Dropbox

Dropbox is a powerful, cross-platform application that syncs your files online and across your computers. Simply watch the official Dropbox tour to learn more.

Use one of the following referral links to get 250 MB of free bonus space if you want to create a new Dropbox account:

Installation

Ubuntu

10.04 Lucid and above

If you don't have a Dropbox account: Create one.1)

Simply download the .deb package for Ubuntu which fits your architecture.2) Install it as usual (e.g. via double click or by using dpkg -i). If an entry is not already existing, the installer automatically adds the official Dropbox repository to your package sources, including the key to authenticate it. So you don't have to care about updates manually.

Second way: using the Dropbox repository

If you don't have a Dropbox account: Create one.3)

Simply add the repository Dropbox provides:

deb http://linux.dropbox.com/ubuntu codename main

Replace codename with the lowercase codename of the release you are using (e.g. “karmic”, “jaunty”…).

You need the following key to authenticate the new repository:

sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 5044912E

Update your sources:

sudo apt-get update

Now you can install the following package(s):

Windows

XP and above

If you don't have a Dropbox account: Create one.4)

Simply download the Windows installer and execute it.

Update

Ubuntu

10.04 Lucid and above

If you just want to use the latest stable version, you don't have to care about updates manually. Dropbox comes with an automatic update mechanism.

If you want to use the newest bleeding-edge features,5) you can try the current “Dropbox Forum Build”. These builds are released for testing at the Dropbox forum by the Dropbox development team from time to time:

  1. Stop Dropbox if it is running.
  2. Visit http://forums.dropbox.com/ and watch out for a sticky thread named “Latest Forum Build - <version>”. The first posting in this thread should give you a link to the newest Dropbox daemon. Download the archive fitting your architecture into your home dir ”~”.
  3. Remove the all daemon directories, untar the forum build, and remove the downloaded archive:
    cd ~
    rm -r .dropbox-dist/
    rm -r .dropbox-dist-new/
    tar xzf dropbox-lnx.<version>.tar.gz
    rm dropbox-lnx.<version>.tar.gz

    Note: don't worry if .dropbox-dist-new/ does not exists. This dir is created by Dropbox sometimes if there where any installation problems in the past.

  4. Start Dropbox.

Windows

XP and above

If you just want to use the latest stable version, you don't have to care about updates manually. Dropbox comes with an automatic update mechanism.

If you want to use the newest bleeding-edge features,6) you can try the current “Dropbox Forum Build”. These builds are released for testing at the Dropbox forum by the Dropbox development team from time to time:

  1. Stop Dropbox if it is running.
  2. Visit http://forums.dropbox.com/ and watch out for a sticky thread named “Latest Forum Build - <version>”. The first posting in this thread should give you a link to the newest Dropbox daemon. Download the Windows installer and execute it with administrator privileges. The installer is intelligent enough to detect and update an existing Dropbox installation.
  3. Start Dropbox.

Tips and tricks

Get more free space

If you are a student or pupil, Dropbox gives you 500 MB (instead of 250 MB) for each referral. And this this becomes effective retrospectively up to a limit of 18 GB. All you have to do:

  1. Log in to the Dropbox website.
  2. Visit https://dropbox.com/edu and enter the E-Mail university/school email address.7)
    If your university/school is not supported, open a support ticket (they will include new ones very quickly).
  3. You'll receive an verification mail within the next 48h. Click on the verification link this mail includes.
  4. That is all. :-)

Start from scratch

If you are running Ubuntu:

  1. Stop Dropbox if it is running.
  2. Unlink the target system on the Dropbox website
  3. Remove the all daemon directories and the Dropbox settings:
    rm -r .dropbox/
    rm -r .dropbox-dist/
    rm -r .dropbox-dist-new/
  4. Optional: delete your Dropbox directory.
  5. Install Dropbox as described above.

If you are running Windows:

  1. FIXME

Place Dropbox wherever you want (e.g. without "(My )Dropbox")

Dropbox currently forces the name ”(My) Dropbox” within its path (see a Dropbox developer forum post why they currently force this). However, this is just a GUI limitation and no technical limit. The Dropbox path is just a config variable stored within the SQLite database config.db.

Windows users:

  1. Never place your dropbox on a network drive/share!
  2. Don't place Dropbox within the root of a drive (Like X:\). Otherwise the right-click context menus is not working anymore.

To change it by using a GUI tool: have a look at the pyDropboxPath utility.

To change it manually:

  1. Make sure everything is in sync and close Dropbox. Make a backup of your Dropbox folder if you want to be on the safe side.
  2. Change into the Dropox application directory:
    • ~/.dropbox/ (Linux and MacOS)
    • %APPDATA%\Dropbox (MS Windows)
  3. Take a tool like Sqliteman and open the config.db
  4. Open the config table and edit the dropbox_path key's value. You may use the query SELECT value FROM config WHERE key="dropbox_path" to get the row including current value. Close the database after you are done.
  5. Delete the host.db file (if existing)!
  6. Move all files within your Dropbox from the old to the new location.
  7. You're done. Start Dropbox. :-)

Troubleshooting

What is the ''.dropbox.cache'' folder for? Can I delete it?

No automatic startup (*ix, GNOME)

Some versions of the Dropbox installers don't create the needed startup application entry. If this happens at your system, simply create it by yourself via “System→Preferences→Startup Applications”:

  • Name: Dropbox
  • Command: dropbox start -i
  • Comment: Sync your files across computers and to the web

Dropbox disappears directly after startup, BadIDChoice (invalid resource ID chosen for this connection) (*ix/GNOME)

If Dropbox is closing itself without any error message, it is helpful to start it via terminal to get a useful error message: dropbox start
If the error is referring to the X server (→ “BadIDChoice (invalid resource ID chosen for this connection) […]”)8), the following solution (found the the DB forums) may help you:

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. cd ~/.dropbox-dist
    LD_LIBRARY_PATH=.:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH gdb ./dropbox

    You'll find yourself at the (gdp) prompt afterwards.

  3. break gdk_x_error

    Confirm the following question by pressing Y

  4. Go on with
    r --sync

    Dropbox should start now. Do NOT close the terminal! After Dropbox is ready and in-sync, shut it down and close the terminal window afterwards. There is a high possibility everything works normally after this. :-)

1) , 3) , 4) referral link. You'll get 250 MB of free bonus space if you use this link to create a new account
2) You can check this by opening a terminal: you are running a 64bit Ubuntu if uname -m prints out “x86_64”
5) , 6) at your own risk for sure
7) this don't have to be the one you are normally using for your Dropbox account
8) one known reason for this are 32bit legacy nVidia graphic drivers
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