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Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

Chris Hoffman 22-02-2012

Dropbox is a great service, but its security track record is nothing to be proud of. We’ve previously written about encrypted alternatives to Dropbox Secure Your Files: 3 Encrypted Dropbox Alternatives Dropbox brought cloud-based file synchronization and storage to the masses, but it's been hindered by high-profile security problems. Fortunately, you have another option — an alternative service that secures your files with local encryption and... Read More , but let’s be honest – Dropbox stands out among cloud storage services for its zen simplicity. Much as we’d like encryption, it’s hard to give up Dropbox. BoxCryptor is an encryption solution for anyone who wants encryption but just can’t let Dropbox go.


BoxCryptor runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, so you can access your encrypted data from almost anywhere. You can even use BoxCryptor with other cloud storage services, like Microsoft’s SkyDrive. It’s like encrypting the files yourself The 5 Best Ways To Easily & Quickly Encrypt Files Before Emailing Them [Windows] Earlier this year, I was faced with a situation where I had a writer working for me overseas in China, where we were both certain that all of our email communications were being monitored. I... Read More , but automatic.

Getting BoxCryptor

You can download the free version of BoxCryptor from BoxCryptor’s website.

encrypt dropbox files

BoxCryptor’s free version supports up to 2 GB of files, enough for the 2 GB of storage Dropbox users start with. If you’ve got more Dropbox space, you can’t encrypt every single file without spending money, but why bother? Just encrypt your important files and leave unimportant files unencrypted in the main Dropbox folder.


After installing BoxCryptor, you’ll be prompted to create a new encrypted folder.


encrypt dropbox folder

Use the Browse button to specify a location for the encrypted files. If you’re using Dropbox’s default settings, point BoxCryptor at a directory inside the “C:\Users\[Name]\Dropbox” folder.

encrypt dropbox folder

BoxCryptor creates a new, virtual drive that exposes your encrypted files in unencrypted format. BoxCryptor uses drive Z: by default, but the drive letter is customizable.


encrypt dropbox folder

Creating a password is the most important part of setting up BoxCryptor. BoxCryptor encrypts your files with the password you provide here. BoxCryptor recommends you write this password down and store it in a secure location. If you forget this password, you won’t be able to access your encrypted files. You’ll lose them forever.

how to encrypt dropbox files

BoxCryptor also recommends creating a backup of its configuration file, which is stored in the BoxCryptor directory you specified. You’ll need this backup if the main configuration file is deleted. If you don’t have it, you’ll lose your data forever.


how to encrypt dropbox files


Once you’ve got BoxCryptor set up, using it is simple. You’ll find the BoxCryptor drive in your Computer window.

how to encrypt dropbox files

Copy sensitive files you want to encrypt and store in the cloud into your BoxCryptor drive.


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BoxCryptor takes the files you add to the drive, encrypts them and places the encrypted versions in a folder inside your Dropbox folder.

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Dropbox synchronizes the encrypted files normally — as far as Dropbox knows, there’s nothing special about these files.

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Access your encrypted files on another computer by installing BoxCryptor and selecting the “Open an Existing Folder” option.

Mobile App

The free version of the mobile app has some limitations — for example, you can only read files and can’t go more than two directories deep — but it’s an easy way to access your encrypted Dropbox files on the go.

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BoxCryptor’s mobile app is self-contained; it doesn’t require Dropbox installed on your device. Install BoxCryptor and you’ll be prompted to log into your Dropbox account.

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Once you have, select your encrypted BoxCryptor folder and BoxCryptor will ask you for the password you provided.

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Enter the password and you’ll see the decrypted versions of your encrypted files. If you installed the Dropbox mobile app instead, you’d just see the scrambled, encrypted versions.

encrypt dropbox files


That’s it. BoxCryptor, like Dropbox, embraces simplicity and doesn’t have an interface with lots of options. It’s the perfect counterpart to Dropbox. If you’re a Linux user, you can also use EncFS to encrypt your Dropbox files How To Encrypt Your Dropbox Data With ENCFS [Linux] Dropbox is arguably one of the best online file sync tools around. However, if you've been skimming through the tech news lately, you'll see that Dropbox is having some privacy issues as of late.Therefore, encrypting... Read More . EncFS doesn’t have a 2 GB limit, but BoxCryptor is more user-friendly.

How do you store secure data in the cloud? Do you use a Dropbox competitor? Or do you think we’re all crazy for storing important data on someone else’s servers? Let us know in the comments.

Related topics: Cloud Computing, Dropbox, Encryption, Online Privacy.

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  1. Anonymous
    July 29, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Hi All - is a new service just launched that makes it really, really easy to encrypt and store your data on your cloud drives.
    Unlike boxcryptor, it can be used entirely from the browser (nothing to install) and more importantly, there is no special password to forget that will render your data unrecoverable. Most of us want to have the freedom to forget our password and have the ability to have it reset safely.
    Xooui supports Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon Cloud drive. Basic usage is free -

    (disclaimer - I work for

  2. Matt Lourie
    August 6, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I have used BoxCryptor with dropbox; however, I decided to go with SpiderOak, which has built in personal encryption. This means that only I know the encryption key, same as BoxCryptor.

    The thing I don't like about BoxCryptor is that it encrypts the files on my disk. I don't think that is the right approach, because usually files are read more often than they are written. BoxCryptor has a performance impact on every read (and write) to any file that is encrypted.

    With SpiderOak, the encryption is only done when a file is uploaded and the decryption is only done when the a file is downloaded. That is a much more sensible model.

  3. the rosetta stone
    May 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    It's really a cool and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Aung Htet
    March 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    it is very useful for me, thanks

  5. nxb3942
    March 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Depending on whether you want to use DropBox for consumer or businesses purposes, it may or may not be right for you. For businesses in many regulated industries, DropBox is not compliant. Their website clearly states this:
    If security is really important, using extra encryption probably wont do all you need. Dropbox Enterprise File Transfer from Thru is the secure solution for businesses and enterprises. Their solutions have been working for large businesses for ten years without a single security breach.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      I can't speak to Thru, but this definitely won't add regulatory compliance to Dropbox. As a solution for Dropbox users looking for more security, probably for personal uses? It works.

  6. Prz
    February 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    firstly, to get extra space, please register fom my link XXX it gives you 250MB more fre space and me too.

    • Chris Hoffman
      February 29, 2012 at 3:21 am

      I bet Prz got some referrals while it lasted, but good call on disallowing them in general.

    • Tina
      February 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      How did that slip through? Unfortunately, we do not publish referral links to prevent MakeUseOf from being spammed with them.