How to delete Dropbox files from a computer without it syncing and deleting them online

I just signed up for Dropbox recently after exploring several online backup services including Mozy and I chose Dropbox because of its price, mobile app, ease of use across Mac and PC and ability to host and share files online. Mozy looks good for pure backup, and it’s cheaper than Dropbox, but I heard it’s really hard to download files once you’ve uploaded them. looks great but the price is actually a bit misleading since you have to sign up three people to get the low rate, it’s just meant more for work groups than individuals. In case you haven’t already signed up, consider using my affiliate link which will get you an additional 250MB of space for free when you sign up! This Dropbox coupon is valid for multiple uses and once you sign up you’ll get a link that’s worth up to 8GB if you invite your own friends as shown below:

Dropbox is working well so far and I’ve been moving all of my important files into the local folder that syncs with the online backup. I feel safe and the process is just so simple, the files are encrypted and it’s all very secure. However, now I’m about to swap laptops and I want to remove the local files from my computer before getting a new one. How do I remove the local files and uninstall Dropbox without having it try to sync with the online version and delete all my stuff remotely too? At first I thought maybe I should just turn off my internet connection and then delete everything locally, basically trying to trick the system, but there is actually a much easier way built right in to the Dropbox preferences.

  1. Make sure your files are completely synced and the Dropbox icon has a green check mark on it
  2. Click the Dropbox status icon and go to Preferences
  3. Under Account go to “Unlink This Computer…”

Once you’ve followed these three steps you can safely delete the local content from your computer and sell it or reformat it or whatever you want without worrying about losing those files. If you were really concerned you could follow the steps above, delete the local Dropbox files, go to the Dropbox website and login to make sure the files were all still there. Once you’ve seen them on the server and guaranteed they were safe, then you could delete them locally and permanently. For more tips check out this bugs and troubleshooting thread on the Dropbox website.