I am using a low cost laptop for everyday work (browsing, productivity apps for office work and so forth). The main pro of this type of laptop is the low cost, as I already mentioned, whereas the basic con is speed and hard disk limitation. The solution for the latter cis to add a SD memory card that serves as a permanent external drive.

So I have set up my laptop with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, improving the speed and memory management dramatically and I bought an SD 32GB memory card which I formatted as NTFS in order to be able to plug it both in my laptop that runs Linux and also, if needed, to Windows machines.

One of the top reasons I needed extra space was to be able to sync my Dropbox account with my laptop since I usually need to work on documents when I am away of office i.e. when traveling.

At some point I received an e-mail by Dropbox saying that I had to change my SD card format to EXT4 for Linux, otherwise my Dropbox folder would stop syncing. The e-mail was the following:

Hi Apostolos,

A few months ago, we let you know that the Dropbox desktop system requirements were changing. On at least one of your computers, your Dropbox folder will stop syncing because it’s on a file system or partition that no longer meets the requirements.

How to fix

So your files can start syncing again, choose a new location for your Dropbox folder:

  • Hagnes, Linux 4.13.0-46-generic
    Move Dropbox to an Ext4 drive

How to move Dropbox

Why this changed

Focusing on the most common configurations lets us bring you new features, better performance, and the security that your files are safe and synced in Dropbox.

I fail to understand why, since NTFS is the format of choice for Windows can still be allowed as an option for Linux installations but I’ll leave that for another post.

Below you can find the steps I followed to comply with the new guidelines of Dropbox and along with them, I couple of challenges I faced up doing so.

Step 1. You change the format of you SD card from whatever to EXT4 (and only EXT4)

This is an easy step. All you have to do is:

  1. Back up any files you need from your SD card since the format will erase everything.
  2. Format the SD card to EXT4 using gparted:
    1. Open gparted app (or install it if you don’t already have it).
    2. Select the SD card disc from the dropdown of disks.
    3. Unmount the SD card disc.
    4. Right click on the unmounted drive and select format to EXT4.
    5. Apply the changes.
    6. When the format is done, remove the SD card and plug it again.

Step 2. Open the Dropbox app and set as Dropbox folder the SD card

  1. Click on the Dropbox icon on the menu bar.
  2. Select “Preferences…”.
  3. Choose the tab “Sync”.
  4. Click “Move” to the “Dropbox folder location”.
  5. Choose the path of the newly formatted SD card (you don’t need to create the Dropbox folder).
  6. Click “Apply”.

You’ll see the Dropbox folder appearing automatically in your SD card.

Things that might go sideways

1. You might not have writing rights to your SD cards.

If you find yourself not being able to write things on your SD card after formatting it to EXT4 don’t sweat it! Follow the guidelines on this post and you’ll be all right 🙂

2. Right click on your touchpad is not working

How can the touchpad not working because of the SD card format? You might ask… Not really sure but if you stumble upon this issue, follow the guidelines on this post and your problem will be resolved 🙂

(Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash)