I use Dropbox to share files between my home desktop computer, and my laptop. My Dropbox account now has a terabyte of space, and my home computer has many hundreds of gigabytes of space. My laptop, though, has an 80GB SSD drive, and after accounting for system files, swap, and other stuff, I have about 50GB available space for my Dropbox directory.

I've discovered that if I move over 50GB of files into my Dropbox directory on my home computer, then it causes all sorts of hassle when I start up my laptop. It gets caught trying to sync more files than it has space for, and then gets in a bit of a loop, as I remove the newly synced files and it tries to re-download them.

In order to prevent this mistake happening in the future, it'd be great if I could set a limit on the size of my Dropbox folder on my home computer. Either make it fixed at a certain size, or warn me if it has more then a certain amount of data. Is this possible?

I've looked into a linux command called quota, but it seems to involved mounts and partitions and I'm not sure if it's right for me, or if it can be used with my Dropbox folder. I'm hoping there's some configuration or third party software that can act on my existing setup.


Dropbox has a settings in its Account preferences for each machine it is installed on for what folders to sync from your Dropbox account. Using this feature and selectively using only certain folders on your laptop is the simplest solution.

  • Thank you for the response, but this does not address the issue in my question in any way that I can see. If I didn't want to sync something, I could just leave it out of my Dropbox folder entirely. What I need is a failsafe to prevent accidental overload. – Questioner Oct 19 '14 at 9:21
  • @DaveMG There doesn't seem to be any way to do what you're asking short of creating a separate partition for Dropbox in the size you want, then pointing Dropbox to use that partition. I've seen some hacks for using quota and disk images but those have inherent issues in Linux. Managing your content shared to the laptop by using selected synched folders and manually managing the size is going to be the easiest route to follow. – douggro Oct 19 '14 at 14:48

Further to douggro's answer, The screens to look for are:

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