How many users does Dropbox have

Dropbox hit the 3-device limit

Peter Stelzel-Morawietz

Free Dropbox accounts can only be used on three devices. Whoever wants to live without this restriction should pay. But with the clever combination of two tools, you can continue to access your cloud data from anywhere and from all devices.

EnlargeThis is how you can use Dropbox without restrictions.
© Photo: © markus dehlzeit - AdobeStock

The restriction was done in silence. Because although over 500 million people worldwide use Dropbox, initially hardly anyone noticed that the cloud storage suddenly limited the free basic accounts to only three devices. Most users did not notice anything at first because the limit did not apply to computers, smartphones, tablets, network hard drives and other devices that were already registered.

On the other hand, anyone who - be it accidentally - temporarily deregistered one of their multiple devices or deleted the app, saw the following completely unexpected notice: “Your subscription supports up to 3 devices. You are trying to link more devices than your subscription allows. With Dropbox Plus you can link more devices… ”. This plus version now costs around 120 euros for a whole year, and almost 144 euros if paid monthly.

In addition to the paid upgrade, you can unlink one of the connected devices and then add a new one. However, this only helps in individual cases because it counteracts the previous “effortless principle” from Dropbox. But with the right tricks, you can continue to use your cloud storage on four or more devices.

Tip:Almost 20 GB of Dropbox storage for free - that's how it works

Constant logging out and logging in makes the cloud cumbersome

EnlargeDropbox limits the free basic account to three devices.

This is how Dropbox imagines the tedious logging out and logging in when three devices are already linked to your basic account and you want to add another: Log in to www.dropbox.com with your log-in data, click on in the top right corner the gray circle or your profile picture and follow the "Settings". In the next window switch to the middle tab "Security" and scroll down to the list under "Devices". The list sometimes shows somewhat cryptic names, device locations, and recent Dropbox activity.

If you want to unlink the cloud from one of the devices listed, press the cross button to the right of it, followed by the “Unlink” button. The device in question then logs out and is only synchronized with the Dropbox content in the cloud after logging in again. The contents of the local Dropbox folder can still be used, but they are no longer synchronized.

Use four or more devices with the free basic account

EnlargeIn order to be able to use more devices, an existing one must first be removed.

As soon as you install the Dropbox application on your computer and log into it with your account data, the computer is considered "linked" and counts as one of three devices that are now allowed for free use - actually logical. On the other hand, it is less logical that the counter does not become active if you log in directly to the browser at www.dropbox.com.

You also have access to all content in the cloud via the website, but not nearly as conveniently. Firstly, there is no convenient operation via the file manager. Second, the data is really only in the cloud at first and therefore has to be downloaded before it can be used. The browser does not offer automatic synchronization with the local data carrier.

This disregard of devices that are registered in the cloud, but on which the original Dropbox app does not run, can also be used with WebDAV tools. The abbreviation stands for the network protocol "Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning", which provides data via the Internet.

Numerous WebDAV clients such as CarotDAV, however, suffer, as with the use of the browser, from the fact that they allow cloud access, but cannot save the data locally. To open or edit, you therefore always need a working internet connection and you have to save the files manually first.

See also:Clever tips for Dropbox, Google Drive & Co.

The usual Dropbox convenience with Raidrive and Puresync

EnlargeConfiguring Dropbox access with Raidrive is extremely easy.

Raidrive offers much more convenience in combination with the Puresync synchronization program. Raidrive provides Dropbox & Co. as Windows drives including letters. This in turn can be used to synchronize and thus save the cloud content on the local data carrier. In other words, exactly what the manufacturer's own software does - just without adding the computer to the 3-point contingent of the basic account.

That's how it's done: Install Raidrive with all default settings, and after the first program start click on the gear symbol in the upper right corner of the user interface. Change the language under “Language” to “German”. Now click on “+ Add” at the top, switch to the “Cloud” tab, mark “Dropbox” (not “Dropbox Business”), specify a free drive letter and confirm with “OK”. You will then be redirected to the Dropbox website, where you log in with the log-in data of your cloud account and, in the next step, give Raidrive permission to access your Dropbox via "Allow". Finished. The new drive then shows all the folders and files in the cloud in Windows - even with the basic account on more than three PCs.

You will notice immediately that the new Windows drive will first access the Internet if you interrupt the online connection, even for a short time. That's why you now synchronize the drive with a local folder in the same way as the Dropbox app. To do this, install Puresync from the booklet DVD, start the tool and click on "New synchronization". On the left, select the Windows drive that you created earlier and that leads to Dropbox. Make sure that the option "Synchronize subfolders" is active. On the right in the Explorer window you define a folder on the computer hard drive, which you can name for example as “Dropbox local”. Confirm with “Next”, give the synchronization task a name such as “Dropbox” and click on “Perform comparison” at the bottom.

EnlargeThe local data synchronization between Dropbox and a folder on the local PC hard drive with Puresync can be set up quickly.

Depending on the amount of data and the bandwidth of your Internet connection, the first data synchronization may take some time; with a 16-Mbit DSL line, it is just under ten minutes per GByte transferred. Automate this task so that you do not always have to press the F8 key to synchronize with Puresync in the future. To do this, right-click the Dropbox job on the program interface and select "Settings" in the context menu. In the “Auto-Sync” list item, activate “According to schedule -› Define schedule ”and set the desired range after“ All ”: for example“ 5 minutes ”. Three further adjustments are also important in the "Properties" of the synchronization job: Under Deletions, activate the two options "Delete files in folder 2 ..." and "Delete files in folder 1 ...", in "Conflicts" the option "Use newer file" and under “Folders” the option “Delete empty folders”. Finally, confirm everything with "OK" and save the changes when you close the program. The combination of both tools synchronizes your Dropbox content fully automatically.

Network hard drive with its own cloud