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Dropbox keeps trying to download and sync files set to online only

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Dropbox keeps trying to download and sync files set to online only

Helpful | Level 5

I had this same issue with a particular folder when I first set up my new Windows 10 laptop, but closing and restarting Dropbox seemed to fix it. (Derp.)

 

Today it randomly started trying to download/sync a few zip files I set to online only. I set them to online only again; then, since my computer has been indexing files for over a week now, decided to exclude my online only folders from being indexed, thinking maybe that was the cause of all the indexing. As soon as I did this, it started trying to download/sync those zip files again! I again set them to online only, exited and restarted Dropbox...but then Dropbox got stuck in a cycle of syncing, syncing, syncing a different, online-only folder. It has 32 files in it and Dropbox kept saying, "Syncing 32 files...31 files...32 files...31 files...32 files..." like it kept starting over and over and over. This laptop has an SSD and the files are small so it should have been almost instantaneous.

 

I exited Dropbox and restarted my computer this time, to boot. Looking in the Dropbox folder, I see individual files set to online only (including those zip files) are marked with an X but none of the folders are, which puzzles me. Restarting Dropbox now...

 

Okay, nothing is happening yet (except the endless indexing). Still, what could be causing this? Why does Smart Sync keep trying to sync and download things set to online only and is there a fix if it gets stuck in that syncing loop again?

 

...Wait, crud, I found another online folder had changed its setting (though not the files' setting) to local. Ugh! Changed it back...Dropbox said it was doing something with a bunch of files but now it's up to date again and the folder is again online only. So weird.

 

And now the number of indexed items is suddenly a lot different! 92,000 odd! (I believe it was around 205,000 before.)

 

Dropbox desktop application 109.4.517, Windows 10 Home v.1909, build 18363.1198.

2 Replies 2
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Re: Dropbox keeps trying to download and sync files set to online only

Super User II

@Rachel L. wrote:

Why does Smart Sync keep trying to sync and download things set to online only ...


Any process that tries to access a file marked as online-only will cause Dropbox to download the file and mark it as local again. File backups, antivirus/malware scans, browsing a folder in applications with file previews enabled, etc. ANY process that touches a file can cause it.

 

Basically, Dropbox sees that something is trying to access an online-only file, so it downloads it. This is the expected behavior. Make sure there's nothing else trying to access the files and they'll remain online-only until you open them yourself.

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Re: Dropbox keeps trying to download and sync files set to online only

Helpful | Level 5

Well, I thought deselecting the folders in question for indexing had solved the problem since it hasn't recurred since then, plus the endless indexing stopped (indicating a potential conflict between Windows indexing and Dropbox online-only files)...but today, the three zipped files have randomly started trying to download again. :/ I marked them as online only yet again, closed and restarted Dropbox, and after a few minutes it AGAIN tried downloading one and I again had to change it to online only. Something keeps changing the setting, but I don't know what.

 

@Rich "File backups, antivirus/malware scans, browsing a folder in applications with file previews enabled, etc. ANY process that touches a file can cause it."

 

I checked to see if Windows was again indexing at the time this happened; it didn't seem to be. (For the record, there's no option for me to deselect these particular items for indexing, since they aren't in a folder, but I experienced the same issue previously with items that ARE in a folder, and I excluded that folder from indexing. That folder hasn't tried downloading anything today--yet. I'm wondering if I should try putting these zipped files in an excluded folder, though I don't want it to try downloading them again.)

 

I wasn't backing up any files, just doing some unrelated things on a website. There was no antivirus scan going on (plus I've never experienced this issue while doing a virus scan), and I wasn't viewing or browsing the files, not even previews or file properties. I didn't even have File Explorer open; Dropbox was running, but I didn't have its folder or app open, either. There's absolutely nothing I'm aware of that could have been trying to access the files, unless Windows was randomly trying to index them, which didn't seem to be the case.

 

(For the record, the notification I keep getting when this happens is some variant of "Dropbox downloaded this file" or "Dropbox failed to download this file," something like that, with the file name. I think it sometimes also says it's trying to sync those files. I don't know if the "failed" notification is because it's actually failing to download or because I keep switching it back to online only while it's attempting to download.)

 

I have no idea what could be causing this. :/

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