3 Ways: How to Upload to Dropbox Without Local Copy Easily

You will know how to upload to Dropbox without local copy using 3 easy methods from this guide. Read through it and pick the most suitable tip to upload files to Dropbox without syncing locally with ease.


by Jonna Lasted Updated February 1, 2023

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How do I stop Dropbox from storing locally?


Every time I upload a file to the Dropbox cloud, Dropbox will sync to my computer. I don't want to keep a local file copy, because it takes up a lot of space on my computer’s hard drive. Can I upload to Dropbox without local copy? Any ideas?

Dropbox is a popular file hosting and sharing service. Does Dropbox keep a local copy? Yes! When you sync computer to Dropbox, it will automatically sync files you upload to the cloud to the local Dropbox folder on your computer.

Luckily, there are several ways that you can use to prevent Dropbox from syncing locally. If you are looking for an answer to how to copy files to Dropbox without syncing, don't miss this guide.

Necessity of Uploading to Dropbox Without Syncing Locally

Some users want to complete Dropbox upload without sync for the following reasons:

  • Free up local space. The files synchronized to the local will not only occupy the online storage space but also occupy the local hard drive space. For some users, the purpose of uploading files to the cloud is to free up local space.
  • Prevent accidental deletion of local files. If you delete a local file in the Dropbox folder, the file stored in the Dropbox cloud will be automatically erased as well. Not only does this fail to protect your data, but it may lead to file loss due to accidental deletion.

3 Ways to Upload to Dropbox Without Local Copy

No matter what the reason is, you may need an easy way to upload files to Dropbox without local copy. How to only perform Dropbox one way sync from local to cloud without cloud to local? In the following content, you will learn 3 step-by-step ways on how do I keep Dropbox online only without syncing locally.

Way 1. Upload to Dropbox Without Local Copy using CBackup

When you want to upload files to Dropbox without syncing locally, using the free cloud backup tool - CBackup is a good choice for you.

With CBackup installed on your computer, you can sync files to Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and more public clouds with no need to worry about local syncing. Once you upload files to Dropbox successfully, you can delete your local versions directly without any impact on cloud files.

CBackup will bring you lots of conveniences:

  • Set up auto sync to Dropbox on a One time only, Daily, Weekly, or Monthly schedule.
  • Use OneDrive as backup only, as well as Dropbox and Google Drive, instead of a sync tool.
  • Backup Dropbox to Google Drive and other clouds on a single interface in a minute.
  • Backup files to CBackup Cloud, offering 10GB of free space and expandable backup space.
  • Offer File Filter to help you exclude certain types of files when syncing.
  • Based on the OAuth authorization system, it will never save your personal information like account and password.

Now, click the button below to get this tool and follow the steps below to settle how do I remove files from my computer but keep them in Dropbox.

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

Step 1. Register an account for CBackup for free for preparation. Run CBackup desktop app and log in.

Sign In

Step 2. Connect your Dropbox account to CBackup by clicking “Storage” > choosing Dropbox to tap on “Authorize Now”. After that, sign in to your Dropbox account and grant CBackup access to the cloud storage.

Add Cloud

Step 3. Go to the Sync tab and select the Sync PC to Public Cloud option.

Choose Pc To Public Cloud

Step 4. Check the directory/directories you want to upload to Dropbox. You can also choose to sync external hard drive to Dropbox if needed.

Select Source Files

Step 5. Choose a folder in your added Dropbox account to save these items. Click on Start Sync in the lower right corner to sync files to Dropbox without syncing locally.

Start Sync To Dropbox

To ensure that files are not automatically synced locally, you could uninstall the Dropbox desktop app on your computer. Because once you run the Dropbox desktop app, the cloud files will be automatically synced to the Dropbox folder on your computer.

Way 2. Upload to Dropbox without Syncing Locally with Smart Sync

There is another way to upload to Dropbox without syncing - with the help of Smart Sync. It is a feature of the Dropbox desktop client that allows you to make files online only and save hard drive space on your computer. You can also use it to fix Dropbox not enough space on device error.

How do I keep Dropbox online only with Smart Sync? Here's how it works.

Step 1. Download and launch the Dropbox desktop app and sign in to it.

Step 2. Open the Dropbox folder on your computer and find the folder or file that you want to set online.

Step 3. Right-click it, choose hover over Smart Sync in the pop-up menu, and select the Online-only option.

Dropbox Smart Sync Online Only

The disadvantages of using Smart Sync:

  • This feature is only available for Dropbox Plus, Family, Professional, and Business customers.
  • Whenever you open the file you set as Online-only, it will sync locally and occupy hard drive space again, requiring you to reset it.

Way 3. Upload Data to Dropbox without Syncing via Selective Sync

The Dropbox selective sync feature, available to all Dropbox users, also gives you the option to remove folders from your computer hard drive and still have them saved on your cloud. With this option, you can use Dropbox without storing files locally by removing specific Dropbox folder sync from your hard drive.

If you encounter the “Dropbox can't sync, not enough free disk space” error, Dropbox selective sync can also help you.

Step 1. Run the Dropbox app and click the Settings button to choose Preferences.

Dropbox Preferences

Step 2. In the Sync tab, click on Selective Sync.

Dropbox Selective Sync Windows

Step 3. Deselect folders that need to be saved only on dropbox.com to click Update.

Selective Sync Update

The Disadvantage of using selective sync:

  • It only lets you remove folders from local sync, not for individual files.

Bonus Tip: How to Increase Dropbox Storage for free

If you're craving more Dropbox storage space, but struggling with the high cost, you can use the cloud space combination feature of CBackup to merge Dropbox accounts and get more cloud storage at no cost.

Step 1. Run CBackup and add all your Dropbox accounts to it by referring to the cloud-adding step above. CBackup has no limitations on the number of added cloud accounts.

Step 2. Then, click on Add Combined Cloud on the Storage tab.

Add CCombined Cloud1

Step 3. Rename the combined cloud. Select all Dropbox accounts, and click Next > Combine.

Tick All Dropbox Accounts

You will get a combined cloud, and you can click Backup > Backup PC to Combined Cloud to upload data to the huge space.

Add Destination Combined Cloud


In a word, to upload to Dropbox without local copy, you can use a third-party cloud backup service like CBackup, use Smart Sync, or employ Selective Sync. Among them, using CBackup is the easiest and once-and-for-all choice. Download it and give it a try.

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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