Backups to DB for most secure method per LL’s advice not working so well/Messy Business with Dropbox

Here is my confusing talk with DB.


I use Scrivener and want to have my the backups for my scrivener projects uploaded to Dropbox and synced to me main computer and to another laptop.


Thank you for contacting Dropbox support! My name is Jack, and I’d be more than happy to help.

I do this because it is safer if I work on the most recent backup each time… open it up and work outside the Dropbox space, then when I quit the current version is backed up to Dropbox.

This s in lieu of having the original Scrivener project file on Dropbox and working on that.

If I’m getting this right, you would like to automatically backup changes to Scrivener files to Dropbox. Correct?


No I want to have Dropbox be the place for the auto backups of each of my Scrivener Projects.


If this process takes place through Scrivener you will need to contact them regarding this. You can just have the files in the Dropbox folder and edit from there whenever you need to. The new version of the file will sync to Dropbox so you have access to it from multiple devices.


But, they don’t load and are in Blue Process labels for over 24 hours


Are you on Mac or Windows?


MAC… jt has worked just fine in the past but…



Do you see the Dropbox icon on the upper right of your screen, on the system tray? (Next to the time and date)…





Can you please tell me what is the syncing status of the Dropbox icon, on the system tray of your desktop? You can see it by hovering your mouse cursor over the Dropbox icon.


Syncing 15,505 files. On my laptop it changed a number of otherwise Dropbox files to online only… it has been working on that for a day and a half.


Do you see progress in the number? Or it’s on 15,505 since yesterday?


It hasn’t changed much on this machine on the other it is much bigger 815K files and 9.5 hours


I understand

Would you mind giving me the name of your device? If you go to and scroll down to Devices (past the browsers) you can see the names of all devices that have connected to your account.


I’m there.



Thank you


It appears your Dropbox account contains a large amount of files. The performance of the Dropbox application starts to decline after reaching about 300,000 files. You can read more about this issue in the Help Center:…

One way you can speed up your Dropbox is by using selective sync. Selective sync lets you control which files and folders are being synced with your computer. Remember that if you’re having trouble accessing your files right now because of selective sync issues, your files are safe and accessible on

Learn how to use selective sync in this Help Center article:…

Should you need any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Are you still with me?


For my purpose I want to see the items that are backed up to Drop box… that means smart sync right?


Unfortunately no

Smart Sync will not resolve this issue.

Because the app monitors the online only files as well.

With Selective Sync it just excludes them completely.

Narrowing down the sync to less files to be more efficient.

You need to exclude folders that contain a large number of files to allow the app to sync.

If you need them you can include them to the sync again any time and exclude other.



Is my problem that I want too many backup copies to be stored it BD but shown in the Dropbox folder present on my main computer and on my laptop?

Should I run two versions of Scrivener, one for my three big projects that back up to DB so I can use the most secure method of cloud backup and the other for the rest of my projects?

I of course want to be able to use the most secure method on both machines.

Any advice/assistance would be appreciated.

No need to run multiple copies of Scrivener. You can define a project-specific backup location in the Project → Project Settings → Backup pane.

In my opinion, the “most secure method of cloud backup” is to use a backup service, not a synchronization service. The difference is that a backup service is optimized to allow you to roll back to a specific point in time. A synchronization service is optimized to give you access to the current version across multiple devices.

815K files is a LOT. I would expect that any service would take some time to process that volume of data.

A lot of it wasn’t Dropbox issues and chat support never goes well anyway, so confusion is no surprise.

“Online only” is a poor choice for Scrivener projects, but it may be fine for some other file types. It shouldn’t take more than a couple hours to sync 16,000 files unless your wiFi is slow or the files are on a slow external drive or a slow computer.

That, on the other hand, is a tremendous number of files. Two days to sync them would not surprise me.

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Separate from whether or not Dropbox itself is overloaded (and it seems you have a definitive answer from DB support that it is), I think the method that you are referring to is best described in this knowledge base article.

The basic idea is to set up Scrivener on each machine so that its automatic backup folder—what gets created as a zip file when you close the project, by default—is stored in the same place on Dropbox. Then, each computer uploads the latest zipped copy of the project (one single file!) at the end of every session automatically. The only action you have to take is to replace your working copy from the latest zip, when switching machines.

So while uploading one zip is enormously simpler and safer than uploading 175 files (or whatever it takes to get your project completely synced over), if the zip is file number 815,567 in the upload queue—it’s obviously not going to solve that problem. :slight_smile:

I use Dropbox and have done for ten years or so. During that time I have (obviously) got new computers to replace old ones. This means that several times I have installed Dropbox on a new computer and had to do an initial sync. The first time this has taken literally days. However, once the local DB folder replicates the folder on the DB server, then syncing is extremely fast, because DB only syncs the changes not the entire folder.

So I have no trouble syncing my Scrivener projects because if I am working on Scrivener then the Scriv files are the only files being updated. So they are never 815,567 in the upload queue :smiley:

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Everything may be in the queue for checking to see it it changed. Even if nothing did.

Well yes and no. Mostly no.

I have had a Dropbox 2TB account for as long as it has existed. I use Windows 10. I use my DB folder instead of my Documents folder. I have no use for Selective Sync or Smart Sync. Everything remains on my hard disk as an instantly reachable file. I have never had any problems with this. (It is also backed up daily onto two other 4T hard disks.)

I have just made two tests. I checked to see how many files are currently in my DB folder by checking Properties. I have 996, 615 folders there in 27,699 folders. I ran a second test. I opened Scrivener and made two entries into a project I access almost every day. It contains the contents of my website, which includes a daily photographic diary, with elongated captions. I closed it and opened another Scrivener project, and made an entry there.

While I was doing these the Dropbox icon in the Taskbar flipped between the up-to-date icon and the syncing icon. When I finished with both projects they made their backups. Within about 90 seconds Dropbox had stopped syncing and settled down and reverted to showing its up-to-date icon.

This is how I experience Dropbox and Scrivener every day.

I confess that I have never looked in any depth at how Dropbox claims to do this, but I do know that (with the exceptions of initial sync, and coming back to the laptop after several weeks of syncing to another one) I never experience the delays that being at the end of a queue of 815,567 would suggest.

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