Install Dropbox On New Computer

admin 11/23/2021

How to download and install the Dropbox desktop app

  • Click the blue Download Dropbox button. This will download the setup file for the Dropbox desktop app to your computer. If you're using Windows, you'll be asked to choose a download location in a new pop-up window. If you're on a Mac, your download will automatically be saved to your computer's Downloads folder.
  • Hi @Vasilisf!Welcome to the Dropbox community forum! I see that you've asked two questions here: how to install Dropbox to your new computer; how to view Dropbox folders in your Windows browser.

Once installed, you’ll be prompted to either sign in or create a new account.

How to install the desktop app with admin privileges

The Dropbox desktop app requires admin privileges to run with full functionality on your computer. This enables multiple different core features of Dropbox, including:

  • Sync icons that show the sync status of files and folders
  • Right-click context menus for taking quick actions in Dropbox
  • Access to Smart Sync

For the vast majority of users, the desktop app is automatically installed with admin privileges. However, if you didn't install with admin privileges you can follow the instructions below to do so.

Note: If you don't have admin rights on your computer (for example if you're using a work computer), you may need to ask your IT department for help.

Likewise, if the backups are already saved in a cloud-sync folder such as Dropbox or OneDrive that automatically synchronises with your second machine, you do not need to follow these next steps. On the first computer, open a project in Scrivener and go to File Options (Ctrl+,). Open the Backup pane and click the button to Open backup. Happily, Dropbox lets you choose which folders sync to which computers. It’s called Selective Sync, but to find it you’ll have to dig a little bit. First, find the Dropbox icon in your system tray. On Windows there’s a good chance that you’ll need to click the up arrow to the left of your system tray, in order to see the rarely-clicked.

Install the Dropbox desktop app with admin privileges

  1. If you already have Dropbox installed, uninstall the application.
  2. Open the installer.
    • Do not right-click, and do not command-click Run as an Administrator
  3. Follow the instructions in the install wizard.
    • If you’re asked for an administrative username and password, enter them or contact your administrator to sign in.
    • If you’re not asked for an administrative username and password, you’re already an admin on your computer.
  4. Complete the installation and sign in to Dropbox.

Smart Sync and admin privileges

Some Dropbox users will have access to Smart Sync. If you have access to this feature, check that Dropbox is installed with admin privileges on each computer where the feature will be used.

Depending on the policies at your organization, your team members may be able to install Dropbox with admin privileges on their own. If not, they may need the assistance of your IT team.

Why does the Dropbox desktop app for Mac require Keychain access?

Keychain is a password management system for Mac. Dropbox requires access to your Keychain to help verify your account and to provide another layer of security over the Dropbox app preferences.

  • To grant Keychain access to Dropbox, click Allow or Always Allow (recommended for seamless access) when prompted to do so from Mac.
  • Clicking Deny will result in a 'Couldn't start Dropbox' error message. For security reasons, Dropbox will not start without access to your Keychain.

What is the Dropbox Web Helper for macOS?

Dropbox Web Helper supports the Dropbox user interface on Mac computers. It only runs when the desktop app is running. Dropbox Web Helper is an independent process, so it may start and stop at different times than the desktop app. If you adjust your firewall or antivirus software for Dropbox, we recommend similar adjustments for Dropbox Web Helper.

Automatically download files from one computer to another

There's a two-step process to automatically migrate files from one computer to another. First, you'll download and install the Dropbox desktop app on both computers. Next, you'll use the app to migrate files between computers.

Before you begin

  • If you have a large number of files, consider prioritizing them so the files you use every day migrate before archived files
  • Also consider migrating your data in batches, or doing the migration overnight or on a weekend
  • Be sure that the computer you're migrating files to has enough hard drive space (by default, the Dropbox desktop app keeps a copy of files on your computer's hard drive)
  • Check the amount of space in your Dropbox account, and consider upgrading if necessary (by default, Basic accounts have 2 GB of space, while Plus and Family accounts have 2 TB)
  • If you want to delete files from your old computer, or if you want to wipe the hard drive entirely, be sure to first sign out of Dropbox on that computer and uninstall the Dropbox desktop app (this will ensure synced files aren't deleted from Dropbox or from your new computer)

Download and install Dropbox on both computers

  1. Visit the Dropbox install page and download the latest version of the desktop app.
    • Note: you don't need to re-install the desktop app if you already have it on one or both of your computers
  2. Once the installation finishes, sign in to your Dropbox account or sign up for a new one.
  3. After signing in, click Open my Dropbox.


Install Dropbox On New Computer

  • Be sure to sign in to Dropbox using the same account on both computers (this ensures that the files in your Dropbox account on one computer migrate to the other computer)
  • If the install is successful, you'll see a Dropbox folder on the hard drive of both computers, and the Dropbox icon will appear in your taskbar (Windows) or menu bar (Mac).

How Do I Install Dropbox On A New Computer

Migrate files from one computer to another

  1. On the computer you're migrating from, open File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) and navigate to any files or folders that you want to migrate. Drag-and-drop these files or folders to the Dropbox folder on your hard drive.
  2. As long as the computer you're migrating from is connected to the Internet, these files and folders will then upload to your Dropbox account in the cloud.
  3. These files and folders will also sync to your new computer, provided both of the following are true:
    • The computer you're migrating to is connected to the Internet
    • You're signed in to the Dropbox desktop app with the same Dropbox account on both computers

The migration is complete when a green circle with a checkmark appears beside the files and folders in the Dropbox folder on your computer. The Dropbox icon in your taskbar (Windows) or menu bar (Mac) will also say Up to date. You should then see the files and folders on both computers.

During and after migration

  • The amount of time it takes for the migration to complete depends on the number of files you're migrating, and on the speed of your internet connection (you can control bandwidth as needed)
  • Don't sign out, change settings, or turn off either computer during the migration process (the desktop app can only sync when you're signed in)
  • If you lose Internet access during the migration, Dropbox will simply pause syncing, and resume once you're online again
  • You can check the sync status at any time using the desktop application
  • If you want to delete files from a computer, or if you want to wipe the hard drive entirely, be sure to sign out of Dropbox on that computer and uninstall the Dropbox desktop app (this will ensure synced files aren't deleted from Dropbox)

Copy files manually

The other way to migrate files is to copy them manually from a portable storage device (like an external hard drive) to the Dropbox folder on your computer. The Dropbox desktop app will then scan the files, and see that they're the same files in your Dropbox account.

On your old computer

  1. Update the Dropbox desktop application to the latest version.
  2. Wait until syncing has finished, as indicated by the green circle with the checkmark on the Dropbox icon in your menu bar.
  3. Once syncing has completed, copy the contents of your Dropbox folder to your portable drive (such as a USB drive or external hard drive).

On your new computer

  1. Install the latest version of the Dropbox desktop application and sign in to your account when prompted.
  2. The application will create a Dropbox folder and begin downloading files from your account. Stop the download immediately by clicking the Dropbox icon in your taskbar (Windows) or menu bar (Mac), and selecting Pause Syncing from the menu.
  3. Copy the files from your portable drive into the Dropbox folder.
  4. Resume syncing by clicking the Dropbox icon in the taskbar (Windows) or menu bar (Mac), and selecting Resume Syncing from the menu.

Default location for the Dropbox folder

Note that the default location for the Dropbox folder is different for each operating system:

  • Linux: /home/yourUserName/Dropbox (such as /home/name/Dropbox).
  • Mac: /Users/yourUserName/Dropbox (such as /Users/name/Dropbox).
  • Windows: %HOMEPATH%Dropbox (such as C:UsersnameMy DocumentsDropbox).

Once you've completed these steps, the Dropbox desktop app will begin scanning the files in your Dropbox folder. If all of these files are the same as the files in your account online, scanning will finish. However if, in the middle of this process, a file has changed in your account (for example, someone else has updated a file in a shared folder), Dropbox will generate a conflicted copy so that both versions of the file are preserved.

Learn more

Install dropbox on new computer
  • By default, Dropbox will try to download all of the folders in your account. If there are folders you don't want taking up space on your computer, you can use selective sync to store them only in the cloud. However, you may need to wait until Dropbox has finished its initial sync of your files before the selective sync option becomes available.
  • If you're going to copy files manually, you may want to temporarily leave shared folders. You can then copy your non-shared files to the Dropbox folder, and then re-add the shared folders and let them download to your computer. This will prevent Dropbox from generating conflicted copies of files if other people have changed them, as described above.