As the aim of my application is to provide dropbox without an installation, there are no big steps to get DropboxPortableAHK running.
Follow these steps to have your Dropbox fully portable:
- Download the latest version of DropboxPortableAHK
- Extract the zip file to a location of your choice
- Start DropboxPortableAHK.exe
- Set up your configuration in the window as you like. If you don’t know what to enter, check the FAQ or the detailed guide below
- Follow the normal dropbox configuration steps
Congratulations! These were the few steps to get a working portable version of dropbox.
From now on, simply start DropboxPortableAHK.exe and you are done.
1. Download the latest version of DropboxPortableAHK and extract it to a folder of your choice. I use a folder called ‘_t èst’ in my development environment because of the space and the Unicode character, which lead to some problems in the past.
2. Run DropboxPortableAHK.exe. The setup will start.
3. The next screen checks whether an Internet connection can be established or not. If no connection can be established, please check your firewall and anti-virus applications. If you are behind a proxy or want to set up a different connection for your work computer you can configure it using different connection profiles.
Just enter the address and port of your proxy. If you need to authenticate with your proxy, enter the required username and password combination.
The right settings pane is only optional. If you want to restrict the profile you set up before, you can create a filter by entering the username and / or the computername and / or any file that must exist on the used computer. If you don’t enter anything on this pane, the profile is used on every computer where no connection can be established.
If you fill out the field for username, the profile gets only used if the username matches the username on the target computer. Same applies to the other fields. An empty field will not be compared, so it matches everywhere. Usually, it is not recommended to filter any profile, because DropboxPortableAHK will try each profile and save it for later use if a connection could be established. This will speed up the start for the next time you use DropboxPortableAHK on the currently used computer.
Click on ‘Save’ to save the connection profile and return to the main setup.
4. On the next screen, you need to set up the location where your Dropbox folder should reside.
The default folder path is ‘.\Dropbox’, which will place your Dropbox folder in a subfolder in your DropboxPortableAHK directory called ‘Dropbox’. Entering ‘..\Dropbox’ would place it on folder above the DropboxPortableAHK directory, e.g. ‘C:\Dev\AHK\DropboxPortableAHK\Dropbox’.
Just play around with the settings and watch the live preview, you should find a working solution for your wishes. Usually, it is enough to stick with the default. Watch out: if you enter an absolute path – like ‘C:\myDropbox’ – your Dropbox folder will be placed there on every computer you use and will not be moved to your DropboxPortableAHK directory after exiting Dropbox.
5. If you already have a working Dropbox installation on your computer and want to save some time when configuring your portable Dropbox the first time, you can use your previously used Dropbox folder. Just tick the checkbox and decide whether the folder should be moved or copied to the portable Dropbox folder.
To save even more time tick the checkbox for using the previous Dropbox configuration as well. If you specify your old configuration here, you can skip the entire setup of Dropbox.
6. On the next screen, you can set up which update notifications you want to receive or if the update should be applied automatically, without notifying you before. Additionally, you can instruct DropboxPortableAHK to use beta versions of Dropbox, but currently they are not supported, so this setting will be ignored. Maybe they will be supported again in the future.
7. The next thing to configure are the addons or special features, which are explained more detailed below.
- Create autorun.inf: This will create an autorun.inf in the root of the currently used drive. If you plug in an USB drive to a computer, the computer will check if an autorun.inf exists and runs the application that is configured in it. So you can start DropboxPortableAHK every time you plug in your USB drive automatically. However, since Windows 7 this feature is disabled because of security issues.
- Dropbox folder protection: If you remove your USB drive containing your Dropbox folder Dropbox might think that you deleted all your files locally and will delete your files on the server as well. Therefore, the Dropbox process will be killed by DropboxPortableAHK if the folder is not accessible anymore. You can specify at which interval DropboxPortableAHK should check the folder, low values will result in higher CPU usage and high values possibly in too low intervals, so Dropbox already deleted the files. Furthermore, you can enable or disable a notification after a successful protection.
- Notification about workaround: On very restricted user accounts – which are sometimes used in corporate networks – it is not possible to use the standard method for redirecting the Dropbox application to the DropboxPortableAHK folder. The workaround is to copy the Dropbox files (not your used folder) to the directory that is normally used by Dropbox. When DropboxPortableAHK exits, it will move the files back to your DropboxPortableAHK directory. If you want to get a notification when this workaround is applied, please tick the checkbox.
- Make SyncAndGo the default behavior: This one is quite self-explanatory. If you want to make SyncAndGo the default behavior, tick the checkbox. If you don’t know what SyncAndGo is, please check the FAQ.
- Eject drive after SyncAndGo: If your used drive for DropboxPortableAHK should be ejected after the SyncAndGo operation, tick the checkbox.
- Save Dropbox configuration files for each pc: This allows you to use different connection profiles in the Dropbox main application. Every Dropbox configuration file is copied after using DropboxPortableAHK on this computer. You just need to edit the Internet connection settings of Dropbox once per computer if this checkbox is ticked, otherwise you need to change the connection settings every time you use a network that has a different setting than the one before.
- Encrypt Dropbox configuration file after exit: To achieve more security, the Dropbox configuration can be encrypted by DropboxPortableAHK, with your own password. You need to enter this password every time you run DropboxPortableAHK. The benefit is that nobody can start up your Dropbox and access your private data stored in it.
- Startup Delay: Some user requested a startup delay feature, because they start DropboxPortableAHK through the autostart on each computer startup. If the Internet connection is not ready on launch time, DropboxPortableAHK will exit with an error message. Specifying a startup delay can help with this, because DropboxPortableAHK will wait this time before checking the Internet connection.
8. Another nice feature is that you can set up application that are launched before Dropbox starts and after Dropbox exits.
This is helpful if you need to do some actions before Dropbox starts checking your Dropbox folder, e.g. dismount a TrueCrypt container that resides in your Dropbox folder, so that Dropbox is able to sync it, or after Dropbox has synced all changes, e.g. mount the TrueCrypt container again.
8.1. To set up an application just click the ‘+’ button, to remove it, select it in the list and press the ‘-‘ button.
Adding an application is quite simple. Enter the path of the application to launch, which can be relative – like ‘..\TrueCrypt\truecrypt.exe’ for the TrueCrypt application that is placed on the same level in the folder structure as your DropboxPortableAHK folder. Then, add any parameters you want to use and select, whether the application should be launched maximized, minimized, hidden or normal/none special. Make sure that the application exits by itself after executing it, because DropboxPortableAHK will wait until the application is closed again before continuing it’s own execution. Click ‘Save’ to save the application.
9. On the next screen, you can download the required software files, if they are not present in your current DropboxPortableAHK folder. Clicking download will run the process, which should take a few seconds or minutes, depending on your Internet speed.
10. After the check for your Dropbox configuration files you need to setup your Dropbox configuration. Click ‘Start Dropbox setup’ to launch the usual Dropbox setup – unless you enabled using your existing Dropbox configuration, then this button will just copy your previous files.
11. Now starts the Dropbox setup like on any other Dropbox installation you made before, so it is not described very detailed here.
Just enter your Dropbox credentials and a computer name.
Decide whether to upgrade your Dropbox, then choose the Advanced setup.
Don’t use any special Dropbox folder location here. DropboxPortableAHK will redirect the folder to the one you specified in step 4. If the folder you put the Dropbox folder to already exists – e.g. because of a previous Dropbox installation using this folder – DropboxPortableAHK will ask you if it should be deleted after advising Dropbox to use the folder you set up in step 4. Just negate that question if you want to keep the files in this folder.
The Dropbox setup is completed now.
12. You have now successfully set up DropboxPortableAHK.
Tips and Tricks
To run the setup again, hold down ‘Shift’ while starting DropboxPortableAHK or pass the ‘-setup’ parameter on the command line.
To enable SyncAndGo if it is not set as default, hold down ‘Ctrl’ while starting DropboxPortableAHK or pass the ‘-syncandgo’ parameter on the command line.
To exit DropboxPortableAHK, just close Dropbox via it’s tray icon. DropboxPortableAHK will exit then as well after two seconds.