Windows 1809 can access my Dropbox without being installed. wtf?

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I’ll give you the question up front and then you can check out the details if it peaks your interest. “Any idea how my PC is able to access pictures in my Dropbox folders without the software installed?”

I built a new home system yesterday and was going through the usual post-install setup. After a full scratch install from an 1809 usb key (from the very first release day) installed Dashlane, Firefox, Discord, Battle.net, and signed into the Microsoft store. I have paid for Paint.net and wanted to use it to crop a picture I downloaded for my account image. This went normally. Shortly after I noticed my desktop had changed to one of my normal background images.

At first I didn’t give it much thought, I build a lot of systems and I usually don’t pay a lot of attention until I finish the basic setup which included installing my work and personal Dropbox. Like many, I have my personal folders relocated into Dropbox, my business one in this case. A few folder levels down in Pictures I have a folder named Desktop Backgrounds that is where the slideshow of images comes from. I have not installed Dropbox at all, not even visiting the Dropbox website.

If I open the ‘personalize’ options the ‘choose an album’ shows as ‘desktopbackground’ but when I click on the browse button it opens to my Pictures folder which is empty except for the earlier mentioned image I downloaded. Since raising this machine the only accounts I have signed into are my Dashlane, my outlook.com account as my Firefox sign-in, Discord app install, Battle,net install and then finally the Microsoft Store. I see my hotmail.com account was linked to my local computer account when I used it to sign into the store. None of these things have any relationship to my Dropbox that I’m aware of. The Dropbox app does show up in my store library since I installed it years ago, immediately found it useless and never used it again.

I very strongly follow what I think Paul has described as the ‘One thing for one thing’ in picking my software. I use Dropbox over OneDrive partially because it doesn’t have tie ins with anything other than phone for camera uploads and those go into my personal Dropbox while the background images are in my business account. I work in IT and put a lot of effort into keeping work and personal account from mingling so this is a little disturbing. So again, any idea how my PC is able to access the pictures in my Dropbox folders without the software installed? Thanks!

-Edit, on thinking about this further I think what has happened is my Microsoft account as part of it’s everything / everywhere must have made a copy of my background images so they could be displayed on other PCs I log into with my Microsoft account where a local copy of the images would not be present. This seems even worse than have access to my Dropbox account, They copied my images to the cloud somewhere I have no access or control over? I checked my Onedrive for my MS account and did not see the images there.

-Ralph

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One response to “Windows 1809 can access my Dropbox without being installed. wtf?”

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    Darekmeridian

    Windows does sync some of your setting to your Microsoft Account they are pretty clear about this. If you go to the Settings -> Accounts-> Sync Settings You can turn off everything or on some things.


    I am pretty sure the reason why these things are kept in a "black box" so none can access them, has to do with, if your Microsoft Account somehow got hacked, and you were syncing then it would be easier for blackhat hackers to sync all kinds of goodies to every system you have synced. Also it would allow them to sync down your passwords, billing/credit card info etc. All of which is tied to your Microsoft account.


    So it's probably not a good idea for this stuff to not be easily accessible in the clear.


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