You are hereRunning Dropbox as a Service on Windows Server

Running Dropbox as a Service on Windows Server


By steve - Posted on 25 March 2014

If you need to run Dropbox as a service, you need to convince Windows Server to run it as a service. That's easy enough using the old "srvany.exe" toolkit program that let's you run "any" program as a service.

Basically, you will install dropbox, grab srvany.exe, create a service entry, add a registry setting, start the service, then you're up and running.

Here are the details...

  • Download and install the Windows Server 2003 Resource Toolkit, which was here when I wrote this.
  • Download Dropbox for your system.
  • Most of the time with a server, if you are syncing Dropbox, you're doing it as a backup for your shares. If you are doing that, you need to point the dropbox base folder to there. When you install dropbox, you can change the base location for the Dropbox files, so change it to point to your shares. Note that a "dropbox" folder will be created there, then your shared folders should be under that folder. So, let's say I want my quickbooks and files folders to be shared to users and to sync with dropbox. I would create a folder called c:\shares, then point dropbox there during install. It will create c:\shares\dropbox. After installation, move your shares under there so you end up with c:\shares\dropbox\quickbooks and c:\shares\dropbox\files. When you do, you'll have everything in those folders syncing to dropbox! Install dropbox, enter your user and password, point to the correct location, and finish the install. When you're ready to sync, move or make your shares under the dropbox folder and they will sync. Note: If you move shared folders under Windows Server, the share will break and you need to re-share it.
  • Change Dropbox preferences by unchecking "Show desktop notifications" and "Start Dropbox on system startup". We do this because we don't want the user interface to start up.
  • Exit all the way out of Dropbox. Click exit in the icon in the taskbar.
  • Execute this on the command prompt as administrator:
    sc create Dropbox binPath= "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe" DisplayName= "Dropbox Service"

    If the service was created successfully, you will receive message:
    [SC] CreateService SUCCESS

  • Run services.msc
  • Click properties on Dropbox service.
  • Click on "Log On".
  • Click on "This account" and select Administrator. Set the appropriate password.
  • Set startup type to Automatic.
  • Click OK.
  • Don't start the service, yet!
  • Run regedit
  • Navigate to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dropbox

    (This was added when we ran the SC command above.)

  • Create a new key: Parameters
  • Add a new string value: Application of type REG_SZ and set the value to the path to the dropbox.exe binary, something like this:

    C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\Dropbox\bin\Dropbox.exe
  • Close regedit.
  • Run services.msc and start the Dropbox service.

That should do it. You can monitor the sync progress by opening the dropbox website and checking the Events option. It should show you regular updates as you change files.

Note that if you reboot the server, it is always a good idea to make sure the service restarted correctly and syncing is still happening. I've had times where it didn't start the service, but there was no error or notification.

First off, thank you for the page. I do have a problem though. When I start the service I immediately get prompted that the service started but then stopped.

"the Dropbox Service service on Local Computer started and then stopped. Some services stop automatically if they are not in use by other services or programs."

Please advise.

That's most likely an indication that srvany didn't find the Dropbox EXE file. Unless Dropbox was installed under the Administrator account, the EXE won't be found at

C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\Dropbox\bin\Dropbox.exe

It will be under the directory of the user account used to install it, and at

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

FWIW, I haven't been able to get this to work. It runs, and the Dropbox EXE can be seen under processes, but it doesn't sync. Running it in the normal manner works fine.

Change regedit parameters as follow and then you don't have any problem:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\DropBoxService
– Create KEY Parameters
– Create String value name “Application“, value C:\Program Files\Dropbox\Dropbox.exe /home
– Create String value name “AppDirectory“, value C:\Program Files\Dropbox
– Go to Administration Tools / Services -> DropBoxService -> Properties -> Log on -> Use “YourUser”
– Change the service startup type to “Automatic”
– Start service

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