I'd like to use Dropbox as a backup service. By default, Dropbox will only synchronize files in the My Dropbox folder with my online storage. Can I configure it to synchronize from other locations, so I can backup all files in My Documents, or will I have to resort to some type of mechanism that periodically copies files to My Dropbox?

  • I use crashplan for my backups
    – mjrider
    Apr 19, 2011 at 11:02
  • 1
    What you are talking about is an archive -- not a backup, because it doesn't protect against accidental deletion or change. Instead, it will faithfully propagate unwanted changes to single additional copy. Apr 19, 2011 at 15:13
  • @Joel Dropbox lets you undelete files and restore previous versions up to 30 days - so yes it does protect you against accidental deletion or change, to a certain extent.
    – Kez
    Apr 24, 2011 at 10:41

5 Answers 5


Dropbox provides an official add-on to do this, called Dropbox Folder Sync.

Lets you sync any folder outside dropbox with just a Right-click and Selecting "Sync With Dropbox". So simple . Moves the original folder to dropbox and creates a symbolic link for the folder using the junction utility(installs automatically with the setup) from Sysinternals. Thus you can access the same folder from two locations.

  • Wow! I never knew about that before... cool!
    – nhinkle
    Apr 17, 2011 at 21:05
  • 1
    careful. This add-on does move phisically move the folder into dropbox and creates a symlink in the previous location. Also, this only works in Windows.
    – bbonamin
    Apr 17, 2011 at 21:06

PROTIP: Encrypt anything sensitive you store in the cloud before sending it to the cloud.

This might not seem like an issue (hey, my cloud service communicates via SSL! everything is encrypted!), but if your data is only being transmitted safely, what happens when it's being stored?

The cloud services I've used (granted, only Evernote and Dropbox, which are both rather awesome) transmit data securely, but store it normally. If someone gets into their data centre, all your data belongs to them. If they've got someone untrustworthy on their team, they can be poking around in your data looking for interesting bits.

  • +1, I've seen a few news articles just this week that hint that anything you upload to DropBox is visible to anyone on the web who really wants to look at it. Apr 19, 2011 at 15:14
  • @Joel: That's not what's happening at all. The issue is that previously Dropbox said that they couldn't unencrypt your data even if they wanted to, but now are saying that in the case of a court order they could unencrypt to the authorities.
    – ale
    Apr 22, 2011 at 13:28
  • Whats the best way of encrypting something before sending it to the cloud?
    – masfenix
    Jan 26, 2013 at 19:52
  • Use a tool like TrueCrypt to make an encrypted disk image; store that image in your cloud provider instead of storing "bare" files.
    – chrish
    Feb 5, 2013 at 14:21

Dropbox may not be the best solution for what you're trying to do. It's meant to be used as a file syncing program, so that you can have files be synced between several computers or accessible anywhere. It can be used as backup software, but that's not its primary purpose. If you just want to back your files up online, there are probably other services which will be much cheaper per-GB.

If you do want to back up things from other locations, the easiest method would be to follow the instructions in the other post you linked to. There is no other official support for including other folders built in to Dropbox.

  • +1 for mentioning syncing is more than just pushing files into a cloud, pulling unwanted changes can mess you up. There is no revision system on your local drive to bail you out either.
    – jiggunjer
    Jun 19, 2015 at 13:57

What I have set up on other computers is to move the My Documents location to the My Dropbox folder. Windows knows, and does successfully make every program save as expected, in the Dropbox folder. Like this, but the folder name will be like C:/Users/Jen/Dropbox


An alternate solution is running a backup script at a certain time everyday that copies certain files to the Dropbox folder. You could even go a step further and do some folder management with timestamping and stuff like that.....

.... I kinda want to write a script that does that now.

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