Run Dropbox as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp

How to Run Dropbox 24/7 as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp

Ensure that Dropbox starts when your PC boots and is always synchronizing your files - no need to log in!

Dropbox is an online storage service that helps you share/synchronize your files across multiple devices. AlwaysUp will ensure that Dropbox is always working, even when you are not logged on to your PC.

To configure Dropbox with AlwaysUp:

  1. Download and install AlwaysUp, if necessary.

  2. Download and install Dropbox, if necessary. Please make a note of where you installed it as this will be used in a later step.

  3. Next, we must prepare Dropbox to be run in the background as a Windows Service:

    • Start Dropbox.
    • Right-click on the Dropbox task tray icon and choose Preferences to bring up the Dropbox Preferences Window.
    • On the General tab:
      1. Uncheck Show desktop notifications (optional, but these probably won't be shown when Dropbox is running as a service)
      2. Uncheck Start Dropbox on system startup (no longer necessary once AlwaysUp takes over. Note that this setting is misleading - it will only start Dropbox when you log on, not when your computer starts!)

        Prepare Dropbox to run as a Windows Service

    • Click the OK button to save your settings.
    • Now that you are done configuring Dropbox, close the application by right-clicking on the task tray icon and selecting Exit.
    • And just in case Dropbox put itself in your Startup folder (Start > All Programs > Startup), check for and remove the Dropbox shortcut from there.
  4. Start AlwaysUp.

  5. Select Application > Add to open the Add Application window:

    Add Application

  6. On the General tab:

    • In the Application field, enter the full path to the Dropbox executable. If you installed Dropbox in the default location, this is

      where <YOUR-USER-NAME> is the name of the account in which you installed Dropbox (your Windows account name for this PC). You may have trouble seeing the hidden AppData folder when selecting the path, but Windows will accept it if you type it in.

      Update, September 2015: Recent versions of Dropbox are installed in the more traditional Program Files folder:

      C:\Program Files (x86)\Dropbox\Client\Dropbox.exe

      (Note that you can always find the location by right clicking on the Dropbox icon on your desktop and selecting "Properties".)

    • In the Arguments field, enter:


    • In the Name field, enter the name that you will call the application in AlwaysUp. We have used Dropbox but you can specify almost anything you like.

    Dropbox Windows Service: General Tab

  7. Click over to the Logon tab and enter the user name and password of the account in which you installed and use Dropbox. Dropbox will run in this account so that it can find its settings.

    Dropbox Windows Service: Logon Tab

  8. Click over to the Startup tab and check the Ensure that the Windows Networking components have started box. This informs AlwaysUp that Dropbox needs the TCP/IP networking stack to operate.

    Dropbox Windows Service: Startup Tab

  9. Update, June 2014: Please see this blog post describing a few recommended additions to the Startup & Restart tabs to work around Dropox automatic updates in a 24x7 environment.

  10. Click the Save >> button. In a couple of seconds, an application called Dropbox will show up in the AlwaysUp window. It is not yet running though.

    Dropbox Windows Service: Created

  11. To start Dropbox, choose Application > Start "Dropbox".

    Dropbox Windows Service: Running

  12. That's it! Next time your computer boots, Dropbox will start up immediately, before anyone logs on. We encourage you to edit Dropbox in AlwaysUp and check out the many other settings that may be appropriate for your environment.

    Note: On Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista and Server 2012/2008, your files will be synchronized but you will no longer see Dropbox's graphical elements. The task tray icon, the "overlay" icons that Dropbox places on your files in the Dropbox folder (such as the green check mark or the blue refreshing icon) and the Dropbox menu entries shown when you right-click on a synchronized file will not be visible. This is because Dropbox is running in another session (Session 0) and can no longer interact with your windows. If you wish to see the task tray icon and interact with Dropbox, choose Application > Restart "Dropbox" in this Session to have AlwaysUp restart Dropbox and make it available on your screen. (More on this in the AlwaysUp Frequently Asked Questions page.)

Dropbox not working properly as a Windows Service?

  • If Dropbox seems to be running but your files are not being synchronized, please ensure that Dropbox is configured to share the correct (public?) folders. This situation has nothing to do with AlwaysUp, so you can stop Dropbox in AlwaysUp and start it normally to validate your folder setup.
  • Visit the AlwaysUp Troubleshooter - our online tool that can help you resolve the most common problems encountered when running an application as a windows service.
  • From AlwaysUp, select Application > Report Activity > Today... to bring up a HTML report detailing the interaction between AlwaysUp and your application. The AlwaysUp Event Log Messages page explains the more obscure messages.
  • Consult theAlwaysUp FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions and troubleshooting tips.
  • Contact us and we will be happy to help!

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