How to Download Files From Dropbox Without Logging In
By David Nield
If you're not logged into Dropbox, your files are unavailable to you in order to protect your account from unauthorized access. However, if you know you're going to be working on another computer and want to download a specific file or folder from Dropbox, you can set up a URL to access these files without logging in. Anyone with the specific URL can gain access to the files you include, so be sure to keep it secret.
Log in to the Dropbox website from your main computer, and navigate to the file or folder you want to be able to access.
Right-click on the file or folder in question, and choose "Share link" from the drop-down menu that appears.
Enter your own email address in the top field, and then choose "Send" to send yourself a link to the file or folder specified. Alternatively, choose "Get link" to copy the link to the clipboard. (From there, it can be pasted into a document or text file.)
Click on the URL you obtained in the previous step on another computer, and you can download the chosen files and folders through a Web browser without logging into Dropbox. You will not be able to edit the files within Dropbox or upload new files to it, although you can edit them on the local system.
How you choose to transfer the URL from your main computer to another one is up to you. You can include it in an email to yourself or save it in a text file on a USB drive, for example.
Links are shared on a one-by-one basis within Dropbox. Someone with the URL you've created can only download the specified files and cannot gain access to the rest of your Dropbox folders or make changes to the files within your Dropbox.
Dropbox's share links are almost impossible to guess or hack, so your files are protected unless someone else copies the URL you've created. However, if you want to remove the link completely, sign in to Dropbox and click "Links." Click the cross icon next to the link you'd like to remove to erase it.
If you want to keep your Dropbox files private, do not give anyone else the URL, as this will also give them access to the same file or folder.
An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.