How to stop Dropbox permanently from autostarting on Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 10, 2014

I run the excellent Autoruns regularly to block programs, services, drivers and whatnot from starting automatically on the system.

While I do take good care of that usually during installation, there are always situations where programs are added to the autostart without me having any control over that process.

While I could run something like WinPatrol to be notified about important system changes, I don't usually for a variety of reasons.

Dropbox has been notorious for adding itself to the autostart and it took me a while to figure out what is going on.

It is easy enough to disable Dropbox in a startup manager or directly in the Windows Registry. You find Dropbox's entry under C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup in the Registry and can either use the Registry Editor or a third-party program to disable or delete it.

What you may notice however is that this is not a permanent fix as Dropbox may be started with the system again at a later point in time.

When exactly? After you ran the software the next time.

The issue here is that Dropbox adds itself to the startup folder again regardless of whether it is already in there disabled or has been deleted before.

The reason for doing so is that it prioritizes the startup setting in the program preferences over those made manually.

That's right; if you delete or disable Dropbox manually on the system and not in the Dropbox preferences, it will be re-added every time you run the Dropbox application on the device.

How to stop Dropbox permanently from autostarting on Windows

disable dropbox autostart

To disable this permanently, do the following:

  1. Start Dropbox if you have not done so already.
  2. Left-click on the program icon in the system tray.
  3. When the window opens, click on the settings icon near the top right corner and there on preferences.
  4. Locate "Start Dropbox on system startup" and remove the checkmark from the box.
  5. Click apply and ok.

When you start Dropbox the next time on the system -- manually as it won't autostart anymore -- you will notice that it won't add itself to the system autostart anymore.

How to stop Dropbox permanently from autostarting on Windows
Article Name
How to stop Dropbox permanently from autostarting on Windows
Find out how to prevent the Dropbox client from adding itself to the autostart of Windows.

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  1. fractanimal said on November 24, 2021 at 1:35 am

    I have unchecked the box in dropbox preferences, removed from startup, disabled in services and registry, and it STILL loads on startup. Talk about a malware of a program. This is absolutely obnoxious. I am DONE. Deleting dropbox and using google drive from now on. Tired of this invasive bullshit on my computer.

  2. Ken said on April 18, 2020 at 2:40 am

    When you restart Windows Explorer in Task Manager (which can be opened by right clicking on the taskbar). This will activate the Start Button and Search.

  3. Ken said on April 18, 2020 at 2:36 am

    How to stop Dropbox stopping Windows Explorer. Dropbox stops Windows Explorer and disables Start Button and the Search.

  4. Les said on January 7, 2020 at 1:12 am

    Thank you I have been searching for an answer to this and you provided it! Well done so clear.

  5. where are my files that were in my dropbox and how do I get them back? said on October 21, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I need help with dropbox files. Where are they and how do I get them back?

  6. S Gray said on June 6, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I *have* unchecked the start on system starrtup box in Dropbox Settings. And yet I have five dropbox processes running in my Task Manager… WTF?

  7. fred said on March 15, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    The above does not work at all. Here is solution……….
    In windows search type msconfig, click services, scroll down to Dropbox Update Service, disable and uncheck, same for DbxSvc which is the culprit. So, they should now say stopped and unchecked, press apply, ok, restart PC.

  8. Anonymous said on March 15, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    That solution does not work!

  9. Vic said on August 5, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I uninstalled Dropbox but now Autoplay does not come up on my computer at all when I plug in USB from phone to computer to transfer pictures nothing happens. Autoplay doesn’t appear at all, it was fine until I downloaded Dropbox on my computer. I am running Windows 7 & my phone is an android Galaxy 5

  10. jlockley said on May 20, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    thank you for this.
    I am in Spain on business with a limited Broadband budget (40gb) for a couple of weeks. This is usually too much, but it was gone in two days, reducing connectivity to a cell phone and pretty much ruining the trip. While we originally thought we’d been hacked, we finally figured out that Drop Box and the benighted and unwanted windows update to 10 had eaten 49 gb in a couple of hours. Lost contracts, contacts..oh, just never mind, but was able to disable windows updates (for the uninitiated, this is effectively impossible on windows 10, but setting system to metered stops it) An extra 5 GB purchased to get me through the trip went in a couple of minutes, and it wa absolutely unclear where..this eplained it. Dropbox snuck back in and ate the emergency rations.
    Please weigh in again on other options for cloud storage. This is unacceptable.

  11. chisao101 said on January 11, 2016 at 2:43 am

    I actually changed that setting (by going into Preferences and unchecking Start Dropbox on system startup) awhile back. Well, today I installed a new graphics card. I restarted and all was good. I went to the manufacturers website to download the latest drivers, installed them, and restarted again. Dropbox started on its own.


    I have now tried everything short of uninstalling dropbox. That is my next step.

  12. Sally190 said on December 26, 2015 at 1:09 am

    My box against “start Dropbox on system startup ” will not uncheck.

    Any ideas , please.

    1. Tom said on January 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      I’m having the same problem, can anyone assist?

  13. Mings said on December 6, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I followed the instructions to stop Dropbox autostarting on Windows 8.1 but then I could not get Dropbox to work as I do not know how to start it manually. The program does not appear in the list of programs! To solve this I had to uninstall and then re-install the program. Please can you tell me how to start it manually?

  14. Scott Seattle said on July 14, 2015 at 3:48 am

    I apologize for the very basic question, but I cannot get to the Dropbox Preferences. When I open Dropbox, I get a windows explorer style window showing the organization of my entire computer’s file structure and the active folders that are inside of Dropbox. There’s no “… settings icon near the top right corner and there on preferences.” All I can do is open up “Properties” showing tabs for “General” “Shortcuts” “Security” etc. Can somebody be more specific how to get to the Preferences? Many thanks.

    1. Scott Seattle said on July 14, 2015 at 3:51 am

      I got the tip I needed. I go to the little icons at the lower right corner, not the program in the start menu. I right click the tiny little icon showing the Dropbox and the check mark and look for the gear icon and click that. Found it, did it. Thank you!

  15. Alex said on November 11, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Is there a need to write an article to say the obvious?

    Dropbox follows the logical, the right way, to control its autostart setting. That is, it allows switching this setting from within its own application settings, so the user does not need to resort to registry hacks, console commands, or 3rd party tools, as is the case with so many others (google, adobe, apple, oracle, HP, etc, just some examples looking at my current autostarted junk).

    1. NK said on September 6, 2017 at 4:53 am

      I have deleted my Dropbox account and yet it pops up on my system tray every time I so much as lock my computer and the start Dropbox on system startup is unticked. Go figure?????

    2. BBB said on November 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm


      I totally agree with you Dropbox seems to be using the correct way for this.
      As you can read above the Adobe way is the wrong way with no user interface to control this and attempt to even bypass the normal boot options.
      Drop box just correct the error between the user input in the program vs the current situation.

      What the article does point out is that the frist place to look, should be the program itself. If it doesn’t have that option you can tray the CCleaner , msconfig or reg hacks.

  16. jasray said on November 11, 2014 at 6:13 am

    No, not true. I saw the title and read through the information. Today, even though preferences are changed in DropBox and it’s nowhere to be found with AutoRuns, CCleaner, Glary, etc., the icon tray popped up–several times. What was I doing differently? For some reason, when I inserted a USB with PortableApps, the icon appeared–pull out USB, check DropBox preferences, insert USB, DropBox appears again. Nope, autoplay is disabled.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 11, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Has this something to do with camera backup?

      1. breppo said on November 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm

        Most likely.

  17. Dan said on November 11, 2014 at 12:13 am

    I hate program that autostart even when you try to disable them from doing so. I use SpiderOak and once in awhile it would autostart even when I already unticked the autostart option. I don’t know why it does so. I prefer to start SpiderOak manually since my Hive folder is on a separate truecrypt-encrypted partition, which I need to mount after booting. If SpiderOak starts when it is unmounted, it will TRASH all of my files!

  18. theMike said on November 11, 2014 at 12:12 am

    dropbox went from a great little useful storage program to a huge invasive piece of crap. i’ve found hubic and copy to be good replacements

  19. Karl Gephart said on November 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Not to mention, Dropbox is a huge resource hog.

  20. dwarf_t0ssr said on November 10, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Spotify Web Helper is another obnoxious always-on process that is re-enabled with every update unless you go into settings and un-tick “allow Spotify to be started from the Internet” or something similar.

  21. beemeup3 said on November 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    The only time I had trouble dealing with an autostarting program that would consistently return after reboots despite toggling off all settings and manually deleting/disabling startup entries was the Adobe Acrobat update module. After a while I realized it was because Adobe installed a system service that would launch the updater automatically. I disabled the service and the updater never came back.

    Typical Adobe overreaching.

  22. Joe said on November 10, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    For those who are not registry wizards or feel uncomfortable tinkering with the registry, you can remove or disable startup programs with either ccleaner or the glary utilities, both of which have been favorably reviewed here.

    1. Rick said on November 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      The issue here is that unless you change the setting with Dropbox itself, it just readds itself, ignoring the fact you disabled startup using any tool or registry fix.

      1. kevin lenihan said on May 27, 2021 at 7:15 pm

        I just used your advice, hopefully this will solve the problem. But I do have to say that dropbox has been opening on startup even though I have disabled it in task manager, AND even though I have not actually used or opened Dropbox in many months. I use google for most of my backup needs, though I have older stuff in dropbox, so I keep the account. So I’m not sure how it always manages to open at start up on its own.

      2. kevin lenihan said on May 30, 2021 at 8:01 pm

        The solution did not work. In fact, dropbox somehow reloaded even though I didn’t reboot. I closed it, rebooted, and once again it loaded. It’s definitely taking on a viral behavior.

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