Category Archives: Windows Hacks

Setup Dropbox to sync on a schedule

click here for the Mac version

Currently I am living in a part of rural Virginia, where the only option for internet is ViaSat internet satellite.  The service has its ups and downs, but the worst part are the data caps, and they are cell phone low.  In fact the highest plan I can buy is 25GB of data transfer and that is about $140 per month.

One thing that I really miss is the ability to have my Dropbox synced at all times.  The data transfers can be high if I am putting videos and photos into my Dropbox.  Dropbox’s application currently allows you to throttle the bandwidth, but it’s either on or off…

ViaSat does offer something nice…  every morning from Midnight to 5AM they shut off the meters allowing unlimited usage.  I decided to leverage this and make Dropbox sync only during this free window.

Doing this boils down to three things.

1.  Find the Windows Task Scheduler.
2.  Schedule a daily task to START Dropbox.exe at 12AM.
3.  Schedule a daily task to STOP Dropbox.exe at 5AM.

1. Find the Windows Task Scheduler

Click into Administrative tools in the control panel

1.1 Click into Administrative tools in the control panel

Here it is. The elusive task scheduler (well not really... there are a bunch of ways to find it.)

1.2 Here it is. The elusive task scheduler (well not really… there are a bunch of ways to find it.)

 

2. Schedule a daily task to START Dropbox.exe at 12AM.

2.1 Click Create task to ummm, create a new schedule task.

2.1 Click Create task to ummm, create a new schedule task.

1. Name the Task. 2. Set to run whether the user is logged on or not.

2.2. Name the Task.
2.3  Set to run whether the user is logged on or not.

1. Click button to create a new trigger 2. Set New trigger Settings to "Daily" with a start time of 12:00AM since I want it to trigger on every morning at Midnight.

2.4  Click button to create a new trigger
2.5  Set New trigger Settings to “Daily” with a start time of 12:00 AM since I want it to trigger on every morning at Midnight.

1. Click button to create a new Action. 2. Browse to the program to launch (in this case for me its Dropbox.exe)

2.6  Click button to create a new Action.
2.7  Browse to the program to launch (in this case for me its Dropbox.exe)

3. Schedule a daily task to STOP Dropbox.exe at 5AM.

Since the scheduler only “Starts” programs, this requires us to write a tiny batch file that when started will kill Dropbox.exe.

Place the following

TASKKILL /F /IM "Dropbox.exe"

into a file named whatever your want .bat, in my case I called it ‘stopdropbox.bat’

Simple batch file to kill the Dropbox.exe process.

Simple batch file to kill the Dropbox.exe process.

Now lets just make another task schedule to Stop Dropbox.

Stop Drop Box Scheduled Task General Tab

Just like above, name this something and set it to run even when the user isn’t logged in.

Stop Drop Box Scheduled Task TriggerTab

Same as above except we are setting the trigger for 5AM, which for me is the end of the “FreeTime” window.

Stop Drop Box Scheduled Task ActionTab

As above, except here we are pointing to our little batch file that will kill the Dropbox.exe process.

Both Schedules set

Ahhh. Both tasks scheduled.

I hope this helps somebody out there.  If you wish Dropbox had some custom scheduling options built into their sync engine, or just appreciate the kludge I had to endure, please comment below.