Greg

49 Comments

  1. Cracking guide, thank you!

    1 problem though, I keep getting messages saying not enough room for DropBox (there is plenty) and don’t know how to fix this?

    I actually don’t even know how to access the DB program anymore?

    Any ideas?

    • Glad it was helpful! I’ve only seen the not enough room issue when there are junction points in the target Dropbox location and the drive hosting the junction points doesn’t have enough space to accommodate the Dropbox contents.

      • It only appeared once, I restarted and not heard since, and still updating, so hopefully ok.
        Not using junctions so can’t be that, but hopefully just a random one off.
        If anyone else gets this, restart your system and cross your fingers 🙂

  2. I can confirm it is working with Windows 10, but I had to do in

    Step 3
    sc create Dropbox binPath= “C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe” DisplayName= “Dropbox Service”
    NOTE 1: There is a space between the two instances of = and the ” and also a space before DisplayName. in the above instructions.
    NOTE 2: It is Windows Resource Kits (So with Windows in front and Kits with s

    Step 4
    The Dropbox executable can be found in:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Dropbox\Client\Dropbox.exe

    • Same here on Windows 10 Home 64 bits.
      Two very slight departures from the procedure outlined in Greg’s terrific post —
      A. In step 3.1, the Microsoft Server 2003 Resource Kit installer suggested “C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits” as the default location. Accordingly, I changed the command in 3.3 to the following: sc create Dropbox binPath= “C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe” DisplayName= “Dropbox Service”
      B. In step 3.6, I failed to locate bin\Dropbox.exe in C:\Users\ServiceAccount\AppData\Roaming\Dropbox. So instead, I made C:\Program Files (x86)\Dropbox\Client\Dropbox.exe the value of “Application”.
      Dropbox is now synchronizing perfectly from all user accounts.

  3. On the Microsoft site it says that the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit is not supported on 64 bit plattforms. Has anyone had success getting it to work on Win 7 64 bit anyway? Also I found the “Non sucking service manager” at nssm.cc which is supposed to be a replacement for srvany. Anyone is using that?

  4. I have a somewhat rudimentary/non-elegant approach that seems to be working on my Windows 8.1 machine.

    Scenario – I have a work and and a personal account on the machine, but want to have access to my dropbox from either.

    Attempt 1:
    I started with just allowing read-write access to the folders (both accounts are me, so who cares…)
    Problem: There seemed to be an issue with my dropbox folder not syncing new items unless I was logged into the user account on which I installed dropbox

    Solution:
    Treat the accounts like separate devices – install dropbox in each user account, have a dropbox folder in each user account.

    Notes: It does duplicate the files in two places on the same device, which is highly inefficient, but hard-drive space is not a limiting factor for me, nor are there frequent, drastic changes to my dropbox files that would clog up my network space. So I went with simple. I think it also will support resilience for if my company needs to wipe my corporate account for whatever reason – everything on my personal should still be operational.

    I’m sure there is a better solution – but this one is working just fine for me.

  5. With Windows 7 (at least – it should work for pretty much any Windows with multiple user accounts) there is a workaround to Greg’s good solution that is usable if you and whoever else shares the computer allow each other to login as each other (see below for how to lift this restriction):
    1. install Dropbox to one account e.g., myaccount
    2. Give full control/sharing permissions to the myaccount Dropbox folder e.g., users/myaccount/Dropbox to the other account(s) (If you anticipate a lot of accounts, make a Group.)
    3. Put a shortcut to e.g, users/myaccount/Dropbox on the other account desktops(s)
    4. After bootup, login first as myaccount and start Dropbox, if not started with system startup
    5. Switch user to youraccount (don’t logout – switch user)
    6. Open users/myaccount/Dropbox from the desktop shortcut and work on files, which will synch because myaccount is still logged in

    This is a poorperson’s service solution.

    If you need inter-account security, make a bare dropboxaccount that everyone can log into first at bootup, install Dropbox, and put a shortcut to e.g., users/dropboxaccount/Dropbox on everyone else’s desktop and give them full control sharing permissions.

    As I said, poorperson’s service solution but it does work and can potentially save GBs of diskspace.

    The only disadvantage is, as noted before, you can’t see the synch progress updates but once you use Dropbox a lot and see that it never fails, you quit looking at them anyway. If you’re obsessive (I am) keep a browser window open on your Dropbox account and check the synchs.

  6. Hi Greg, thanks for posting this. Excuse my ignorance but do your instructions apply to multiple users on 4-5 different PC and Mac laptops wanting to be able to access, sync and change files in one existing basic free dropbox account? Or do I need to upgrade? Any help is much appreciated. Thx Justin

  7. I think I read the entire original article and all the comments, but I don’t think anyone mentioned whether it is possible to hide certain folders from one of the users on the single computer. In other words, can I still do SELECTIVE SYNC to give one user access to only certain folders?

  8. Hello. Just wanted to thank you for this work around for pc’s that have 2 user accounts, but share the same dropbox account. Would be nice if dropbox incorporated this feature in to there install package.

  9. Thanks very much for this how-to! It worked great with Vista, but I can’t get it to work with Windows 7. The Dropbox service starts fine, but the process is not running, and nothing is syncing. What have I done wrong?

  10. Any way to still have the notification system still enabled accross all logins?

  11. I have did all as per instructions, but the dropbox wasn’t syncing. I checked the Dropbox Service which was “stopped”. I tried to start the service but it gave me “Error 1068: The dependency service or group failed to start” . Can you please help out. Thanks!

    • Unfortunately that error message doesn’t give much to go on. I’m not sure what would cause that to happen.

  12. Sadly I never could get this to work for me. I think the problem was with how the service logged in. I tried the account name and password that Dropbox was installed as, local user, and network user and none of them would work.

  13. Everything looks good, however unable to install MS Server 2003 Resource Kit on Windows 8.1 without it stating there are compatability issues, should I continue or is there an alternative resource kit which with some tweeking will do the job ?

  14. Additionnal usefull trick to hide the ServiceAccount from the user list on the logon page

    Press Windows + R, type regedit and press Enter key.
    Navigate to the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\Userlist
    Create a new -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.
    – Name the new DWORD registry value name exactly with the user name used at the logon screen.
    – Set the value data to 0 to hide the account from Welcome Screen. set the value data to 1 to show it.
    Exit Registry Editor and Log off.

    Do this trick only if you are familiar with the registry

  15. I managed to do this trick on windows 8.1.

    It works like a charm.

    Many thanks,

  16. I set this up following your instructions but the dropbox folder only synchs when the ServiceAccount is logged on. What did I miss? I do see the dropbox folder from all accounts on the C drive. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Somewhere in setting up the Dropbox service, a step may have been overlooked. Check to make sure the Dropbox service is set to Log in as the Service user account and is set to start Automatically.

  17. Hi!

    Forgive me for speaking before those more knowledgeable than I am, but I think that the original question was how to get multiple users on one Windows computer using the same Dropbox account and the same Dropbox folder.

    I think that there’s a much easier way to do this, though it has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Install Dropbox for both accounts (or all 12 accounts), choose a nice neighborhood for the first data (Dropbox) folder, and put the folders for the other users someplace where the idea won’t bother you. Then copy down the full path to the Dropbox folders, shut down all of the copies of Dropbox, delete the Dropbox data folders you don’t want.

    After that, create junction points from the former location of the deleted folders to the ‘real’ Dropbox folder.

    Finished!

    Advantages: Quicker to set up; you still have full control of each user’s Dropbox from the taskbar (seems that way, anyway), and you don’t have an additional service constantly running in the background and burdening the machine and the network.

    Disadvantages: Won’t sync when noone’s logged on; I don;t know what will happen if two users hold the same file open, and one or both tries to modify it.

    Thanks.
    David.

    • David – I did try a very similar method prior to writing this article and opted for the Dropbox-as-a-Service method. The background sync is really crucial for keeping local copies current – particularly when changes are being made to the Dropbox from mobile devices or other computers. Another benefit is that a single instance of Dropbox makes for easier updates to the Dropbox software.

  18. Thanks for this… am about to try it but wanted to ask if there is a way co “convert” a normally installed dropbox setup to this? Essentially I am creating additional user accounts on a machine that has an 80gb dropbox account on it and wanted to see if I can create the service and link it to the existing files, instead of uninstalling Dropbox and following the directions above, which will re-download all files. Any help or thoughts?

    • I’ve had mixed success ‘tricking’ DropBox into using a seeded cache. The best practice, in my opinion, is to have a second computer on the local network with the same dropbox fully sync’d. Then, when you install the shared dropbox, as long as Dropbox is able to establish it’s peer-to-peer connection between the two computers, the files will sync directly and it goes quickly in most situations. It may be worth plugging in directly if either of your two computers are normally connected via Wireless.

  19. It works now. I didn’t sign in to the drop account whenever I was on a different user on the computer. Thank you for sharing this Dropbox info! This will be a great way to keep files organized and readily available.

  20. Excellent work Greg. It is in fact a bummer that there is no way to use the systray icon any more (controlling bandwith limits, etc) directly from the non-ServiceAccount but I can live without it. This works great for sharing a dropbox account with my wife, she has her own login on our home workstation.

    Marco’s tip was valuable for Windows 7 as the resource kit installs it self in a different directory than what was listed in the original instructions (sc create Dropbox binPath= “C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kit\Tools\srvany.exe” DisplayName= “Dropbox Service”)

    Thanks for posting this info!!!

  21. Hey Greg, I’m a graduate student trying to apply this to our lab computers and would like to ask a troubleshooting question. I followed your instructions but cannot see the newly created file I made on another computer stored in the same dropbox account. Where is my problem? My Service Account is tied to the local computer and not the network domain that all students log into. I can see older files but not this new one. BTW I’m green to computer programming. Any help would be great. Thank you for reading.

  22. Forgot to say — one thing you give up with this approach is that you can’t see the status indicators on the file and folder icons, but I think I can live without that….

  23. Just wanted to let you know this works on Windows 8 as well. Just what the doctor ordered!

  24. Two small remarks: On my windows 7 system I had to do: sc create Dropbox binPath= “C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kit\Tools\srvany.exe” DisplayName= “Dropbox Service”
    Please do not forget to leave a space after the = sign!

  25. I look forward to trying this! The other advantage vs. the approach James gives is stability. I’ve had massive issues with the other approach when using selective sync. If you have multiple accounts connecting to the same dropbox account and their selective sync settings get out of sync (i.e. you take off a folder under one user and forget to remove it from all other users), Dropbox will see that as a delete on the other user accounts and silently wipe out all that data (from that computer and all other synced computers).

    The service approach should solve that issue, since it gives a single place to manage the dropbox settings. Thanks for the great idea!

  26. A Service Account requires full “Log on as Service” rights. It’s not ideal to allow your regular user accounts this right in order to to maintain a reasonable level of system security. It also allows you to change your user password without breaking the Dropbox service.

  27. Why is it necessary to create the new Windows (“ServiceAccount”) account? Why can’t you set this up in the main account?

  28. Thanks for this article Greg. Just wondering what the advantage of the method above you have described and this one….
    Windows 7 – 2 user accounts – one dropbox account.

    Install dropbox and set it up for each windows user with the same dropbox account and select the same local folder to sync.

    Thats it. It appears to be fully functional also…

    • Great question! The main advantage to this method is that the Dropbox sync will happen in the background without requiring any user to be logged on. As long as the computer is booted and connected to the Internet, the Dropbox will sync in the background.

    • That’s what I thought would be the easy fix too, but once I’ve set, for example, my sync location to be C:/Dropbox on user account number 1, then installed Dropbox on user account number 2 and try to change the sync folder to C:/Dropbox as well, an error message appears saying there is already a Dropbox folder on C:/… which I know and which I want to be, but I won’t let me merge them. How did you do it?

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