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what does Dropbox need my password for?

Helpful | Level 5


I have grown leery of giving Dropbox my password, given its history. This has gotten to the point where I'm even considering moving away from Dropbox if I can't trust it.


I don't need Smart Sync, so I have not given permission for that, but whenever Dropbox launches, it says:


"Please enter your computer password for Dropbox to work properly."


[Here is a link to an image of the prompt] 



But here's the thing: when I hit cancel, Dropbox seems to work just fine.


  1. So does Dropbox need my password or does Dropbox simply want my password?
  2. What precisely will Dropbox do with it?
  3. Is Dropbox saving my password anywhere or giving itself permission to act with administrative permissions later on?
  4. Is this documented anywhere officially? If yes, where? If no, why not be transparent with your customers?
1 Reply 1

Re: what does Dropbox need my password for?

Super User II
Super User II

@TJ L. wrote:

I have grown leery of giving Dropbox my password

You're not giving Dropbox your password. You're giving it to your operating system. Dropbox is doing something that requires elevated privileges and your operating system is saying "hold up a sec, you need permission." Your operating system then prompts you for your password to allow Dropbox to do whatever it is that it needs to do. Your password is never given to Dropbox.


As for what Dropbox is trying to do... there's no way to know exactly, but it's usually going to be something like fixing/setting overlay icons, updating, adding or changing services that are needed, etc. Simply put, it's nothing nefarious.

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