Share the Knowledge!

Maybe you’re running out of hard drive space, or suspect that Dropbox is taking up an inordinately large amount of disk space. Since it caches files on your hard drive when a file is remotely deleted, sometimes a lot of hard drive space can be used in the Dropbox cache – 10 GB or more! This is especially a problem if you have an early build or you have done a lot of file syncing in the last few days (it’s a three-day cycle of file removal). If you don’t have much disk space, you might want to manually remove the cache.

If you want to clear the Dropbox cache, keep something in mind:

This will delete EVERYTHING you have cached. This means that if you accidentally delete a file and restore it from the web interface, you will have to wait while it downloads all over again, which costs time and bandwidth. The same goes if you upload a file you had previously uploaded.

If you’re sure you want to go ahead, the exact method will vary depending on your OS.

Windows

  1. Be sure you stop Dropbox before clearing the cache. You can do this by right-clicking the Dropbox icon in Windows and choosing “Exit” or “Quit”. The system tray icon should vanish.
  2. Your cache should be located here: C:\Documents and Settings\you\Application Data\Dropbox\cache and you can navigate here and delete the cache manually. If you can’t find it here, try typing this into the address of your file bar:
%appdata%\Dropbox\cache
  1. Now, open the cache folder first. Press Ctrl+A to select all files, and press Delete to delete all the files inside the cache folder; say Yes to the prompt. Empty your recycling bin and the cache files will be gone.

Mac OS X

  1. Be sure you stop Dropbox before clearing the cache. You can do this by left-clicking the menu icon on a Mac, and choosing “Exit” or “Quit”. The menu bar icon should vanish.
  2. Your cache is located in /users/you/.dropbox/cache and you can delete it manually with a little work.
  3. You can use a cache cleaner program or widget designed specifically for Dropbox, called “Dropbox Cache Cleaner Widget”. It can be found here. Add it to your Dashboard (or follow the installation instructions for the desktop version), and then you will see how much space is being used. One click will clear the cache for you.

There is a more advanced method for users familiar with the Terminal. Be careful to enter the command exactly right, however, or you could delete all your files!

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Copy and paste, or type, in this command:
rm ~/.dropbox/cache/*
  1. Press Enter.
  2. It may prompt for a password, depending on your system setup.

Linux

Your cache is located under ~you/.dropbox/cache and you should be able to delete it fairly easily manually by navigating there, selecting all files in the “cache” folder, and deleting. You could also use these commands if you’re comfortable with it:

rm -r ~/.dropbox/cache
mkdir ~/.dropbox/cache

This should delete and recreate an empty cache folder.

Restart Dropbox by navigating to the location of the application and launching it, and your cache should be clean and ready to go!

Share the Knowledge!