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I’ve now set up two different laptops to dual-boot Windows 10 and different Linux distributions. Here’s how to ensure you maintain one Dropbox folder over both operating systems.

Assuming Windows was there first:

  1. Mount the Windows drive in Linux
  2. Install Dropbox in Linux
  3. Sign in to link to Dropbox
  4. Immediately change Dropbox folder location to the mounted drive (same Dropbox folder as Windows)

Get it right the first time

Dropbox will automatically set up your Dropbox folder when you run it the first time. On Windows it’s typically located in your C:\ or D:\ drive as D:\Dropbox and on Linux, it’ll go into home/Dropbox by default. They key to being able to specify the folder location is to do so the very first time you start Dropbox.

Mount the Windows Drive in Linux

If you started with Windows 10, you’ll need to make sure the disk that contains your Dropbox folder is mounted in Linux so that you can access it.

You can mount the Windows disk in Linux using the terminal with these steps:

1. Find the correct disk partition address

Type sudo fdisk -l. This will return a list of your partitions and information on them. Look at the “Size” and “Type” categories to determine which list item is the Windows disk partition that you wish to mount. Its address will look something like /dev/sda2.

2. Make a directory to mount the drive to

Basically, this is what Linux will use to refer to your Windows drive.
Type sudo mkdir -p /mnt/winD (where winD is whatever you want to call your Windows disk)

3. Mount the disk

The syntax follows the format: [mount command] [file system type] [windows disk address] [target address]
sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sda2 /mnt/winD

4. Mount disk automatically on boot

Edit your /etc/fstab file to mount the disk automatically when you boot Linux.
sudo vi /etc/fstab
Add the mount instruction to the file. The syntax is in the format: [windows disk address] [target address] [file system type] [options] [dump] [pass]
/dev/sda2 /mnt/winD fat32 defaults 0 2

Install Dropbox in Linux

Install Dropbox via package download or using the terminal. The completed installation will produce a GUI sign-in.

Aforementioned GUI

Sign in to link to Dropbox

Input your credentials and wait while Dropbox does its thing. Once you see the “Congratulations!” message, stop! Don’t click the big obvious button, and read on.

Congratulations screen

Immediately change your Dropbox folder location to the mounted drive

Click on “Advanced Settings” and change “Dropbox location” to the Dropbox folder on your mounted drive. This should be the same folder as in your Windows setup. Ok, now you can click the big obvious “Open my Dropbox folder” button. You’re done!

Advanced settings screen

I didn’t read your article before clicking the big obvious button and now I have two folders.

Uninstall Dropbox on Linux, making sure you get all the bits at /usr/bin/dropbox. Install Dropbox again and this time, read first! :)


I hope you found this helpful! If you have questions or want to bug me about using jpgs for screenshots, you can find me on Twitter @hivickylai. :)

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