally only by making Dropbox files online only:

1. Open File Explorer on your PC by pressing Windows + E.

2. Find Dropbox folder under File Explorer and navigate to the specific file or folder you intend to remove from computer and keep online only.

3. Then right-click the file or folder and select Make online-only. The step indicates that the actual files will be removed from your computer and not take disk space. The file will be replaced with shortcuts in the Dropbox folder.

Make Online Only

Best free way to sync files to Dropbox without local copy

In the previous parts, you can select an appropriate solution to address the issue of how do I delete Dropbox files from my computer only. In the following part, let's delve into the topic of syncing files to Dropbox without local copy to save your hard drive space via a third-party tool, CBackup, a free cloud sync service.

What makes it the best tool? Let's talk about some advantages of this tool:

It performs one-way sync to the Dropbox cloud, without syncing data locally.
It seamlessly supports various mainstream cloud platforms, including Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and other public clouds.
You can effortlessly safeguard your computer data by backing up computer to Dropbox, ensuring its security and enabling convenient recovery in the event of unexpected data loss.
By using its File Filter feature, you can include or exclude specific file types during the process of backing up or syncing files to the cloud.   

Let's delve into the process of syncing files to Dropbox without local copy with CBackup:

1. Begin by downloading the CBackup desktop app and proceed to create a new account, followed by signing in to the desktop app.

Download CBackupWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. Navigate to the Storage section, select Dropbox, and click Authorize Now. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the authorization process.

Select Dropbox

3. Click Sync > Sync PC to Public Cloud to create a new sync task.

Choose PC to Public Cloud

4. Select the local files in the Source tab, and choose a Dropbox folder as the sync destination. You can also hit Settings > Scheduler and then choose an interval to auto sync files to Dropbox (optional).

Sync Scheduler Pro

5. Press the Start Sync to sync local files to Dropbox. Then you can delete or remove your local files to free up your disk space.

Start Sync to Dropbox

Bonus Tip: How to get free and unlimited Dropbox storage space

What's more, due to 2 GB of Dropbox limited storage, you may want to know how to get enough Dropbox storage space to store your data. You can use CBackup to increase your storage space for free. Let's delve into the process of combining multiple Dropbox accounts to increase your storage for free:

1. Hit + Add Cloud under Storage to add other Dropbox accounts, even Google Drive and OneDrive accounts.

My Storage Select Dropbox

2. Once the accounts are added, access the Storage tab from the left panel, then select the + Add Combined Cloud button.

My Storage New Combined Cloud

3. Modify the Combined Cloud's name as needed, select all the Dropbox accounts you've added, and click Next.

Tick All Dropbox Accounts

4. Arrange the backup order for the Dropbox accounts and select the Combine button. Then, you'll notice the successful merging of Dropbox accounts, which will be readily accessible in the CBackup main interface.

Determine Dropbox Order


To delete Dropbox files from computer only and free up disk space, you can utilize two straightforward features of Dropbox in this post.

Additionally, you can use CBackup to transfer your PC files to Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, or other public cloud platforms without syncing files locally. Considering the limitations of the 2GB Dropbox free storage space, you can also use this tool to expand your Dropbox storage capacity for storing data at no cost.

Additionally, considering the limitations of the 2GB Dropbox free storage space, we suggest exploring CBackup as a viable solution to expand your Dropbox storage capacity for storing data at no cost.

CBACKUP · Editor
CBACKUP is an editorial team of CBackup. They give users help documents and many excellent articles covering cloud backup and sync issues, and provide cost-effective cloud backup services. They are pleased to help you solve cloud backup problems. Please feel free to contact CBACKUP editorial team with any questions.

Free Cloud Backup & Sync Service

Transfer files between cloud drives, combine cloud storage to gain free unlimited space

Get Started Now

Secure & Free