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Creating a Dropbox Folder on Your Machine

It is easy to link your home folder with your Dropbox. By default, the Dropbox will be accessible as ~/Dropbox. Before doing so, there are two important considerations:

  • If you have a large Dropbox, you may wish to make sure that the Dropbox contents are not actually stored in your $HOME folder (where they would count against your quota). The easiest way to do this is to create a folder in your scratch partition (e.g., ~/Scratch/Dropbox) and then create a symbolic link to this folder, via
ln -s /scratch/Dropbox ~/Dropbox

The only drawback is that your scratch partition is typically only available on a few machines (e.g., not on ariadne itself).

  • Clearly, if you store your Dropbox on scratch it will be ignored in the daily backup. However, even if you keep it actually in your home folder, the backup script will skip the Dropbox.

Installing Dropbox

  • To install the dropbox daemon on your machine, run the following command from your terminal:
$ cd ~ && wget -O - "https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86_64" | tar xzf -
  • Next, run the Dropbox daemon from the newly created .dropbox-dist folder, using the following command:

Additional Notes

  • The Dropbox daemon (which synchronizes your ~/Dropbox folder with the actual Dropbox) starts automatically when you log in to the graphical desktop. However, if your machine is restarted (so that the daemon is killed) and you log in remotely (before logging in to the graphical desktop), the Dropbox daemon will have to be started manually. This is done via
dropbox start

It is important to do this only on your home machine. If you do it on multiple machines (or even by accident, by putting the dropbox start command in your ~/.bashrc script --- clearly, do NOT do this!), you will end up with conflicts, since multiple independent daemons will all start to synchronize the same folder.

  • If you have NOT put your Dropbox on scratch and wish to change this, proceed as follows:
    • On your home machine, stop the Dropbox daemon via dropbox stop
    • Create the Dropbox folder on scratch
    • Move the contents from ~/Dropbox to this new scratch folder
    • Remove the (now empty) folder ~/Dropbox
    • Create a symbolic link ~/Dropbox to the Dropbox folder on scratch (as described near the top of this page)
    • Restart the Dropbox daemon via dropbox start

Dropbox gets stuck "Connecting"

Remove ~/.dropbox and ~/.dropbox-dist and reinstall. This results from stopping dropbox during the synch process or trying to selectively synch without first pausing.