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Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

Explorer | Level 4

I am looking in to buying a new laptop and will need to dual boot Windows and Ubuntu.  I am planning three SSD's - one for Windows, one for Ubuntu and one as a shared data drive.

Is it possible to set up DB so that both operating systems can sync to the shared data drive?  I have done a bit of research on here and I cannot seem to find a definitive answer.

 

Thanks!

24 Replies

Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

Dropboxer

Hey @David C.118,  

I'd be glad to send over some relevant information. 

Please be aware that in order for for Dropbox to work seamlessly, we recommend that only one user account accesses a given Dropbox folder, and that this folder is located on the main drive of your computer or on a drive that is physically connected to the computer. To my mind, it would be better to avoid creating a link to the Dropbox folder, since this may create unexpected behavior and, in some cases, result in file loss. 

Please reference this resource to see more details about it. 

I hope this helps you clarify! Please let me know if there's anything else I could do to help. 

Thanks!

 


Jane
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


 


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Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

Explorer | Level 4

I am not really wanting to run DB on a server.  I want to dual boot a single machine which will have both Windows and Ubuntu on it.  It will have Windows installed on one drive, Ubuntu on another and a third drive will be a data drive that can be seen by both operating systems that I plan to put my DB folder.  All drives will be installed on one computer and the only user account accessing that drive will be me.  

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Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

Super User II

It's very possible, just not supported or recommended.

Install Dropbox and use the Advanced Options to specify the location for your Dropbox folder. Allow it to sync completely. Boot into the other operating system and install Dropbox, again using Advanced Options to specify the same Dropbox folder. Dropbox will index your files when the installation is complete, but shouldn't need to sync anything unless there have been changes (though it may appear to be syncing, just let it work).

It is extremely important that you DO NOT USE SELECTIVE SYNC from either operating system when running in this configuration. If you do, you WILL lose files.

I would also suggest never booting into the other operating system until you're certain that the current one is fully synced. Also, as always, keep your own backups of your data.

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Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

New member | Level 2

I was wondering if and how I could suggest DB to implement dual boot as an actual polished feature for those applicable. 

It is redundant, and in cases with large DBs, quite wasteful to contain all the same files on one computer 2x. Please, Please and thankyou!

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Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

Super User II

You can request it in the feature requests section of the forums.

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Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

New member | Level 2
This doesn't solve the problem. Once dropbox is installed on one of the OS's, and the Dropbox folder is moved to the shared partition, the Dropbox application on the other OS won't allow you to use that same folder as your Dropbox directory: it issues a "This folder already contains a Dropbox directory" error and can't change the default location." This happens regardless of whether you install Dropbox on one OS first, or on the other.

It would be extremely useful, both for space-saving, and convenience. Is there a way around this?
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Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

Super User II

@travsformation wrote:
... the Dropbox application on the other OS won't allow you to use that same folder as your Dropbox directory: it issues a "This folder already contains a Dropbox directory" error and can't change the default location."

When that happens, rename the Dropbox folder to Dropbox2 or similar. Reinstall Dropbox and select the location that you want for the Dropbox folder, just like you did on the first OS, and let the installation create a new Dropbox folder. When the installation is finished, Dropbox will immediately start to sync. Exit the Dropbox application to stop syncing. Rename the new Dropbox folder to Dropbox_OLD and rename Dropbox2 to Dropbox. Re-launch Dropbox.

At this point Dropbox will begin indexing all of your files. This process will take a while, especially if you have a lot of data to go through. During this time it may say that files are uploading or downloading, but it's only transferring comparison data and any changes that it find. Be patient and LET IT WORK.

 

And because it's worth repeating...

 

It is extremely important that you DO NOT USE SELECTIVE SYNC from either operating system when running in this configuration. If you do, you WILL lose files.

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Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

New member | Level 2
I can't believe I didn't think of that! Great workaround, thanks! slightly smiling face
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Re: Dual booting with shared DB drive possible?

New member | Level 2

I attempted this today, I think this thread is outdated.  It looks like the dropbox desktop client for Linux no longer supports ntfs formatted volumes (requires ext4 formatted partition). Thus, it seems now impossible to boot between linux and windows and share dropbox files between them (Windows can not read ext4 formatted partition) - you must have two different dropbox installations - this is from the system requirements page on dropbox:

Linux:  Ubuntu 14.04 or higher, Fedora 21 or higher

  • The Dropbox folder will need to be on an ext4-formatted hard drive or partition
  • Note: ecryptfs is not supported, but Dropbox will continue to sync with supported file systems that are encrypted via full disk encryption (e.g. LUKS)

 

So I have a question though.  Does anyone know, if I'm booted in Linux, I can see and mount the ntfs drive - so I can open and modify files in the ntfs mounted drive within the dropbox folders for the Windows install.  If I modify those files, next time I boot into Windows and the dropbox client runs - will it see the files have changed and synch them?  

I'm terribly disappointed that dropbox doesn't support a dual boot scenario and will be investigating alternative storage services now.

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