Mac - Dropbox folder on ext'l hdd has more data than hdd's capacity?
February 3, 2020 9:13 PM   Subscribe

I'm remoting in to a client's Mac to get files for a project. The external drive where the Dropbox lives is so close to full I can't move any more files into the Dropbox. When I "Get Info" for the drive, it says it's 1TB capacity with 7GB free space. But in Finder the Dropbox shows its total file size as 3.4TB. Looking in a couple of folders within it looks like the folder sizes could easily add up to that. Definitely more than 1TB. Um... why? What's actually going on?

This is on Mojave. Disk Utility shows the same capacity as Finder, but says there's just 1GB free.

I guess I'm mostly just curious. But is there any way to force a recalculation of the file sizes? Or some other way to determine the actual amount of data in the Dropbox folder?

I'm moderately comfortable in command line usage, although I'm much more familiar with the Windows OS than with MacOS.
posted by under_petticoat_rule to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Does the client use hard-links at all? I do for large files on some of my drives, so the total of file sizes will always exceed the total of space used.

To find file sizes in terminal, you want to use 'du'.


du -sh directory

...will show you a human-readable summary for 'directory'.

du -r directory

...will show you actual byte counts for all files and folders within directory.
posted by pompomtom at 9:23 PM on February 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Could this be a result of Dropbox's smart sync feature?
posted by kickingtheground at 9:24 PM on February 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Are some of them shared folders owned by someone else, so they're not included in Dropbox 1TB allowance?
posted by gakiko at 4:50 AM on February 4, 2020

Best answer: My first guess was also Smart Sync.
posted by dfan at 5:19 PM on February 4, 2020

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