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Online-only files won't open

Online-only files won't open

hpivs
New member | Level 2

My setup is: Windows 11 22H2, Dropbox v175.4.5569, no third-party antivirus or firewall

 

I have my DropBox folder shared to a couple of different computers, most of these work fine and have done for years, however I have recently started having problems with my new laptop.

 

The issue is that files that are currently online will not open, this occurs for all types of files, from jpg to pdf to xlsx etc.

 

The behaviour is: In windows file explorer I double click to open a file which is currently not stored locally, Dropbox will begin to sync the file and the sync icon on the file will change to green. However, the file will not open, instead whichever is the default application for that file will open as a background process, subsequent attempts to open a file with that same file extension will only create more background processes. Terminating all background processes for the application will then allow me to open the original file stored in DropBox. The problem will not occur again until I attempt to open a file which is not yet synced locally.

 

If I right click a file and set it to "Make available offline" I can open the file without issue, but this isn't a practical solution.

 

I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling DropBox, completely reformatting the laptop and starting again. Both will cause DropBox to work as normal for a couple of days, but eventually the problem will come back.

 

This problem has me tearing my hair out, what can I do to properly troubleshoot and resolve this?

 

Thanks for your help.

 

9 Replies 9

Nancy
Dropbox Staff

Welcome to our forum, @hpivs! Thanks for posting this here. 

 

Just to clarify, did this start occurring after an update or an OS upgrade perhaps on your new computer? 

 

The rest of the devices, which don’t seem to have the same behavior, do they have the exact same setup as your Windows 11 computer? 

 

Let me know, and we can take it from there.


Nancy
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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hpivs
New member | Level 2

Hi Nancy,

 

The new laptop has exhibited this behaviour since I purchased it a month ago, it has always been running Windows 11.

 

I have another laptop which is Windows 11, the setup is pretty much identical, and it works fine. I also have a Windows 10 computer which is fine.

 

Thanks

Nancy
Dropbox Staff

Thanks the extra info, @hpivs!

 

Can you please try double clicking on a file again, and then waiting a bit more before opening it via a third-party app? 

 

Before opening it, please make sure that your Dropbox app is up to date and give it some more time, even if the file has a green checkmark next to it. I’d like to make sure that it’s been fully downloaded on your computer first.

 

Also, please make sure that your Dropbox app's bandwidth isn't limited by following these steps


Nancy
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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hpivs
New member | Level 2

Hi Nancy,

 

I have checked that bandwidth isn't limited, everything is in order here.

 

So, on the initial double click the third party app is started as a background process, I can see it open in Task Manager. Dropbox then downloads the file, and the tick goes green, yet the file doesn't open, dropbox appears to stop syncing at this point and the file appears to be successfully downloaded.

 

A second double click on the now downloaded file results in it not opening again, instead another background process of the third party app is opened. Further double clicks just result in more background processes.

 

If I terminate all background processes of the third party app and then double click the file again it will open straight away.

 

This whole process is repeatable by attempting to open another file which is currently not synced locally.

 

It is such a strange and annoying problem.

 

Thanks for your help.

Nancy
Dropbox Staff

This is an interesting behavior, indeed. 

 

Can you let me know if your desktop app has already been updated to the latest stable app version

 

If it has, we can log a ticket for you and investigate this internally.


Nancy
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Shezz
New member | Level 2

I have the exact same problem with online only file opening. Also a new computer running Windows 11 but I am not sure that is the problem. I previously had my files all available offline and this is the first time I have done online only. I have noticed that there is a delay in the Dropbox menu item appearing on my right click menu when this happens. I have had to make all my files available offline to make my file operations workable.

Walter
Dropbox Staff

Hi there @Shezz, sorry to hear about this.


Can you please let us know the app's exact status and version as shown in your taskbar at the moment?

 

If you could also send us a screenshot of the error(s) you've been getting when trying to open your online only files on your computer, I'd appreciate it.

 

Any additional information is more than welcome! 


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
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Shezz
New member | Level 2

HI Walter,

 

my version is 182.4.6427. The problem seems to have been partially resolved - whether I was using a different version when I posted, I am not sure.

 

Some files seem to be downloading when I click on them and then opening as there is quite a pause between the two actions.

Some are giving me the original error message I was getting previously - screenshot below. The failed to open message is from my pdf editor.

 

Shezz_0-1694995331257.png

Shezz_1-1694995373226.png

 

 

 

Walter
Dropbox Staff

How large are the files that are giving you this error @Shezz?

 

Do they open normally after making them available offline? 


Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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