Dropbox is a service that I’ve recommended before which is useful for syncing files from your desktop to the cloud (free, up to 2GB of storage) and access to your files wherever you are could easily become something you start taking for granted. Dropbox has official apps for Android and iPhone so you can synchronize files to your smartphone. There’s also the web interface that can allow you to download and upload files manually. Despite these options, you might still wish you had your desktop file synchronization with you on the go. For that, a Dropbox Portable app is a perfect solution to have on your USB drive.
There have been a few options for portable Dropbox apps in recent years but all of them that I have found have been buggy and abandoned as time and updates to Dropbox came out. Fortunately, there is a current portable Dropbox app that works well and seems to be supported. DropboxPortableAHK (named so because it uses AutoHotKey) is available from DropPortable.ho.am.
Weighing in at just under half a megabyte, you download the zip file and extract its readme and executable. If you have a lot of data saved to your Dropbox, it might be faster to run the DropboxPortableAHK.exe on your hard drive as the instructions recommend. I copied the executable to my USB drive and ran it from there. Upon launching, it will prompt to download the Dropbox setup file and then run it. Once the Dropbox setup files are downloaded, DropboxPortableAHK will run a configuration window. You can configure it as you want and then DropboxPortableAHK will take it from there.
After you hit OK, it will run through the normal Dropbox setup where you can state if you already have an account or not. Upon completing the setup, DropboxPortableAHK will then take care of copying the dropbox files to your portable drive and should tell you the setup was a success and your Dropbox folder will then start syncing. Dropbox’s selective syncing will probably come in very handy if you have a lot of data in Dropbox or not a whole lot of room on your USB drive.
To update the files on your USB drive or copy those files to the cloud, you just run the DropboxPortableAHK.exe on the root of your drive. During the configuration process, you could also have it create an autorun.inf file so DropboxPortableAHK runs when you plug the drive in (and autoplay is still enabled). Unfortunately, the portable Dropbox doesn’t seem to be the solution when a network is blocking the Dropbox website. Where it does work, however, you’ll be able to synchronize your files and enjoy the conveniences of Dropbox. To eject the drive, you’ll need to exit Dropbox from the system tray and then you should be able to eject it safely.
(Unfortunately, you might have to worry about Dropbox handing your files over to the government with a recent change to their Terms of Service.)