Backup Act! CRM Data to the Cloud with @Dropbox as a Service

Dropbox-Cloud-Storage-ServiceA couple of years ago, in an article called Taking your ACT! on Holiday, I discussed the use of Dropbox to help with off-site backups. One of the issues with this is that Dropbox only uploads the files when you’re logged into the system and that means it’s not a great option for backing up the database on your server.

A little research and some testing later, and I have the solution for you –

Run Dropbox as a Windows service

What this means is that, when Windows is running, Dropbox will also be running without you needing to be logged in to the server. The benefit of this is that Dropbox will be able to keep uploading backups created by the Act! Scheduler to the cloud.

So, how do we go about this? Well, we need to install Dropbox and set it up as a service.

Setting up

  1. Log into your Windows Server as a local administrator
  2. Download the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit, which you can download from: 
    Note: There isn’t a later version of the Resource Kit. Don’t worry about that if on 2008
    You just need the files INSTSRV.EXE and SRVANY.EXE from this kit
  3. Install the Server Resource Kit or just copy the two files (INSTSRV and SRVANY) to:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools
    Note: You only need the two files mentioned.
    They can be in any folder – I’ve used the location from the default install. If you change the location, you’ll need to adjust those paths in a few spots.
  4. Download Dropbox from: 

Install and setup Dropbox

  1. Install Dropbox as per normal
  2. Select a folder for Dropbox to use – I prefer not to use the user folder for this, so create C:\Dropbox or add a Dropbox folder to your Data folder on the local system.
    You’ll set the Act! Scheduler to save the backups into this folder (or a sub-folder)

  3. Open the Dropbox Preferences, by clicking on the icon in the SysTray, and turn off
    • Show desktop notifications
    • Start Dropbox on system startup

    Dropbox Prefs
  4. Exit Dropbox from the SysTray


Setting up the Service

  1. There are two options here, depending on which Operating System you’re using:
    • If Windows 2003 or 2008,
      Open a command prompt, change directory to
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit\
      and type:
      instsrv Dropbox "c:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe"
      If it worked, you should get: The service was successfully added! .
    • If Windows 2008 R2, open an elevated command prompt (Run As Administrator) and type:
      sc create Dropbox binPath= "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit\srvany.exe" DisplayName= "Dropbox Service"
      If all ok, you’ll get: [SC] CreateService SUCCESS.
  2. Next open the Services applet – Start > Run > services.msc
  3. Scroll to the Dropbox item in the list. Right-click and select Properties
  4. Switch to the “Log On” tab
  5. Click “This account”, and enter an Admin account with Full Access to the Dropbox folder. Set the appropriate password for that account.
  6. Click Apply
  7. Switch back to the “General” tab
  8. Change “Startup type” to Automatic
  9. Click Apply and OK
  10. If this is the first time you have done this procedure for the administrator user, you may get an notification saying that the “Administrator user has been granted log on as service rights”.
  11. Next is to set up some registry settings for the service. Open the registry editor
    Start > Run > regedit
  12. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dropbox
  13. Create a new key “Parameters”
  14. Add a new string value “Application”, (type REG_SZ). Set the value to the path to the dropbox.exe binary.
    Find the location by right clicking the Dropbox icon on the desktop. Select Properties and copy the Target.
  15. Close the Registry Editor
  16. Start the service either from Services.msc or by:
    Run > Net start Dropbox
  17. If you check your Task Manager, you will find both Dropbox and srvany running
    Files saved by you or the Act! Scheduler to this folder should be automatically uploaded.

Important Notes and References

Please post in the comments if you have any questions.


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