Limit Dropbox Sync with Multiple Accounts

dropbox diagram.png

While there are a lot of things I like about Dropbox, one problem is its inability to synchronize limited files.

For instance, at my office I have a PC computer for which I would like to share frequently used reference files. Because Dropbox has an “all or nothing” structure, activating my account on that PC computer would force the synchronization of everything, including personal items that have no business on my office PC. Furthermore, tech staff, work colleagues, and even the cleaning staff have access to the office PC when I’m not around. For these reasons, I do not want my entire Dropbox library on the office PC. This may be a unique problem resulting from my own paranoia but I think not.*

I toyed with a number of possible solutions to this problem. One option is a MobileMe synchronization but again that opens the PC to other files and requires manual steps. I want this to be automatic. Another solution is to set up a free account with a different service such as Syncplicity or SugarSync. Of course that would require operating two synchronization services on my Mac and I’m not thrilled about two seperate applications tracking and syncing files and burning clock cycles.

The best solution I found was simply to set up an additional free 2 GB Dropbox account on the PC under a different e-mail and “share” a folder from my Mac-based paid Dropbox account with the new account. This allows me to control access of what gets synchronized, limits the ability of someone on my PC to only obtain access to the shared files, and allows me to avoid running two synchronization applications on the Mac. Problem solved, for now.

* I’m aware I could set up a limited synchronization using Sugar Sync. The problem is that those require you to submit your account information and would allow a prospective evildoer simply log into your web account and have access to the whole enchilada. See what I mean about paranoia?

65 Comments Limit Dropbox Sync with Multiple Accounts

  1. Johnharley@gmail.com

    I recommend you switch to SugarSync that allows you to do all this out of the box, instead of wasting your time with hacks to workaround Dropbox limitations.
    Cheers
    John

    Reply
  2. Johnharley@gmail.com

    I recommend you switch to SugarSync that allows you to do all this out of the box, instead of wasting your time with hacks to workaround Dropbox limitations.
    Cheers
    John

    Reply
  3. Johnharley@gmail.com

    I recommend you switch to SugarSync that allows you to do all this out of the box, instead of wasting your time with hacks to workaround Dropbox limitations.
    Cheers
    John

    Reply
  4. Johnharley@gmail.com

    I recommend you switch to SugarSync that allows you to do all this out of the box, instead of wasting your time with hacks to workaround Dropbox limitations.
    Cheers
    John

    Reply
  5. Johnharley@gmail.com

    I recommend you switch to SugarSync that allows you to do all this out of the box, instead of wasting your time with hacks to workaround Dropbox limitations.
    Cheers
    John

    Reply
  6. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    I don’t know where you got your information about DropBox but it lets you define the location of the “drop box”. You then decide what goes in it. You can leave files in their original location and have them synchronized by linking them to the dropbox folder. Things you don’t want to have sync’d don’t need to be sync’d.

    Reply
  7. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    I don’t know where you got your information about DropBox but it lets you define the location of the “drop box”. You then decide what goes in it. You can leave files in their original location and have them synchronized by linking them to the dropbox folder. Things you don’t want to have sync’d don’t need to be sync’d.

    Reply
  8. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    I don’t know where you got your information about DropBox but it lets you define the location of the “drop box”. You then decide what goes in it. You can leave files in their original location and have them synchronized by linking them to the dropbox folder. Things you don’t want to have sync’d don’t need to be sync’d.

    Reply
  9. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    I don’t know where you got your information about DropBox but it lets you define the location of the “drop box”. You then decide what goes in it. You can leave files in their original location and have them synchronized by linking them to the dropbox folder. Things you don’t want to have sync’d don’t need to be sync’d.

    Reply
  10. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    I don’t know where you got your information about DropBox but it lets you define the location of the “drop box”. You then decide what goes in it. You can leave files in their original location and have them synchronized by linking them to the dropbox folder. Things you don’t want to have sync’d don’t need to be sync’d.

    Reply
  11. jackycheng_ce@yahoo.com

    i am new user to dropbox, need expert advise.
    I am using dropbox to share 1 of my compnay “goods delivery schedule” (excel file). Which mean all my outlet supervisor is responsible to “book” the delivery timing in that file.

    my question:
    1. can i have simultaneous access, i.e 2 or 3 outlets accessing the same file at same time? or do i need to take turn?
    2. if we can, what if both part is making changes to the file. what will happend?
    3. I store that “delivery file” in outlet A, when i install dropbox in outlet B, will the file be automatically copy into outlet B’s harddisk? or it is stored on dropbox server?

    Thousand thanks!

    Reply
  12. jackycheng_ce@yahoo.com

    i am new user to dropbox, need expert advise.
    I am using dropbox to share 1 of my compnay “goods delivery schedule” (excel file). Which mean all my outlet supervisor is responsible to “book” the delivery timing in that file.

    my question:
    1. can i have simultaneous access, i.e 2 or 3 outlets accessing the same file at same time? or do i need to take turn?
    2. if we can, what if both part is making changes to the file. what will happend?
    3. I store that “delivery file” in outlet A, when i install dropbox in outlet B, will the file be automatically copy into outlet B’s harddisk? or it is stored on dropbox server?

    Thousand thanks!

    Reply
  13. jackycheng_ce@yahoo.com

    i am new user to dropbox, need expert advise.
    I am using dropbox to share 1 of my compnay “goods delivery schedule” (excel file). Which mean all my outlet supervisor is responsible to “book” the delivery timing in that file.

    my question:
    1. can i have simultaneous access, i.e 2 or 3 outlets accessing the same file at same time? or do i need to take turn?
    2. if we can, what if both part is making changes to the file. what will happend?
    3. I store that “delivery file” in outlet A, when i install dropbox in outlet B, will the file be automatically copy into outlet B’s harddisk? or it is stored on dropbox server?

    Thousand thanks!

    Reply
  14. jackycheng_ce@yahoo.com

    i am new user to dropbox, need expert advise.
    I am using dropbox to share 1 of my compnay “goods delivery schedule” (excel file). Which mean all my outlet supervisor is responsible to “book” the delivery timing in that file.

    my question:
    1. can i have simultaneous access, i.e 2 or 3 outlets accessing the same file at same time? or do i need to take turn?
    2. if we can, what if both part is making changes to the file. what will happend?
    3. I store that “delivery file” in outlet A, when i install dropbox in outlet B, will the file be automatically copy into outlet B’s harddisk? or it is stored on dropbox server?

    Thousand thanks!

    Reply
  15. jackycheng_ce@yahoo.com

    i am new user to dropbox, need expert advise.
    I am using dropbox to share 1 of my compnay “goods delivery schedule” (excel file). Which mean all my outlet supervisor is responsible to “book” the delivery timing in that file.

    my question:
    1. can i have simultaneous access, i.e 2 or 3 outlets accessing the same file at same time? or do i need to take turn?
    2. if we can, what if both part is making changes to the file. what will happend?
    3. I store that “delivery file” in outlet A, when i install dropbox in outlet B, will the file be automatically copy into outlet B’s harddisk? or it is stored on dropbox server?

    Thousand thanks!

    Reply
  16. jkiernan@mac.com

    I just noticed that all users on my laptop (ie kids account) have access to my dropbox files. I thought only my user account could see or edit files. If you click on smartlist for all docs dropbox files are there for all users on the computer.

    Great tip for how to share parts of Dropbox to work Mac. Thanks.

    Reply
  17. jkiernan@mac.com

    I just noticed that all users on my laptop (ie kids account) have access to my dropbox files. I thought only my user account could see or edit files. If you click on smartlist for all docs dropbox files are there for all users on the computer.

    Great tip for how to share parts of Dropbox to work Mac. Thanks.

    Reply
  18. jkiernan@mac.com

    I just noticed that all users on my laptop (ie kids account) have access to my dropbox files. I thought only my user account could see or edit files. If you click on smartlist for all docs dropbox files are there for all users on the computer.

    Great tip for how to share parts of Dropbox to work Mac. Thanks.

    Reply
  19. jkiernan@mac.com

    I just noticed that all users on my laptop (ie kids account) have access to my dropbox files. I thought only my user account could see or edit files. If you click on smartlist for all docs dropbox files are there for all users on the computer.

    Great tip for how to share parts of Dropbox to work Mac. Thanks.

    Reply
  20. jkiernan@mac.com

    I just noticed that all users on my laptop (ie kids account) have access to my dropbox files. I thought only my user account could see or edit files. If you click on smartlist for all docs dropbox files are there for all users on the computer.

    Great tip for how to share parts of Dropbox to work Mac. Thanks.

    Reply
  21. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Julie K, it depends on the setup you have. If you’re on Windows’s I pray for you. If you’re on a Mac or Linux (or some other sane operating system) then you can set the permissions on the folder as you like. If you want no one else to view the files in your DropBox folder form the local machine, just change the permissions so that only your user has access to them. On most operating systems you can use a command like “chmod”. On Windows I have no idea because I don’t use it.

    Reply
  22. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Julie K, it depends on the setup you have. If you’re on Windows’s I pray for you. If you’re on a Mac or Linux (or some other sane operating system) then you can set the permissions on the folder as you like. If you want no one else to view the files in your DropBox folder form the local machine, just change the permissions so that only your user has access to them. On most operating systems you can use a command like “chmod”. On Windows I have no idea because I don’t use it.

    Reply
  23. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Julie K, it depends on the setup you have. If you’re on Windows’s I pray for you. If you’re on a Mac or Linux (or some other sane operating system) then you can set the permissions on the folder as you like. If you want no one else to view the files in your DropBox folder form the local machine, just change the permissions so that only your user has access to them. On most operating systems you can use a command like “chmod”. On Windows I have no idea because I don’t use it.

    Reply
  24. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Julie K, it depends on the setup you have. If you’re on Windows’s I pray for you. If you’re on a Mac or Linux (or some other sane operating system) then you can set the permissions on the folder as you like. If you want no one else to view the files in your DropBox folder form the local machine, just change the permissions so that only your user has access to them. On most operating systems you can use a command like “chmod”. On Windows I have no idea because I don’t use it.

    Reply
  25. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Julie K, it depends on the setup you have. If you’re on Windows’s I pray for you. If you’re on a Mac or Linux (or some other sane operating system) then you can set the permissions on the folder as you like. If you want no one else to view the files in your DropBox folder form the local machine, just change the permissions so that only your user has access to them. On most operating systems you can use a command like “chmod”. On Windows I have no idea because I don’t use it.

    Reply
  26. juanmanuel@rojascavaliere.com

    Hello. I have tried a lot but i cant configure two different dropbox accounts in the same computer.

    How did you do it?

    Reply
  27. juanmanuel@rojascavaliere.com

    Hello. I have tried a lot but i cant configure two different dropbox accounts in the same computer.

    How did you do it?

    Reply
  28. juanmanuel@rojascavaliere.com

    Hello. I have tried a lot but i cant configure two different dropbox accounts in the same computer.

    How did you do it?

    Reply
  29. juanmanuel@rojascavaliere.com

    Hello. I have tried a lot but i cant configure two different dropbox accounts in the same computer.

    How did you do it?

    Reply
  30. juanmanuel@rojascavaliere.com

    Hello. I have tried a lot but i cant configure two different dropbox accounts in the same computer.

    How did you do it?

    Reply
  31. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Juan, you can’t do two dropbox accounts from the same system account. Your best bet.. is to set up the two accounts and then share the folders you want access to from the other accounts. You’ll stay logged in on that machine to the one (primary?) DropBox account and just have access to the files of the other account.

    Your other option is to use another service in addition to DropBox. SugarSync is one such service but there are many others.

    Reply
  32. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Juan, you can’t do two dropbox accounts from the same system account. Your best bet.. is to set up the two accounts and then share the folders you want access to from the other accounts. You’ll stay logged in on that machine to the one (primary?) DropBox account and just have access to the files of the other account.

    Your other option is to use another service in addition to DropBox. SugarSync is one such service but there are many others.

    Reply
  33. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Juan, you can’t do two dropbox accounts from the same system account. Your best bet.. is to set up the two accounts and then share the folders you want access to from the other accounts. You’ll stay logged in on that machine to the one (primary?) DropBox account and just have access to the files of the other account.

    Your other option is to use another service in addition to DropBox. SugarSync is one such service but there are many others.

    Reply
  34. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Juan, you can’t do two dropbox accounts from the same system account. Your best bet.. is to set up the two accounts and then share the folders you want access to from the other accounts. You’ll stay logged in on that machine to the one (primary?) DropBox account and just have access to the files of the other account.

    Your other option is to use another service in addition to DropBox. SugarSync is one such service but there are many others.

    Reply
  35. gcw@notadiscussion.com

    @Juan, you can’t do two dropbox accounts from the same system account. Your best bet.. is to set up the two accounts and then share the folders you want access to from the other accounts. You’ll stay logged in on that machine to the one (primary?) DropBox account and just have access to the files of the other account.

    Your other option is to use another service in addition to DropBox. SugarSync is one such service but there are many others.

    Reply
  36. hey

    found you on google-
    one way to do it is to create another dropbox account
    sync your office computer with that account, and start a sharing folder with that account, and send an invite of sharing folder to the original account

    then both of your account will have acess to the sharing folder but the second account only having acess to the shared folder

    hope it helps

    Reply
  37. Anna

    I just found this site googling Excel and Dropbox. Can Dropbox be corrupting my .xls files? I have some files that want to save changes whenever they are opened, regardless if I’ve done anything at all. I am using MS Office 2004 on an iBook G4 and on a MacBook Pro 13". Sometimes I also use Excel 2008 on a public computer at school, but it does it even with my own two computers. My other thought is that maybe my version of Excel is somehow corrupted. Many thanks!

    Reply
  38. Seamas66

    Sugarsync trashed my quicken files. At least Dropbox warns you not to place quicken or scrivener files in the dropbox folder. Sugarsync has no warnings so beware!

    Reply
  39. Adrian

    "For instance, at my office I have a PC computer for which I would like to share frequently used reference files. Because Dropbox has an "all or nothing" structure, activating my account on that PC computer would force the synchronization of everything, including personal items that have no business on my office PC. Furthermore, tech staff, work colleagues, and even the cleaning staff have access to the office PC when I’m not around. For these reasons, I do not want my entire Dropbox library on the office PC. This may be a unique problem resulting from my own paranoia but I think not."
    ————–RESPONSE———–BELOW———–

    I am not sure I get your problem. Maybe dropbox has changed since you installed it but when I installed it wasn’t all or nothing. It let me select which folder I wanted to share and that was it. I didn’t have to load all my personal files on there.

    Reply
  40. davidwsparks@mac.com

    While you can selectively pick which items go in dropbox, the files you sync go on every PC that has Dropbox. My point was on one machine I didn’t want everything.

    Reply
  41. davidwsparks@mac.com

    While you can selectively pick which items go in dropbox, the files you sync go on every PC that has Dropbox. My point was on one machine I didn’t want everything.

    Reply
  42. davidwsparks@mac.com

    While you can selectively pick which items go in dropbox, the files you sync go on every PC that has Dropbox. My point was on one machine I didn’t want everything.

    Reply
  43. davidwsparks@mac.com

    While you can selectively pick which items go in dropbox, the files you sync go on every PC that has Dropbox. My point was on one machine I didn’t want everything.

    Reply
  44. davidwsparks@mac.com

    While you can selectively pick which items go in dropbox, the files you sync go on every PC that has Dropbox. My point was on one machine I didn’t want everything.

    Reply

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