Dropbox ended support for Windows XP

You can't use Dropbox on Windows XP

Dropbox

Update: Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft. As a result, many programs and services have also discontinued support for the operating system. This information is being retained by Lifewire for archive purposes only. 

Bad news Windows XP fans. If you haven't already heard, Dropbox is ending support for Windows XP, and the two-stage process completed in 2016. On that date, the XP-compatible Dropbox for Windows program was no longer available for download.

Other versions of Windows are still able to download Dropbox including Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 10.

XP users, however, won't be able to download and install Dropbox. Considering there aren't that many people looking to do fresh installs of Dropbox on XP these days this probably isn't a big deal.

The company also prevented XP users from creating new accounts using the program, or from signing in to Dropbox for Windows XP with an existing account. In other words, even if you could download Dropbox from the company or a third-party site like FileHippo it wouldn't do you any good.

What about my files?

While Dropbox on XP will cease to work, your account won't be canceled nor will any of your files disappear. You'll still be able to access them via Dropbox.com or by using the Dropbox app on a smartphone, tablet, or on a PC running Windows Vista or higher.

If you want to run Dropbox on your PC you'll have to upgrade your operating system to something Dropbox supports.

At this writing that includes Windows Vista and up, Ubuntu Linux 10.04 or higher, and Fedora Linux 19 or higher. Dropbox also supports Mac OS X, but you cannot install Apple's operating system on a Windows PC.

Why is this happening?

There are really three reasons for Dropbox giving up on Windows XP. The first is that Microsoft no longer supports XP.

Any existing security holes in XP are not patched--and so far newly discovered security weaknesses in XP haven't been fixed.

The second reason Dropbox wants to give up on XP is that supporting an older operating system prevents the company from more easily releasing new features.

Windows XP was first released on October 25, 2001. That is ancient in computing terms. Just think about XP's age for a second. When XP was first released the iPhone was about six years away, Google was a new website, and Hotmail was the most popular free email service. Windows XP is simply from a different era of computing.

Not only would XP make it hard for Dropbox back to release new features, but issues of security and general efficiency would also make support for XP unrealistic. 

Of course, development of new features and lack of support for Microsoft would count for nothing if Windows XP was still wildly popular. That is not the case, however.

XP accounted for about 28 percent of desktop users worldwide at the time Microsoft ended support for the operating system.  

What can I do?

As I mentioned earlier, you have a few choices for holding on to Dropbox. If you must stick with Windows XP then you will have to upload and download files by visiting Dropbox.com in your web browser. There is no other option unless a third-party developer comes along with a replacement.

Your other choice is to upgrade to a newer version of Windows. Unless you've got some Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation discs sitting around the house, however, that means you'll have to upgrade to Windows 10.

The system requirements for Windows 10 aren't that daunting. They include a processor of 1GHz or faster, 1 GB of RAM for the 32-bit version or 2GB for the 64-bit version, 16GB hard drive space for the 32-bit OS, or 20GB for Windows 10 64-bit. On top of that you need a graphics card capable of DirectX 9 and a minimum display resolution of 800-by-600. If you are going with the 64-bit version your processor will also need to support some technical features that you can read about here

Despite the modest system requirements the reality is most Windows XP users are better off buying a new PC. Using Windows 10 on a PC with minimum specifications would be pretty slow and likely a frustrating experience.

Nevertheless, if you want to see if your PC meets Windows 10's system requirements, click Start and then right-click on My Computer. Then in the context menu that opens select Properties. A new window will open telling you how much RAM you have and what your processor is.

If you need to know how much space your hard drive has just go to Start > My Computer. In the window that opens hover over your hard drive (listed under "Hard Disk Drives") to see the total amount of space you have available.

Just remember that if your PC meets all the requirements for Windows 10, which honestly it probably won't, then you'll have to back-up all your important personal files to an external hard drive before you install the new operating system on your PC.

If Windows 10 won't run on your PC or you just can't get a new PC right now, another alternative is to install a Linux-based operating system. Linux is an alternative OS to Windows that some people use on older machines to give them new life once their version of Windows has run its course.

However, I wouldn't recommend doing this alone unless you're already comfortable installing Windows without assistance. To use Dropbox on a Linux machine your best choice is to install Ubuntu Linux or one of its derivatives such as Xubuntu. For more information on installing Linux on an old Windows machine check out About's tutorial on installing Xubuntu.