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First-time Contributor

Using Box without Syncing to Hard Drive


I have work folders on Box that I would like to use on my desktop and laptop.  I like that the drive automatically syncs files from desktop machine and Box cloud.  However, I would like to use the Box Cloud on my laptop without syncing the entire drive to my machine.  Currently it seems that the only option is to delete box sync from my laptop machine and only access Box cloud through a browser portal.  This isn't a terrible option but no ideal either.  


It seems reasonable to me that there would be a box sync option that allows one-way syncing so that the Box cloud does not have to mirror itself on the laptop machine's hard drive thus improving secturity, freeing up space, and saving battery.    


Does this option exist?  What are Box's suggestions?  


Thank you.  

Box Certified Professional

Re: Using Box without Syncing to Hard Drive

Hi @rlherron,


I think there is an easy answer to this, but I want to make sure we are on the same page. When you say "Box Cloud" do you mean just using Box via the web browser or do you mean your Box account that stores all your data?


Let me explain a couple fundamentals about Box Sync because its basic principle is a little different than other sync tools. By default Box Sync syncs nothing to your computer. After you install it you need to go to the Box website, log in and indicate which folders you want to sync to your computer. You can be very selective about what you sync. For example, my computer is a laptop. I have over 1TB of data in Box, but I only sync to my laptop the files that I typically need offline. Right now these are some conference presentations I'm working on, some documents I am drafting and maybe a couple of travel receipts. In total I have about 200MB locally.


Box Sync is best used for offline access. I know some people like to have all their content locally and only work on files locally, but I always recommend to my users that the interact with their content in Box via the web using Box Edit. This is quick and easy. You know your content is saved back to Box instantly. An over-reliance on Box Sync, and frankly a misunderstanding of how it works, has led to a couple of unfortunately situations here.


I personally see no reason to have Box Sync on a desktop machine. Well, I take that back. I've seen one. I have a researcher whose software needs to be able to open and process multiple files simultaneously so they have to be in the same spot. But for the average user, Sync is best as an offline access tool.


There is great Sync documentation here on the Community site at


Box Desktop will be out in the new year and that will spell the beginning of the end of Sync. It will allow direct access to your content via a mapped-drive-like experience. It will eventually allow flagging content for offline access. When that day comes, Box Sync goes.</cyrstal_ball>


I hope that helps.





Indiana University
University Information Technology Services

Re: Using Box without Syncing to Hard Drive

I can give one reason to use BoxSync all the time: if you are like me and have to keep two or more machines synced, then there's no other way but to use the app on your hard drives. 


My documents are all stored now in, and synced across two machines and one iPad. Changes in one machine get synced to the others. It's the only way to maintain consistency.


Does Box Sync drain (mac) batteries if it's just idling? Or does it drain only whenever a save / change occurs?


thanks., (currently trying to isolate battery drainage issues on a new MB Pro, 2016 late)