Sync External Hard Drive to Dropbox and Vice Versa | 4+2 Ways

You may want to sync external hard drive to Dropbox for different reasons. This tutorial will show you the detailed steps of how to sync an external hard drive with Dropbox and vice versa.


by Jonna Lasted Updated April 19, 2024

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Can you upload to Dropbox from an external hard drive?


How do I sync my external hard drive with Dropbox?

For many years, I have worked between Mac computers at home and the office using an external hard drive to sync my files, however, I would like to change to a Dropbox folder instead, for convenience and security reasons, and I want to sync external hard drive to Dropbox. Besides, I would like to know if can take my Dropbox sync external drive, so I can still use it if I need to travel and there's no Wi-Fi to connect to Dropbox.

Dropbox has attracted many users due to its simple cloud storage and sync services. As the most popular backup method nowadays, have gradually begun to replace external hard drives with cloud like Dropbox. Many users look to sync external hard drive to Dropbox. Because storing data in cloud not only make up for the shortcomings of external drives (easy to be stolen or damaged), but also access data in the cloud at any time on different devices, without carrying a hard disk.


Dropbox provides apps that are compatible with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. As long as you have an account, you can backup files to Dropbox and sync files to any device for access. Still, some users do not know how to sync external drives to Dropbox. In the following content, we will show you all the solutions to sync external drive to Dropbox or vice versa.

4 ways to sync external hard drive with Dropbox

Can Dropbox sync external drive or vice versa? The answer is of course yes. Dropbox officially provides two channels to allow local files to be synced to the cloud. In addition, we will also provide a simpler method. Read on to learn how to sync external hard drive with Dropbox.

Before starting the following methods, please make sure that you have connected the external hard drive to your computer and can read the data locally because if you connect the external hard drive to your computer, Dropbox will treat it as part of the local storage.

Way 1. Drag and drop files to the Dropbox website

The Dropbox web app supports file reception, you can sync external drive to Dropbox by following the steps below.

1. Go to the Dropbox website and log in to your account to go to your Dropbox interface.

2. Open your file explorer and navigate to the folder where the external hard drive data is located, select the file that needs to be synced to Dropbox with the mouse, and then drag it to the Dropbox website. The external hard drive files you move will be synced to Dropbox directly.

drag and drop files to Dropbox

Way 2. Upload external hard drive files to Dropbox

If you only have a small number of files to upload, you can make Dropbox sync folders on external drive in the following two simple steps.

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

2. Under the Home tab, click Upload files/Upload folder. Alternatively, you can also under the All files tab to click Upload > Files/Folders.

upload files to Dropbox

Then the external hard drive files will be synced to Dropbox after uploading.

Way 3. Sync external hard drive files with Dropbox Folder

Dropbox offers a desktop application that supports file syncing, so you can make Dropbox sync external drive through the following steps.

1. Download and install the Dropbox app on your computer, launch the app and log in to your account.

Dropbox Signin

2. After that, Dropbox will create a folder named Dropbox on your computer.

3. Open the folder, and then open the external hard drive from another window. Drag or paste the files that need to be synced to the Dropbox folder to do Dropbox external hard drive sync.

Upload files to Dropbox App

Note: There is also a Dropbox Backup feature on the Dropbox desktop app that allows you to backup your important computer folders and external/local drives to Dropbox automatically. You can run the Dropbox app, and click Preferences > Backups > Set up, then select the external disk you wish to backup.

Way 4. Sync external hard drive to Dropbox with CBackup

The ways above to sync external hard drive and Dropbox are feasible but will take a long time to sync all files. Therefore, we recommend that you consider using the free cloud backup and sync service - CBackup. 

CBackup is a professional Dropbox auto sync and backup software that allows you to safely sync and backup local files to Dropbox. In addition to Dropbox, it also supports users to upload files to other mainstream cloud storage services, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. With its easy-to-use client, you can easily automatically sync and back up your computer to Dropbox.

CBackup main page

CBackup provides file filter, email notifications, scheduler, and other functions to help users backup and sync their PCs in the cloud as easily as possible.
Provide 10GB of CBackup Cloud backup space for each account for free.
You can combine this space with the space of Dropbox or even other cloud drive accounts into a large enough backup space to store more files.
Even if you are troubled by problems such as Dropbox not syncing across devices one day, you can switch to CBackup directly to sync files to Dropbox easily.

Let’s sync external hard drive to Dropbox with CBackup to make it easier:

Step 1. Run CBackup on your computer

Download and install CBackup on your PC, and create a CBackup account to sign in. Ensure the external hard drive can be detected by your computer.

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

Step 2. Add Dropbox to CBackup

Go to the Storage tab, then select Dropbox and hit Authorize Now. Then follow the instructions in the pop-up window to allow CBackup to access the Dropbox files.

Add Dropbox

Note: CBackup uses the OAuth authorization system and 256-bit AES encryption technology. No one except the user can access the data in the account, and you don't need to worry about the data being stolen or tampered with.

Step 3. Create a Dropbox Sync Task

Go to the Sync tab, and press the Sync PC to Public Cloud button to create your task.

Basic Sync

Step 4. Start to Sync External Drive to Dropbox

  • Customize Task Name for easy distinction. Then select the external hard drive files as the source, and select Dropbox as the destination.
  • Click the Start Sync button to transfer the external hard drive files to Dropbox.

Start Sync

Note: If you don't want to manually select the files to be synced or backed up, you can click Settings at the bottom of the window before starting the transfer, and set up a scheduled sync or backup to enable Dropbox automatic sync PC files under Scheduler.

Sync Scheduler

Besides, the following features of CBackup might help you a lot while transferring files from one cloud to another:

  • Backup one cloud to another easily to protect your cloud data, then if your files get lost in the source cloud, and then you can restore data easily with the backed up data.
  • Sync one cloud drive to another with everything transferred, especially useful when you plan to switch cloud drives and transfer everything to the target cloud storage.

Extended reading: How to sync Dropbox to external drive

Can Dropbox sync to an external hard drive? Some users need to use files in Dropbox without a network connection or want to sync Dropbox locally for other reasons. Let's learn how to sync Dropbox to an external drive with the following 2 easy ways.

Way 1. Sync Dropbox to external hard drive with website

1. Go to the Dropbox website and log in to your account, go to the homepage.

2. Find the Dropbox file you need to sync to the external hard drive, click the More button on the right side of the file, and click Download.

3. The time to complete the download depends on the size of the file and the network speed. After the download is complete, find these files in the local disk and move them to the connected external hard drive by dragging or pasting.

Way 2. Sync Dropbox with Selective Sync

Any Dropbox account can enable Dropbox Selective Sync to sync Dropbox to an external hard drive.

1. Click the Dropbox icon on the taskbar of the desktop. Click the gear icon and select Preferences.

Dropbox Preferences

2. Go to the Sync tab, and tap the Selective Sync option.

Dropbox Selective Sync on Windows

3. Select the folders you want to sync to the computer automatically, and click Set up.

4. Check Select All to select all folders on Dropbox, and tap Update to sync the entire Dropbox to computer.

Select All Folders Selective Sync

5. Then copy all Dropbox files to the external hard drive manually.

FAQs about Syncing Hard Drive to Dropbox

Does Dropbox sync take up hard drive space?

Yes, when you use the Dropbox desktop app on your computer to sync files to the cloud, it will take up space on your hard drive. If you want to stop Dropbox filling hard drive, you can make Dropbox files online only, or rely on the free cloud backup sync software CBackup to perform Dropbox one-way sync from PC to cloud.

How do I sync my NAS with Dropbox?

To backup or sync NAS to Dropbox, you can rely on the Synology Cloud Sync app, which allows you to sync NAS to multiple clouds like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.


You can use the above 6 methods to sync external hard drive to Dropbox, or sync Dropbox to external hard drives. If you want to sync your computer to Dropbox in the easiest and fastest way, you might as well try to use CBackup, which has free cloud space, simple operation, stable and safe.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna becomes a professional in the areas of cloud backup and restoration, data protection, etc. after years of learning and researching. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.

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