Dropbox As A Service

05 Mar

Dropbox, what a great service. Mobile support, multiple OS support (Linux, Windows, Mac), unlimited previous versions, LAN sync to save internet bandwidth. Pretty much everything, but what if I’ve got a server that I want to leave logged in, or can’t. Well Dropbox you’ve let me down in a big area now, or have you?

I was researching the net for a solution to make Dropbox top run as a service and I found a solution it was just broken up at a couple of places, so I’ve decided to put the answer in one location, and put my system administrator stamp of approval that this process is save to do on windows server 2003 & 2008 and there is a good change 2012 too.

So here is what to do to run Dropbox as a service.

First you will need to install a Microsoft resource kit which is available from the below link. It does state that it’s for Server 2003 and some of the resource kit is incompatible with 2008 but installing it into Program Files isn’t going to upset your server and this process we are going to use does work.

The below link is where I received the below part of this guide. I’ll give them the credit, I just felt that I could reword it to make it easier to follow.
I wanted to install a backup solution, and made a go for using the Dropbox service

1. Install Dropbox, if not installed previously and connect it to your Dropbox account and get the client working as you want with the folders you wish you to synchronize.
2. Go into / or while your in preferences and uncheck “Show desktop notifications” and “Start Dropbox on system startup”
3. Right click the DropBox icon in the bottom right next to the clock and select Exit. It is important to make sure to program is closed.
4. Press the Start button and in the search field type “cmd”. At the top of the start menu, right click command prompt and click Run As Administrator.
5. Now type the below into the black box.
CD C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits
instsrv Dropbox "c:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe"

You should receive a “The service was successfuly added”

Make sure that you go into the Control Panel and use
the Services applet to change the Account Name and
Password that this newly installed service will use
for its Security Context.

Next is to change the user for witch the newly added service “Dropbox” runs under. Change this to Administrator.
5. Choose properties on Dropbox service.
6. Click on tab “Log On”
7. Click “This account”, and select Admimistrator. Set appropriate password.
8. Click Apply and OK

If this is the first time you have done this procedure for the administrator user, you will get an notification saying that the “Administrator user has been granted log on as service rights”

Next is to setup some registry settings for the service
9. Start > Run > regedit
10. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dropbox
11. Create a new key “Parameters”
12. Add a new string value “Application”, (type REG_SZ). Set the value to the path to the dropbox.exe binary. Find the location by right clicking on the Dropbox icon on the desktop. Simply copy the path from there.
13. Close Registry Editor
14. Go back to Services, and start the Dropbox service

Now everything should be in place and work correctly.

Addition: It works fine to stop the Dropbox service, then start Dropbox and make changes in preferences etc, save changes and exit Dropbox. Then you can start Dropbox service again without problems. Work very neat actually. Running now on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 64-bit. On Windows Server 2008 you can just copy instsrv.exe and srvany.exe to a folder under Program Files and create the Dropbox service from there.

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