How to stop file sync client from automatically selecting new folders?

Hi. I appreciate any insight you guys may have. We have an external folder (Windows file server) for my organization’s projects. The structure goes something like this:
/Projects/Coffee Shops/C1
/Projects/Coffee Shops/C2
/Projects/Coffee Shops/C3
If I sync project C1 with a Windows or Mac client, and then somebody else adds a new project C4, my client will automatically select and sync C4. But C4 is not my project. I don’t want that behavior. I only want C1 and its subfolders. Can I turn off the unwanted selecting of new project folders?

Thank you,


Which folder do you sync?
If a folder is added in the directory that you are syncing that you also get this new folder.

If you only want to see your projects, you have to create a sync task for each individually.

I’m doing selective sync of only /Projects/Coffee Shops/C1. Then a different user (not me) creates a new folder under /Projects/Coffee Shops. This triggers my Windows and Mac clients to automatically select the new folder and sync it. Let’s say there’s 50 coffee shops. I only work on C1. I don’t want my hard disk to fill up with projects that aren’t mine.

In the client, you have a setting in the general section. You can define a folder size, above which the content is not synced by default (only if you choose the folder manually). Default value is 500 MB.

@tflidd You’ve been very helpful. Thanks! The Windows/Mac client setting “Ask confirmation before downloading folders greater than” does seem to be a safeguard for overfilling your hard drive.

What I don’t understand though, is the sync client intentionally violating my original intent. I only want project C1 and it’s subfolders. Nothing else. The default behavior of the client however will automatically start copying every new Coffee Shop project. Before I realize it’s already synced new projects C4, C5, C6 without my permission. Is this a bug? Or is this by design? That’s where I’m really confused and would appreciate some insight.

Just to be sure, you selectively sync /Projects/Coffee Shops/C1. When someone adds a folder, e.g. /Projects/Coffee Shops/C33, your client syncs this folder as well? Normally it shouldn’t care about that. The limit I was talking of is when someone adds a folder inside your folder, e.g. /Projects/Coffee Shops/C1/Video. Sometimes you want to avoid that a lot of content is synced on some devices.

Which version of the client are you using? Which OS? Is this a shared folder or even external storage?

What would be great to test, if it also happens with the owncloud-client (in theory it should be the same except for theming but in some cases it has shown differences). Can you also check, if you see the same behaviour with normal user account, if you see any sync activity if you add a folder via webinterface (just to see, if it is related to sharing and/or external storage).

I agree - this feature (bug?) makes me nuts. Every time I add a new folder, all of my Nextcloud sync clients start syncing it and I have to rush over to all of them to stop and delete the folder.

The point of selective sync in which you choose which folders and files go to which device is controlling what goes where and this default behavior in which new folders are automatically synced everywhere completely defeats the purpose of that.

I believe the default behavior for clients with selective sync enabled should be “sync nothing other than the selected folders and items regardless of what new folders and new items are added to the server.” What’s the point of selective sync otherwise?

1 Like

It works like that for me. The big question is why it doesn’t for you. @mobamoba do you use external storage as well? And which version are you two using? Which OS?

After a lot of testing, the client behavior is consistent in our environment. Owncloud and Nextcloud behave the same. Ditto MacOS Sierra and Yosemite. Ditto Windows 7 and 10. The observed behavior is this: the Nextcloud client auto selects all new files and folders that are added alongside a folder which was already selected (fully or partially). When something is added, it’s as if the algorithm first tries to find if any existing folder at the same level is selected (fully or partially). And if it finds one such folder, then the new item is synced.

I hope this made sense.

NC 11; I use external storage (Google Drive and FTP but sync neither to my desktop). I run Desktop clients on Win 10, Win 7, and Linux and all of them exhibit the same behavior - I add a new folder to my Win 7 client for example and suddenly it’s also not only added but with a check mark in my Win 10 and Linux clients and I have to manually uncheck it and delete the folders from those two clients.

I am facing the same problem. I have several computers (windows and linux) as well as my (windows) tablet connected to nextcloud using owncloud and nextcloud clients (because I migrated recently to nextcloud).
Every time I add a new folder to my nextcloud, i.e. to store a large amount of new photos from my DSLR, all clients automatically add the folder and sync it. Because the space I have on the different machines varies, on some I get the problem of running out of space till I turn the synchronization of the new folder off again.
Is there any way to completely switch to manual sync-folder-selection?


I have the same problem, and I am surprised this bug (yes) is still a thing 8 months after it was first reported.

The changelog for version 2.3 looks promising:

Feel free to test the new version (you can also get a testpilot version that you can install independently):
and report errors to:

See the comment by brianbgness (me) posted here. After consideration I withdraw my complaint of the desktop client automatically selecting new folders. Maybe it would have been nice if the desktop client was not designed to mimic Dropbox. I would prefer the file/folder selection mechanism to mimic Backup Exec or Veeam instead. But IMO it’s too late now to change everything. That’s not going to happen.

At least the current behavior should be clear for users. If you have ideas for the interface how to improve this, please feel free to make suggestions.

Difficult, if you have a different mode and you would ask the user at installation what is preferred, this could be added. I can’t help you on that but feel free to exchange ideas with the developers: (NC only adds theming right now).

Hello here :grinning:

I encounter the same troubles.
Each time someone adds a new folder, the synchronization will occur for everyone.

To my mind, Dropbox way or not, synchronization rules must not be overpassed!

The thread can’t be closed :pray:

Please discuss these things with the client developers, they are not here on the forum and no complaints will be heard.

Dear Tflidd,

I’m new here so sorry if I am to direct or not fully aware of ways or places to discuss this. But would you please be so kind to clearify the following, because now, Feb, '18, I’m still having this exact same issue.
1. Are you or are you not having this issue (You said on dec. '16: that: “sync nothing other than the selected folders and items regardless of what new folders and new items are added to the server.” works like that for you…)
2. Which changelog did you mean to look promising: (Feb. '17 you suggested that the changelog looked promising. Going there I can’t seem to find the change what is or looks promising.)
3. This post is in the section clients, and desktop. Where should we else discuss this? (Aug. '17 you suggested to discuss these things with de client developers.)

Again, sorry if I am to direct but for me as an enthousiast about Nextcloud I’m just realy curious if this problem will be solved in the (near) future.

Thanks in avance for your helpfull answers.

Dear all,
Meanwhile I was discussing this issue with my colleague and we did find an working solution.
It is as follows:
-Go to the settings.
-Click the 3 black dots next to the connection, and delete the map sync connection (because by default it is set to sync all folders)
-Then choose for “add folder sync connection” and browse to the project you want to sync with.

With this solution you only sync each manually created folder sync connection.

So in this way later added other projects won’t be synced!

Biggest disadvantage is that you have to create a folder connection per project.

Hopefully this works for more forum readers!!!