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online-only not sticking / grey x / desktop client activity

online-only not sticking / grey x / desktop client activity

loungebob
Explorer | Level 3

OS: Win 10 19045.3324

Client:  180.4.4912

Plan: Team/Pro trial thing

 

I'm adding dropbox as another cloud storage provider next to google workplace and a few others. I can appreciate that dropbox might work differently from google drive so my comparison may be put into context by knowledgeable people here.

 

anyhow, here's what's not working for me right now after a few days of testing and a lot of uploads and downloads.

 

online-only not sticking

even though I configured in the web admin panel and in the client's preferences under sync (new files default: online only) when copying or moving data to the dropbox mount it always reverts to local and ignores the online only setting. I have to manually re-flag the top level folder to be online only to remove the locally stored files. it looks like this setting is not followed when subfolders are created, they will always first be local until manually changed. you cannot be serious about this, right?

 

grey x

the first one to say it's a windows issue gets put on my naughty list. there might be a correlation to windows but it's certainly not a causality. I never even knew there was such a thing (x overlay) until I installed and used dropbox a few days ago. none of my other cloud services ever shown anything like it. the issue is, ALL of my files when looked up locally in windows file explorer show the grey x. the only time they dont is when stored locally, before I switch the folder back to online-only. then the file overlay changes to the grey x. what is that all about?

 

desktop client activity

long after the desktop client reports that all files have been uploaded/added and syncing has finished (as per the clients footer note) the desktop client, rather the Tray Assistant process decides to occupy around 20% of CPU cycles and writes to the SSD at around 40-50MB/s for a long time and the client's sync history or activity tab show nothing at all but the footer of the desktop client say "syncing". also, there is no network traffic so this a local only thing. 

I want to know what the tray assistant/drop box client is doing. it writes excessively to my SSD (stop doing that!) and I cannot find any logs or entries that will tell me what exactly dropbox is doing. the only way to get rid of this abuse of my resources is to stop syncing indefinitely in the client which instantly reverts usage back to 0.

 

and while we're at it. it has not been a very pleasurable or exciting experience up until now. for a company this size and this longstanding I would have expected a few things to just work a lot more smoothly and some features to just be a given.

- I dont know how to enable dark mode in the dropbox client. obviously it ignores the windows system wide setting for this but it also does not have an own switch.

- I cannot separate the app cache from the main dropbox folder, of course I want to put the cache file(s) on a separate fast SSD to optimize read/write cycles, this is not 2010

- files in windows file explorer do not show extended file attributes, the only thing shown is SIZE, MODIFIED DATE, TYPE...none of the useful attributes such as pixel size, width, length etc are being shown, I only get them to show when a file is marked as local and it is actually stored locally

- the desktop client's sync tab could be a lot more informative, showing sync/upload speed, actually showing what the app is doing like encrypting, moving, preparing, uploading, finishing up etc, especially during the pre- and post transferring stages

 

lets talk.

7 Replies 7

Jay
Dropbox Staff

Hi @loungebob, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

 

To keep it easier to read, here are the answers to your queries:

 

  • When marking files as online-only, and files are being downloaded, do they get the green icon on them, or something else?
  • The grey x icon is a Windows icon, and could mean that the file isn't syncing. 
  • Regarding the writing to your drive, could you clarify what you mean by a long time? Were any of these files open or being edited at this time?
  • Currently, the Dropbox desktop application doesn't support dark mode.
  • It isn't possible to move the cache folder to another location. 
  • We appreciate the feedback about the sync status message.

Keep me updated with any details.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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loungebob
Explorer | Level 3

hello @Jay 

 

  • When marking files as online-only, and files are being downloaded, do they get the green icon on them, or something else?
    the files just lose the grey x once downloaded but get no overlay, the folders never have an overlay and look always like local folders. my google drive, onedrive, box, sync or amazon s3 files all have blue clouds as overlays, so do the folders.
    also, the main question was, why is the online only thing not sticking? it is ridiculous that I have to re-do this after every single upload.

 

  • The grey x icon is a Windows icon, and could mean that the file isn't syncing. 
    the grey x is a windows file system icon and means the file has no connection to its original location. a) that seems to be not correct since the file changes to a normal file icon as soon as I open/play/edit it and it gets downloaded locally. b) despite being a windows file system icon, it only happens with the dropbox folder and its sub folders and files.

  • Regarding the writing to your drive, could you clarify what you mean by a long time? Were any of these files open or being edited at this time?
    no, there were no files being edited or accessed or open when that occurred. as for the length, it doesnt really matter since it should not happen in the first place but for the sake of clarity, I paused the syncing after about 20 minutes because it annoyed me and it used my resources for intransparent reasons.  as I mentioned, the upload was finished a while ago, the db client confirmed that all is done and synced and then the db client started using loads of cpu cycles and writing heavily to the local ssd. I have no idea what it was doing and why. there is no transparency in the db client, just the note at the bottom that it is "syncing". not what, not how many, nothing.
    just point me to the log files and I'll find it out myself.

  • Currently, the Dropbox desktop application doesn't support dark mode.
    sad.

  • It isn't possible to move the cache folder to another location. 
    I know. I'm saying it's really sad.

  • files in windows file explorer do not show extended file attributes, the only thing shown is SIZE, MODIFIED DATE, TYPE...none of the useful attributes such as pixel size, width, length etc are being shown, I only get them to show when a file is marked as local and it is actually stored locally
    I read somewhere this is a limitation of trial accounts but I would like it confirmed. also, is the lack of streaming functionality also a limitation of trial accounts? I cannot get any media file to play unless it's first downloaded completely. 

Jay
Dropbox Staff

As you mentioned that you have multiple cloud services, this would prevent all the Dropbox sync icons from appearing, as Windows has a maximum limit of 15 sync icons in total. The grey x is an indicator that another cloud provider is preventing the overlay from appearing.

 

Try quitting all other cloud services completely, and let me know if the icons appear in Explorer in the Dropbox folder.

 

Currently, there are no user readable logs for the Dropbox desktop application. 

 

Only local files would contain all the attributes, since the file is physically located on the machine. Online-only files are just placeholders for the app, and contain no data of any kind in them.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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loungebob
Explorer | Level 3

Sure, let's disable/uninstall everything that works to see if the thing that does not work, will work then. Ok, I've uninstalled all working cloud services and Dropbox is the only one left. Still, the grey x remains.

 

The no-user-logs is another one of those things that make me wonder why you insist on making everything so hard.

 

Google Drive, Box and OneDrive have figured out how to make online only files work just like local files (they store the information in little databases kept locally and if it's missing, query that info from the cloud file and submit, just that info, not the whole file). That is basically the definition of cloud storage. Why cant you?  Files are useless this way. And the whole process of file management is highly inefficient this way. And a total waste of bandwidth, 

 

And while we're at it, do I assume correctly that file streaming, in particular video and audio streaming through the desktop client is not supported? Whenever I play a video or audio file, the client first needs to download the whole file. Again, highly inefficient and just a waste of bandwidth. And local storage space, the main reason I wanted cloud storage to begin with.

 

If I sound a little pissed, it might be because I'm on an unlimited business plan and you refuse to increase storage because you have too much new business. Seriously.

loungebob
Explorer | Level 3

Also, I just deleted a bunch of files to make room in my apparently no-so-much-space-as-you-need account to finally upload the 4 files I've been trying to upload the last 3 days and guess what, you need to wait until a backend process that runs 4 times a day (that's every 8 hours) has run and displays the real storage used. Please send this to engineering and let them know, it's not 2010. Instantaneous is the key word.

Hannah
Dropbox Staff

Hey @loungebob, while we appreciate your feedback, I'll need some more clarifications, to check if there's an actual issue here.

 

You mentioned that you changed the setting in the app's preferences, so that new files added would sync as online-only.

 

That means that new files added from the Dropbox website or other devices will sync as online-only to the specific computer.

 

If you added files to the Dropbox folder of this specific computer, in order for them to get uploaded, they'd need to finish syncing (and take up space) first, and then you'd be able to switch them to online-only.

 

Is this what happened in your case?


Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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loungebob
Explorer | Level 3

@Hannah I'm not sure which of my rantings you're referring to but if it's this:

 

"Also, I just deleted a bunch of files to make room in my apparently no-so-much-space-as-you-need account to finally upload the 4 files I've been trying to upload the last 3 days and guess what, you need to wait until a backend process that runs 4 times a day (that's every 8 hours) has run and displays the real storage used. Please send this to engineering and let them know, it's not 2010. Instantaneous is the key word."

 

then what you described has nothing to do with my issue here. This is a Dropbox backend issue. If I delete files from my Dropbox account to make room/free up storage space I want these changes reflect instantly so I can re-use that space. That's the whole idea of cleaning up. But your backend forces me to wait at worst 8 hours until those changes in storage usage are reflected in my account because the process only runs 4 times a day, every 8 hours. I'm saying this is unacceptable.

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    loungebob Explorer | Level 3
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