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Your files safe in the cloud with Dropbox and Boxcryptor

Getting your personal files in the cloud is easy nowadays. Since we all know that accidents happen and others might be watching, getting your files safe in the cloud seems to be quite hard. By using a combination of Dropbox and Boxcryptor you have a user friendly and safe solution. In this blog I'll explain the proces of installing and configuring both tools in Windows.

Install Dropbox

Installing Dropbox is easy enough. Just download the setup and follow the steps on their website.

During this process you'll be asked for an email address and password. For standard usage you don't need to change any preferences.

Dropbox acts as a synchronization tool: Any file you will put in the Dropbox folder will be synched to a backup location in the cloud. All other devices are also synched to the cloud.

download and install dropbox

You can find your Dropbox folder in Windows Explorer under Favorites.

Install Boxcryptor

Download the setup file from the Boxcryptor website and run it. The install process is very straight forward and easy enough. You van use all the standard settings (during installation other third party software will be installed automatically as well).

Configuring Boxcryptor

After installation you will be prompted with the following screen:

configure boxcryptor step 1

You now have two options:

  1. create an online profile. As far as I understand this means that your decryption key and password will be stored in the cloud by Boxcryptor
  2. create a local profile. This means that a local key file will be created and your password will not be stored anywhere

Please read the pros and cons carefully. I didn't feel comfortable having my password stored online so I chose for the local solution. Downside of this option is that you will not be able to access encrypted files by the mobile devices apps. I will continue this blog with the local solution:

  1. click on the option to use Boxcryptor locally (on the bottom of the screen)
  2. click on the Local Account button
  3. check the box that you understand the risk and click on the Create button
  4. now you have to choose a name and location for the key file. I choose to store the key file in my Dropbox folder to make sure I will never loose it.
  5. choose a safe password, check the boxes and click on the Ok button
  6. click on the Ok button after which your key file and account will be created
  7. choose the free version, click the Ok button and click through the tour

After finishing the tour you'll see the following screen:

configure boxcryptor step 2

Enter your password and click on the Ok button. It is safer to leave the checkbox that offers you to remember your password unchecked. This does mean however that you'll have to enter your password every time you start Windows.

After this finishing the proces above a new device (X:) Boxcryptor has been created on My Computer (you can also find Boxcryptor in Favorites). Click on the Boxcryptor folder and you'll find the Dropbox folder located in it. Anything that you have put in your Dropbox folder can be encrypted. The best thing about this solution is that you can selectively encrypt files that you store in Dropbox. By using the Dropbox app you will be able to view any non encrypted file.

Safe a file in the cloud and encrypt it

  1. drag a file in the Dropbox folder
  2. locate the file in the Boxcrypt folder, press right mouse button, choose Boxcryptor and choose Encrypt

 use boxcryptor

After a file (or all files in a folder) has been encrypted they are no longer directly accessible from the Dropbox folder but only from withing the Boxcryptor folder (Boxcryptor decrypts files on-the-fly).

These are the basics of using encryption inside your Dropbox account by using Boxcryptor. There's tons articles, help files and howto's on the internet so I'm sure you'll be able to find more information. Enjoy using this safe combination.

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Jasper de Jong
Utrecht
The Netherlands

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