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can i use dropbox on a server used as a local share

Posted on 2016-09-14
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Last Modified: 2016-10-23
HI, We want to use dropbox for mobile users. yet have a copy on our server that the office can access.
At the same time, I don't want to install dropbox on 25 office pc's, due to the replication.

can I have a dropbox folder on our server that shared to the internal office pc's as a normal share. Tell dropbox to sync that folder and then provide it to the mobile users.
I've read that this isn't overly supported.

anyone played with this idea ?
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Question by:total123
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8 Comments
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:mbkitmgr
ID: 41799023
Yes,

You have to have Dropbox run as a service on the server.  In my case the Dropbox folder is a subfolder of their Shared Data

Ironically, this works and isnt support by DropBox, but I have just posted a request seeking a suitable alternative to DropBox.  I am finding this setup is becomming less tolerant of this config

The process
  1. Create a DropBox folder as a subfolder of a shared area accessible by staff.
  2. Download and install DropBox
  3. Allow Dropbox ton run so that you can configure it to Use the DropBox folder you've created as its repository
  4. Stop DropBox (right click systray icon and choose Exit)
  5. Download Srvany.exe from Microsoft
  6. You will need instsrv.exe and srvany.exe from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.
  7. Copy instsrv.exe to the Dropbox install folder
  8. Copy srvany.exe to the Dropbox install folder
  9. execute "the Dropbox install folder\instsrv.exe" Dropbox "the Dropbox install folder\srvany.exe"
  10. execute reg ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dropbox\Parameters /v Application /d "path and filename of the dropbox exe file"
  11. execute reg ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dropbox\Parameters /v AppDirectory /d "path to the dropbox exe"
  12. Delete or move the shorcut to Dropbox away from the startfolder (Start -> All Programs -> Startup) on the startmenu.
  13. execute net start Dropbox
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 41799097
My experience is dropbox, onedrive and google drive do terrible on a server and it is not supported. I have had the same thinking process you did but in the end, the way you are supposed to use those tools is on individual machines, then share specific folders or documents.

I use dropbox as an individual and where it excels compared to the other two is how long files can be recovered if you purchase that add on.  With dropbox it is unlimited and forever.  The next is onedrive. It has limitations as to the number of total files but for an individual or small business it would be hard to get to those levels.  Google drive is only 30 days to recover.

To get back on topic, when you run these on a server, they eventually fail and will not start back up. I have my own series of questions I asked here were I was able to create a powershell script that would check if the service was running and to start if not.  It looked promising but I still have to rdp into the server and start up the service manually and wait for it to complete syncing.

Using office365 sharepoint is a different story and that can do the trick for sharing in a single location. However, the maximum number of files you are allowed can make this choice prohibitive. The help files show 5,000 total files that can be synced but I was told 10,000 last month over phone support.  https://support.office.com/en-us/article/SharePoint-Online-software-boundaries-and-limits-8f34ff47-b749-408b-abc0-b605e1f6d498

The bottom line is everybody has dropbox on their device and use the business option to tighten controls for sharing files.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:mbkitmgr
ID: 41799185
I've not witnessed any impact on servers where the product is installed.  The earliest started using it about 5 years ago, and one client has 220GB of data synchronized between 17 devices for 4 years.

I have about 4 clients who use it (Software Developer, Aged Care, Bookkeeping, Law firm) and the only issue has been the need for me to manually apply updates to the software when the update versions get too far behind,  If it was not for this small annoyance we wouldn't be changing.
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Author Comment

by:total123
ID: 41799227
Thank you for the interesting replies, Scott, if it's setup as a service. You could write a script to net start/stop every night on a schedule ?

I'll go ahead and try the server service.
Thank you
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 41799376
You could also just install dropbox on just one of the Office PC's (not the servers), and then set it up so that it syncs to a network folder rather to a local folder on the PC. Then you wouldn't need to worry about it not being officially supported.
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Author Comment

by:total123
ID: 41821927
hi rindi I've just installed dropbox on a client pc and it doesn't allow linking to a mapped folder.
I take it you mean to use a sync program between the server and the client pc ?
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 41821935
Yes.
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LVL 6

Accepted Solution

by:
mbkitmgr earned 500 total points
ID: 41822739
Rindi, then my suggestion will work as required.

Install DropBox onto the server (meaning logged onto the server locally, and then configure the folder location to be a subfolder of one of your shares.
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