When it comes to storing and synchronising your data, there has been a large rise in ways to achieve this in the last couple of years. One of the more popular ones is uploading and storing your files with an online service. There are plenty to choose from depending on how much data storage is required. Although there are services that offer more storage space if you need a lot, possibly the most popular and the one I use, is Dropbox. The 2GB or so basic package it offers does me just fine, although I believe this can be increased to around 16GB with some effort.
Dropbox really can be a very useful application allowing you to access your data and sync files and folders across multiple computers and devices. And because it’s a cross platform service, there are a number of possible ways to do it. Firstly, you can download and install the Dropbox desktop client on all computers that need access to Dropbox, or simply open a web browser and access the online version. If you are on the move, there are iPhone and Android versions available as well. One way Dropbox doesn’t currently offer is taking your synced account with you in a portable way such as a USB stick.
Having a portable Dropbox account has a few big advantages such as allowing you not to have to install the desktop application on systems you don’t really want to, which is better for security and privacy reasons. Also, a portable version doesn’t have a limit of one account per machine, it’s one account per folder so multiple accounts are possible. DropboxPortableAHK is an easy to use utility to enable you to do this.
The program is pretty easy to use as it’s a series of screens to go through to set everything up and get the Dropbox portable account working. Screen 2 checks for a current internet connection and allows the setup of custom connections if needed. The standard system method is ok for most situations.
Screen 3 is for choosing a folder name and location for the Dropbox folder, pretty self explanatory.
Screen 4 is useful if you already have the Dropbox application setup because the data folder can be moved or copied to the portable location which saves downloading it again. The Use previous Dropbox configuration option should transfer your account information but I constantly got a “No Dropbox path was found…” error when I tried to use it, so it’s something to watch out for.
The Addons screen has a number of options including folder Protection which will terminate the Dropbox process if you unplug a USB stick while it’s still running, and SyncAndGo that will open the Dropbox application, sync your files and then close again. If you don’t want to enable this option permanently, it can be turned on temporarily by holding Ctrl while starting the executable. It is worth having a good read of the online setup instructions for a better explanation what all of the options do.
Screen 8 is where the Dropbox setup files are downloaded if they haven’t been already, and the icon color can be changed so different accounts can be given separate colored icons. The setup zip file to be downloaded and extracted is around 16MB.
The final screen just has a button to start the Dropbox setup process where you can create an account or enter your details for a currently used one. Once that is done, the portable Dropbox application is ready to use and the chosen color icon will be displayed in the system tray. Files and folders will then be synced in the normal way of adding or removing data from the Dropbox folder.
To create a different account, unpack the downloaded DropboxPortableAHK zip file using a different folder name. Opening the setup window again after an account is configured can be done by holding Shift when double clicking the executable. Right click the Dropbox tray icon and Exit to close everything down.
Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 (32-bit and 64-bit).