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On Windows I've managed to disable Dropbox automatic updates because they were done by another application (DropboxUpdate.exe), but on Linux the same application that does the sync also download the updates, so I don't know how to prevent it from doing so.

I guess it would be necessary to block some IPs or something like that, but I'm not sure how to do this.

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  • In order to get automatic updates there needs to be a Dropbox entry in the Other Software section of the repository (under Software & Updates). Simply untick this, run sudo apt update (or the equivalent from the GUI application) and you will get no more updates. Tick the entry again if you want to restore auto-updates. Note that a new installation of Dropbox may restore this entry.
    – AFH
    Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 15:54
  • Dropbox repository is not listed on this "Other Software" section. Maybe because the Dropbox is actually installed on the user folder, so it doesn't need any special permission to update itself. And Dropbox updates itself, it doesn't use any Ubuntu service like "Software and Updates". Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 23:15
  • OK. On my Ubuntu 18.04 it updates through the repository. I didn't know there were other update options.
    – AFH
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 10:45

2 Answers 2

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Dropbox will always do every effort to add and/or start the update process as it sees fit. When started, it will update its version without asking any question. The only solution is either to stop it from starting or block it on the firewall, limiting its use to brief moments that will not let it (hopefully) enough time to update itself. This approach is of course not sure to succeed, since Dropbox updates are particularly hard to stop.

Nevertheless, an answer in the dropbox forums lists one solution that involves a full reinstalled. I copy the answer below (without testing). Note that such methods, if they work, may stop working in the future.

Here is the answer:

First, make sure you save and quit ALL programs that access files in the Dropbox folder.

Note: Please be sure to make a note or take a screenshot of any Selective Sync settings you may have applied as well as the location of your Dropbox folder (if not in the default location) prior to re-installing, as you will need to match these settings upon re-install. If you're using a headless version of Dropbox you can access the list of Selective Sync folders by running "dropbox exclude".

Depending on your OS and the package you used to perform the installation, you could have files in two different locations. I'm sending you instructions for both of the cases, so if some of the commands error out don't worry.

Run the following commands in your terminal:

dropbox stop
dropbox status # Should report "not running"
rm -rf ~/.dropbox-dist
rm -rf /var/lib/dropbox
rm -rf ~/.dropbox*
sudo apt-get remove nautilus-dropbox
sudo apt-get remove dropbox
rm /etc/apt/source.d/dropbox

Once you're done you have two options:

  1. Install the Dropbox application with its graphical components using one of our packages. If you want to do that, download the correct package for your OS and architecture here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/install?os=linux

    Open your downloads folder and double click on the package file to start the installer.

    When Dropbox has finished installing, please sign in and apply any Selective Sync settings you may have had prior to the reinstall and select the Dropbox folder location (if not in the default location) during the sign in process. Your account will take a few moments to reindex the files and sync any pending changes.

  2. The second option is to run a headless version of Dropbox. This version will not have any of the menus or graphical components and can only be interacted with through the command line. To install this version do the following:

    If your machine is 32-bit:

    cd ~ && wget -O - "https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86" | tar xzf -
    

    If your machine is 64-bit:

    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.

    ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd
    

    When Dropbox has finished installing please sign in and apply any Selective Sync settings you may have had prior to the reinstall. Your account will take a few moments to reindex the files and sync any pending changes.

More installation and CLI information is also available here:

https://www.dropbox.com/install

Once that's done, please open the preferences of the application, (via right clicking the tray icon), and in the Accounts tab of preferences, untick "Start Dropbox on system Startup".

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  • That is to disable autostart not automatic updates. Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 0:15
  • I was too brief - see my opening paragraph. I agree that this is a weak approach, but there doesn't seem to be any other. Whenever it fails, you will need to re-install the previous version. Personally, I think this is a lost cause.
    – harrymc
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 6:39
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To disable automatic updates for Dropbox on Linux edit the file /etc/hosts (root privileges needed) and add:

#prevent dropbox from updating
0.0.0.0 dropboxstatic.com

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