Box Sync is a productivity tool that allows you to mirror data stored on Box to your desktop. You can then navigate and modify content stored on the Box website through your computer’s native file browsing interface, without using a web browser. Content that syncs down to your computer is available for offline access. If you make changes to the synced files locally, these changes automatically sync back up to your Box account.



Marking Folders for Sync 

Control the content you that is synced to your local Box Sync folder by marking content in your account. A folder that is marked for Sync will have a blue checkmark icon beside it's name. 




To mark a folder for Sync, navigate to your account and follow the steps below. Note: You must have Editor Access or higher to use Box Sync in a folder.

  • Select a folder by clicking beside its name, or click the folder name to open the folder. The right hand sidebar should display information about the folder you've selected or opened.
  • Click Details in the sidebar.
  • Click the Sync to Desktop slider to mark this folder for sync. By default, this will mark all contained folders for sync as well. You can unmark specific subfolders within a synced folder, if you only want certain content to be synced. 


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Adding files and folders to the Box Sync folder on your computer will automatically upload them to your account on and mark them for Sync.


Note: If you have content that appears in Box but is not appearing locally, the parent folder may be partially synced.




When a parent folder is partially synced (hovering over folder icon displays the This item is partially synced status), new subfolders or files created within this parent folder will not be marked for Sync automatically. To fully sync a partially synced folder, you must unsync the partially synced folder, then sync it again.


Viewing All Synced Items

You can view a list of all items marked for sync on the Synced to Desktop page. Click Synced to Desktop in the left hand sidebar.

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Syncing Subfolders

The subfolder sync feature in Box Sync 4.0 allows you to selectively sync or unsync any subfolder in Box. 


Using Subfolder Sync

  • Identify a directory structure in the Box website where nothing is synced.
  • In your Box website account, select the folder and mark it for sync. Verify the corresponding sync status in your Box Sync directory on your computer.
  • Within the folder, you can decide to only sync the one subfolder and unsync the other subfolders. Simply select the subfolder you'd like to unsync and ensure that the Sync to Desktop slider is disabled. 


  • You cannot unsync individual files within a synced folder. If you sync a folder to your desktop, all individual files contained will be synced as well. 
  • If you mark a subfolder for sync, its parent folder will be marked for sync as well, meaning that the individual files in that parent folder will be synced to your desktop in addition to the marked subfolder. No unmarked subfolders contained by the parent folder will be synced.
  • Any subfolder created in a parent folder that is partially synced will not be synced by default. New folders created in that same directory on Box to be unmarked for Sync by default. 

Deleting Synced Folders


You will only receive a "Confirm Deletion" prompt when you delete a folder you own from your Box Sync folder that has collaborators in the folder. See example prompt below.



You can optionally check the Always delete check box if you always want Box Sync to delete the folder on your Box account. You will no longer see this pop-up for any future deletions of folders that you own that contains collaborators.


Scenarios where you will not receive a "Confirm Deletion" prompt:

When deleting content from your local Box Sync folder,

  • you will not get this prompt if you delete a folder you own that has no collaborators. The folder will be deleted from your Box account.
  • you will not get this prompt if you delete individual files. The file will be deleted from your Box account.
  • you will not get this prompt if you delete a folder that is owned by another user. The folder will be unsynced for you.


  • Moving a folder from your Box Sync folder to anywhere outside of your Box Sync folder is equivalent to the folder being directly deleted from your Box Sync folder.
  • If a folder is partially synced, additional items not visible on your computer may also be permanently deleted from Box. Deleting parent folders locally from your Box Sync folder could cause subfolders that you haven't synced to be deleted inadvertently. You can always recover deleted items from the Trash page. 


Deleting vs Unsyncing

When you delete a collaborated folder, that folder is permanently deleted from every collaborator's account.


When you unsync a collaborated folder, you are only removing it from your computer ﹣ it remains in the parent folder and all other collaborators continue to have access to that folder. This action must be taken from the Box web application. 


File Version Conflicts  

See: File Version Conflicts


Problem Files

Some files cannot be synced to Box. If you attempt to sync these files, the the file will not be synced, and you will recieve an error notification. For more detailed information on these error messages, click here


Unsupported File Types

Box Sync will not sync files that it ignores or blocks. Ignored files are files that are invisible in Windows Explorer or Finder, such as temporary or system files. Blocked files are file types that Box Sync does not recognize.


Box Sync ignores the following file types and shortcuts:

  • Temporary files and folders (.tmp and files starting with the ~ character)
  • Backup copies of files (.bak)
  • System and hidden files (hidden folders are synced but hidden files are not synced: such as ._dstore, desktop.ini, thumbs.db). 
    • Note: File names that start with a dot "." are considered hidden files
  • Shortcuts created via Windows Explorer or Finder
  • Hard links (a file that has multiple directory entries associated with it will not be synced)
  • Symbolic links
  • File names that are exactly 8 uppercase hexadecimal digits (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,C,D,E, or F) with no extension -- for example: 1234AD38 or ABE32BD0
  • File names containing special characters
  • Web based documents (such as .gdoc, .gsheet, and bookmarks) will not sync to the Box Sync folder. Box Notes will be synced to the Box Sync folder, and will open in your browser.


Box Sync blocks the following file types:



These file types can be stored in Box through the Box website, but Box Sync will not recognize them. They will not be synced even if they are in a synced folder.


Note: Box Sync will sync folder names ending in a dot ("."), but users on Windows computers will not be able to access the folder. Users will see an error dialog "Location is not available". Please remove the dot "." from the end of the folder name, or Windows users will be required to access the folder only from the Box web site.


Box Sync and Microsoft Access database files (.accdb and .mdb):

Due to the saving behavior of Microsoft Access, it's extremely likely that Box Sync will create duplicate copies of .accdb and .mdb files if multiple users are syncing the same file from Box. 

We do not recommend having mulitple users sync the same .accdb or .mdb file.


Unsupported File Names

Some operating systems do not support item names containing some special characters. If you attempt to sync files or folders names containing these characters, Box Sync prompts you to rename the item using the underscore character.

  • Box OS-independent restrictions: Box does not support '/' and '\' anywhere in a file or folder name or whitespaces at the beginning or end of a file or folder name.
  • Windows OS restrictions:
    • < (less than)
    • > (greater than)
    • : (colon)
    • " (double quote)
    • / (forward slash)
    • \ (backslash)
    • | (vertical bar or pipe)
    • ? (question mark)
    • * (asterisk)
    • Box does not impose any additional restrictions.
    • If Windows does not support certain characters in file names, Box marks them as problem files. See the list of Windows file name restrictions. Windows file name restrictions also shown below:
  • Mac OS restrictions:
    • Box does not support opening spaces.
    • Box does not recognize Mac’s character conversion in file names (for example, Mac changes any occurrence of / to : in file names).
    • If Mac does not support certain characters in file names, Box marks them as problem files. See the list of Mac file name restrictions.

Rename the file in your local sync folder and then resync the file.


Setting Box Sync as a Default Save Location (Windows Only)

See: Setting Box Sync as a Default Save Location in Windows

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