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Endless "DropboxFileProvider is downloading a file" windows forced shutdown, and other problems

Endless "DropboxFileProvider is downloading a file" windows forced shutdown, and other problems

Explorer | Level 3

(MacBook Air M1, Dropbox v175.4.5569)

In the past month I ran into an issue with Dropbox syncing infinitely. In an attempt to fix this, I disconnected and reconnected my device, which did not help, and then updated to the new version (v175.4.5569), which did not help. At some point I also enabled some online-only files due to a prompt from Dropbox that I was running out of space (this was a massive mistake). Any and all of these steps introduced a number of additional problems which have made themselves more and more apparent over time. These include:

- Dropbox is still infinitely syncing the entire time (saying just "Syncing..." but not listing any files and appearing to be up to date otherwise).

- I used to have Dropbox Backup set up but it will not reenable because all folders are "not in their original locations". This is likely because they are all in the hidden folder "Mac" in the Dropbox folder that seems to be segregated from my hard disk. Only aliases are left in their original locations in the "[name]'s Macbook Air" folder. Despite this hypothesis, it really is hard for me to tell for sure what the source of the problem is. 

- It seems touch and go whether I will even be able to open or move a file at times - the download process does not always start, even for tiny files, and for some lengths of time some basic features of Finder have been rendered unusable as a result. 

- Just tonight I was working with some recently-downloaded large folders of data (~4GB with subfolders and probably ~5000+ data files) for work and they would not open in Python and I realized some were not synced. Some combination of clicking to open a folder and selecting "Make available offline" caused a cascade of thousands of "DropboxFileProvider is downloading a file from com.getdropbox.dropbox. The file won't open until the download completes. Stop Downloading/Continue Waiting" windows to continue to open constantly. Of course, each new window interrupted everything and appeared at the top level of all windows so I was unable to interact or quit any apps and was required to use the Touch ID button to force a shutdown (relaunching Finder did not solve the problem). 

- I am probably forgetting other issues that have come up, but I just need to get this post out. 

- Given all these issues, I am no longer convinced Dropbox will work for me on a basic level and I would like to transfer my files to somewhere else, uninstall it from my computer as thoroughly as possible, and seek a refund for the extra storage space I purchased which I have been unable to use due to these issues. However, I am strongly concerned that Dropbox has linked itself so deeply and insidiously to everything that extracting it is now beyond my pay grade as someone who is quite familiar with computers but not by any means a professional.

Advice on any of these fronts would be appreciated. 


Also: In searching through the support options, I didn't see a way to speak to someone on the phone. I don't envy spending hours describing the state of my screen and files in a chat, so I was also wondering if there is some way to have a call or more comprehensive form of help than a chat. 


In retrospect I feel silly to have gotten into this situation, but given the size of Dropbox as a company I did not expect they would market and ship features that cause this level of problem when as best I can tell a series of normal steps a typical consumer might take led to this situation.


Thank you for reading and thanks in advance for any advice. 

1 Reply 1

Dropbox Staff

Hey there @MyrddinEmrys, thanks for the elaborate report.


Following a migration to the new Dropbox for macOS on File Provider, your files need to be re-synced. Depending on the amount of files you have in your Dropbox, this may take some time to complete. 


That said, note that there are some things you can check to ensure that the migration and the re-sync is still progressing and not stuck.

1. Click the Dropbox icon in the menu bar at the top of your screen.
2. Take note of the time and the number of files that are currently syncing—this will be displayed at the bottom of the window that appears.

3. Wait a while then repeat step 2. If the number of files that are syncing has reduced, then it may be worth waiting a little longer to see if the syncing completes.

If the number of files has not reduced it might be worth checking out the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article . Note that we do not recommend re-installing the application if the migration is still in progress as this might cause more problems. 


For more information about the expected changes with the new desktop app for Mac OS, you can have a look here.


As for your support options, they depend on the plan you're on at the moment and phone support is only available to Dropbox for Business users at this time. 


In any case, please let me know of any updates and we'll take it from there. 

Community Moderator @ Dropbox

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