Troubleshoot disk space issues

If you see the error message "Your startup disk is almost full” (Mac) or “You are running out of disk space” (Windows), then your computer is low on hard drive space.

If you see the error message “Your Dropbox is full”, then your Dropbox account is out of storage space.

Not using Dropbox yet? See how Dropbox can help you save space.

You have a few options if you’re running out of space:

Use selective sync 

Selective sync is a feature that lets you remove files from your hard drive and keep them just in your Dropbox online account. This can help you free up some space on your hard drive. 

Learn how to use selective sync.

Note: If you’re a Dropbox Plus, Dropbox Professional, or Dropbox Business user, we recommend using Smart Sync, which is a more advanced version of selective sync. 

Delete files from your hard drive

If you’re on a Mac, these are Apple’s instructions to delete files and folders. 

If you’re on a PC, these are Windows’ instructions to delete files and folders. 

Want to delete a file from Dropbox? Learn how.

Mac users: Set online-only files to zero “logical” size

If you’re using Smart Sync with macOS High Sierra (10.13) or higher and you see the error message "Your startup disk is almost full”, you can check which files take up the most space on your disk by following the steps below. 

  1. Click the  (apple icon) in the upper-left corner of your desktop.
  2. Click About This Mac.
  3. Click Storage.
  4. Click Manage….

You may see some online-only files listed even though online-only files do not take up physical space on your local disk. The reason for this is that macOS has changed to calculate the size of a file based on something called “logical size” rather than “physical size”. To see which files are really causing the disk space usage, adjust your Dropbox settings so that online-only files have both logical and physical size set to zero. To do so:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click your profile picture (or grey circle) in the upper right corner.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Toggle Smart Sync update for Mac on.
    • Note: This setting may take some time to update. If you don’t see the update reflected after a few minutes, close the Dropbox desktop app, then reopen it.
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