Dropbox Camera Upload Stopped Working

dropbox_camera_uploadWell, if you used and relied on Dropbox to backup any new photos from your iPhone when you plugged the device into your Windows 7 or Windows 8 (can’t confirm if they killed XP too) machine — like I do every night to charge the device overnight at the end of the workday, and then all of a sudden found one day that the feature stopped working and worse yet, that any WPD (Windows Portable Device, such as any camera in PTP mode) device was no longer being enumerated into Windows’ AutoPlay list or if it was already there, processing the AutoPlay Event Handler commands as you had set them up for the device originally didn’t work, I’ve finally found out why.  So, in Windows 7 or Windows 8, if your AutoPlay and AutoPlay Event Handler commands that go along with them all of a sudden stopped working, read on…

It only took me 5 days, mostly thinking about what happened and what I did on June 13th, the last day a picture uploaded to Dropbox via their Camera Upload service… This article mainly relates to Dropbox’s Camera Upload feature and AutoPlay Event Handler/AutoPlay.  There are plenty of other issues that could exist with your AutoPlay, but this article pertains to getting this service to work once again — along with getting any WPD device to AutoPlay and enumerate in Windows again, which, is… ummm… kind of important!

I absolutely scoured the Internet for information on AutoPlay Event Handler and AutoPlay, checked the registry to ensure things were set up correctly, for both device enumeration and for for AutoPlay handlers.  I couldn’t find anything wrong.  ‘NoDriveTypeAutoRun’ was set to 145 (decimal), so that was right, the handlers looked right in regards to Dropbox, all the iDevices I had ever plugged into the machine were there in the registry and listed in the AutoPlay dialog, along with their appropriate actions.  So, I took to testing them as well, in addition to my iPhone.  And, what did I find?  Well, none of them worked with AutoPlay either, whether it was with Dropbox or some other action.  Next test… Both my Nikon D70 and D200, when put into PTP mode, making it a WPD device at that point (no drive letter or volume to work with), weren’t recognized and didn’t enumerate into the AutoPlay device list either.  Explorer could see all of the devices.  All of the iDevices worked with iTunes.  It just made no sense! Yes, yes, I had plugged them in, uninstalled their device drivers, let them reinstall them to see if that would correct the issue.  Nope.  Basically, anything written on the subject, I attempted to play-around with to see if I could correct the problem.  There was no way I was going to revert back to a backup that was almost 2 months old.  Yeah, it took me a while to realize the issue was there.  I normally just drop the iPhone on the charger and leave the home office, so I didn’t notice it.

Windows 7 (x64) is what I use, but I’m sure this applies to Windows 8 and most likely XP as well, whether it be 32-bit or 64-bit.  Let me tell you, having Windows fail to recognize and enumerate WPD’s into the AutoPlay list, where they can be assigned something to an AutoPlay Event Handler, is a HUGE problem.  HUGE!  I know a lot of people don’t like to AutoPlay or AutoRun or “auto” anything, but this feature was ensuring that every photo I ever took with my iPhone was being backed-up to the cloud every night.  Because I didn’t do this manually, well, it was important to have working!  And, I didn’t want to have to do it myself from the Dropbox app on the phone itself.   That is not an automatic option!

So, by now, I’ve done my rambling and ranting… The fix (and it was so easy, I could punch myself in the face):

Uninstall and NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER use Google’s Picasa again!  I don’t care if you have to pay for Adobe’s Lightroom!  Do it!

Turns out that, and yes, I had to try and remember this, I updated Picasa using Ninite (http://ninite.com/) because I had read a Lifehacker article on it.  Nice way to update many apps at once!  Anyway, I went through their list again and thought about what would install an AutoPlay handler.  One of the first I saw and thought of was Picasa from my earlier tooling around in the registry.  Turns out that Picasa (and I didn’t research how but I think it’s via a COM control), registers and takes over WPD AutoPlay completely — or breaks it completely for WPD devices, as no camera worked with AutoPlay and my machine, not even Picasa.  After uninstalling, every iDevice re-enumerated with the system (I had killed them all from the machine manually in the registry while troubleshooting) and proudly displayed their iPad and iPhone icons under ‘Devices’ in the AutoPlay dialog.  Both my Nikons appeared and I was able to assign Lightroom actions for them.  And, lastly, and why this all started, I could assign an AutoPlay Event Handler to my iPhone to ‘Upload to Dropbox using Camera Upload’ or whatever it is!  Not to mention, I can now, with my Nikons, GoPro, iDevices, etc., open Explorer to look at the folders quickly via the AutoPlay dialog.  I forgot how much I missed it.

Hope this might help you out.  I’m done ranting…

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