Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

What would you like to do?
Move Dropbox to a sparse file
# Location of the image which will contain the new ext4 partition
# Current location of my Dropbox folder
# Where we will copy the folder to. If you have little space, you could make this
# a folder on a USB drive
# What size is the Dropbox image file going to be. It makes sense to set this
# to whatever the capacity of your Dropbox account is, or a little more.
# Create a 'sparse' file which will start out small and grow to the maximum
# size defined above. So we don't eat all that space immediately.
dd if=/dev/zero of="$DROPBOXFILE" bs=1 count=0 seek="$DROPBOXSIZE"
# Format it ext4, because Dropbox Inc. says so
sudo mkfs.ext4 "$DROPBOXFILE"
# Move the current Dropbox folder to the backup location
# Make a new Dropbox folder to replace the old one. This will be the mount point
# under which the sparse file will be mounted
# Make sure the mount point can't be written to if for some reason the partition
# doesn't get mounted. We don't want dropbox to see an empty folder and think 'yay, let's delete
# all his files because this folder is empty, that must be what they want'
sudo chattr +i "$DROPBOXHOME"
# Mount the sparse file at the dropbox mount point
sudo mount -o loop "$DROPBOXFILE" "$DROPBOXHOME"
# Copy the files from the existing dropbox folder to the new one, which will put them
# inside the sparse file. You should see the file grow as this runs.
# Create a line in our /etc/fstab so this gets mounted on every boot up
echo "$DROPBOXFILE" "$DROPBOXHOME" ext4 loop,defaults,rw,relatime,exec,user_xattr 0 0 | sudo tee -a /etc/fstab
# Let's unmount it so we can make sure the above line worked
sudo umount "$DROPBOXHOME"
# This will mount as per the fstab
sudo mount -a
# Set ownership and permissions on the new folder so Dropbox has access
sudo chown $(id -un) "$DROPBOXHOME"
sudo chgrp $(id -gn) "$DROPBOXHOME"

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

mdebusk commented Dec 31, 2018

The disk image doesn't mount at boot on my Ubuntu 18.04.01 system. Instead, the boot fails with a bad fstab.
I can mount it after boot finishes and everything works wonderfully.
The line in fstab is exactly this:
/home/michael/.dropbox.img /home/michael/Dropbox ext4 loop,defaults,rw,relatime,exec,user_xattr 0 0
Any idea what I'm doing wrong?

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment
You can’t perform that action at this time.