Can I schedule dropbox, drive, box etc to NOT all hog computer time?
August 27, 2014 1:30 PM   Subscribe

For various reason I use several cloud storage services - dropbox, drive, copy, box, etc etc. All are great, all offer sync'ing of my PC (Windows 7) files and directories. I (like many people), sync different folders to different cloud services. BUT, I really don't need them ALL to happen INSTANTLY or SIMULTANEOUSLY. I fear that my PC is grinding to a halt because of these sync'ing services all scanning for file changes at the same time. It can't be good for performance. So ... is there a way to schedule each cloud service to run only at certain times? Or maybe to have one of them always running and others to pop in to have a quick look, and then disappear again for a couple of hours and not hog resources? Ideally I (we) want a "cloud service manager" that would allow users to control many different services and to allocate time slots, resources and priorities, etc.. Does such a thing exist? Thanks in advance.
posted by Xhris to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think any of these scan the file system continuously. Most of the time they say, "Hey, Windows, when you change something in this folder, let me know please", and then they just sit around doing nothing waiting for Windows to tell them something changed.

Have you actually verified that they are consuming resources?
posted by AaRdVarK at 1:53 PM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you may be over thinking this or perhaps attributing some other source of slowness to what seems to you to be the most obvious source.

Verifying if they are what is clogging up your processor or whatever you perceive the slowness to be. Diagnose the issue first.
posted by Brockles at 2:15 PM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. - Donald Knuth

That's aimed at programming, but makes sense for a lot of things. The key point is, don't try to fix a suspected slowdown without proof it's actually occurring. You say you "fear that [your] PC is grinding to a halt because of these sync'ing services", but have you actually witnessed any connection between the two? When a computer "grinds to a halt", it's almost always because the system is waiting for I/O from the hard drive.

Very often, it's because you're pushing your memory limits and the OS has to swap active memory out to the hard drive and vice versa. Sometimes, it's because a process is hogging the hard drive and other processes that need to do tiny, quick operations have to wait for access.

Like AaRdVarK said, operating systems, filesystems, and the cloud services are smarter than to sit scanning the filesystem continuously for changes. Windows will let the service know when a relevant file has changed. Then the service uploads the file to its servers, or scans the file to find the changes and uploads just those differences. If you're syncing very large files, this could cause significant hard drive activity, but in most cases, it's a very simple, background operation.

When your PC starts "grinding to a halt", open up the Task Manager and take a look at which processes are consuming CPU resources, if any. Look at your RAM usage.
posted by WasabiFlux at 3:41 PM on August 27, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all for the lecture.
I was hoping for an answer to my actual question though.

So please let me change it to ... "I use multiple cloud services to sync THE SAME folders. Because they all receive the notification of a change at the same time, they all attempt to upload at the same time and this is not what I want for my own personal reasons ..." The rest of the question remains the same.

posted by Xhris at 4:43 PM on August 27, 2014 appears to be a paid service that lets you connect multiple cloud services. I have no experience with it.

As an alternative, if you have access to another computer, set it up with all your multiple sync services. Meanwhile, on your own computer, only use one sync service. That way all your files transfer to your second computer and eventually to all your other sync services without your own computer getting bogged down.
posted by praiseb at 8:35 PM on August 27, 2014

You can set bandwidth limits but not timing controls with many of these. You might be able to rig up a system with killing the programs and restarting them at various times.
posted by reddot at 2:13 AM on August 28, 2014

GoodSync can be set up to sync with many cloud services on a schedule, when changes happen, etc. It does have a bit of a learning curve, but it uses very little in the way of system resources, and is the Swiss Army knife of syncing.
posted by jmfitch at 4:57 AM on August 28, 2014

I assume that you have rejected the idea of scheduling each service? Because that is my solution and the only one I know that schedules is Crashplan so that is my main back-up and I schedule it to run at night when I am asleep and Dropbox backs-up only when I add something to the folder manually, same with Google Drive.

I just bought a new computer with Windows Eight and it has OneDrive. I have nothing in that folder, I don't use it, still it checks itself ALL THE TIME. And I don't know how to un-install it. So I feel your pain. (I think it is bogging down my system)
posted by cda at 5:38 AM on August 28, 2014

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