Using rclone

rclone is a command-line tool that can connect to Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, sftp servers, and a many other file services.

Connecting to Dropbox

Initial Configuration

You only need to configure rclone for Dropbox once. These instructions assume you’ve logged in to an EML computer. In a terminal window:

eml:~$ rclone config
n) New remote
s) Set configuration password
q) Quit config
n/s/q> n
name> dropbox
Type of storage to configure.
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 7 / Dropbox
   \ "dropbox"
Storage> 7
Dropbox App Client Id - leave blank normally.
Dropbox App Client Secret - leave blank normally.
Remote config
Use auto config?
 * Say Y if not sure
 * Say N if you are working on a remote or headless machine
y) Yes
n) No
y/n> n
For this to work, you will need rclone available on a machine that has a web browser available.
Execute the following on your machine:
    rclone authorize "dropbox"

At this point you would run `rclone authorize dropbox` on a machine with rclone installed and which can display a web browser. For example this could be a second terminal window that you’ve opened on the EML or it could also be your own computer if you have rclone. It will open a web browser where you log into your dropbox account and permit rclone to access files. rclone will then print a long string. Copy that string and pasted it into the first terminal.

result> {"access_token":"abc1234...","token_type":"bearer","expiry":"0001-01-01T00:00:00Z"}
type = dropbox
client_id =
client_secret =
token = {"access_token":"abc1234...","token_type":"bearer","expiry":"0001-01-01T00:00:00Z"}
y) Yes this is OK
e) Edit this remote
d) Delete this remote
y/e/d> y
Current remotes:
Name                 Type
====                 ====
dropbox              dropbox
e) Edit existing remote
n) New remote
d) Delete remote
r) Rename remote
c) Copy remote
s) Set configuration password
q) Quit config
e/n/d/r/c/s/q> q

Using rclone

Test your configuration by listing the files in your Dropbox:

eml:~$ rclone ls dropbox:
... lists your dropbox files...

Sync a file/directory to/from dropbox:

eml:~$ rclone sync dropbox:path-to-file-or-folder ~/place/i/want/to/sync/to/
eml:~$ rclone sync some/dir/on/eml dropbox:

Since rclone sync can drastically change the contents of the destination location, you may want to append the –dry-run option to rclone at first, just to see what it would do before it does it. Then repeat without it to actually make changes.

There are some limitations mentioned on

Note that Dropbox is case insensitive so you can’t have a file called “Hello.doc” and one called “hello.doc”. There are some file names such as thumbs.db which Dropbox can’t store. There is a full list of them in the “Ignored Files” section of this document. Rclone will issue an error message File name disallowed - not uploading if it attempts to upload one of those file names, but the sync won’t fail. If you have more than 10,000 files in a directory then rclone purge dropbox:dir will return the error Failed to purge: There are too many files involved in this operation. As a work-around do an rclone delete dropbox:dir followed by an rclone rmdir dropbox:dir.