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Dropbox suddenly doing a complete reindex?

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Dropbox suddenly doing a complete reindex?

Helpful | Level 6

Platform:  Windows 10 Pro (v.1809, latest updates)

Dropbox version: 71.3.102 beta

Around noon yesterday, Dropbox mysteriously started (I assume) reindexing my entire Dropbox folder; it claimed to be syncing nearly 500,000 files, which is pretty much all of them.  For a while it seemed stuck, so I force-closed the program in Task Manager and restarted it.  It was still stuck, so I let it run and do whatever it was doing.  After about 5 hours, it finally started uploading changed files again, and the number of files left to "sync" slowly went down.  Everything finally seemed normal again, except for one tiny thing: all the icon overlays were stuck on the blue syncing icon, despite everything being synced.  I restarted Dropbox a second time, the icons went back to being the expected green checkmarks.  All good again.

However, Dropbox is currently doing another spontaneous reindex; it started at roughly noon yet again.  I can't figure out what I might have done differently within my Dropbox folder both today and yesterday to prompt this behaviour.  But just in case, here's what I can think of:

  • Last week I used some Selective Sync trickery to have Dropbox ignore a few node_modules folders (over 100,000 files between them).  It took Dropbox a while to process that many deletions, but it certainly didn't reindex completely.  No problems after it finished, was fine all weekend.
  • I run several apps (e.g. Firefox Portable) inside my Dropbox, some of which write to disk frequently.  Hasn't been an issue before, not even on this newest beta of the desktop app.
  • I'm (ab)using Dropbox's symlink behaviour to create a backup folder of important files for use on Mobile.  (This way I don't have to manually Star / "Available Offline" on hundreds of random files.)  Dropbox Desktop has never had an issue with this either, except that it reindexes that specific folder every time it starts up (which only takes 2 or 3 minutes extra).

If anyone has any thoughts, don't be afraid to get into technical jargon.  I'm a web and software dev, I can handle it. 

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions
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Re: Dropbox suddenly doing a complete reindex?

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hey there @PHR -  thanks for lettings us know about this. 

I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for this one, but things like beta versions and symlinks are usually the culprits for such behaviors.  As beta builds are still in the testing process, you could experience some issues or an inconsistent experience. When symlinks come to play as well, all hells can break loose. 

Symlinks may reference locations where Dropbox (i.e. our client) may have limited accessibility and can cause various issues. High CPU usage, poor syncing performance, permissions issues and quota usage disparities are a few of the problems that often come up when symlinks are added to the Dropbox folder.

As a first step to isolate the issue, I'd highly recommend that you install our latest stable version of the client. 

To do this, you will first need to follow these steps to verify that you have opted out of "Include me in early releases" option in your settings on Dropbox.com. This will ensure that the application does not automatically update to the beta build after you install the latest stable build:

  1. Log in to www.Dropbox.com using your web browser.
  2. Click on you account picture/avatar at the top right corner of the page.
  3. Click on "Settings".
  4. From the "General" tab, scroll down to the section titled "Preferences" and uncheck the box next to "Include me in early releases" if it is checked.

Then, use the following link to install the latest stable version of the Dropbox desktop application:  https://www.dropbox.com/downloading?build=70.4.93&plat=win&type=full

Once you install the stable build, it might take some time to re-index the files and sync any pending changes.

Please let me know the results!

PS: Instructions on how to remove symlinks if needed, can be found in the following Help Center article: https://help.dropbox.com/desktop-web/high-cpu-usage 



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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View solution in original post

5 Replies 5
Highlighted

Re: Dropbox suddenly doing a complete reindex?

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hey there @PHR -  thanks for lettings us know about this. 

I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for this one, but things like beta versions and symlinks are usually the culprits for such behaviors.  As beta builds are still in the testing process, you could experience some issues or an inconsistent experience. When symlinks come to play as well, all hells can break loose. 

Symlinks may reference locations where Dropbox (i.e. our client) may have limited accessibility and can cause various issues. High CPU usage, poor syncing performance, permissions issues and quota usage disparities are a few of the problems that often come up when symlinks are added to the Dropbox folder.

As a first step to isolate the issue, I'd highly recommend that you install our latest stable version of the client. 

To do this, you will first need to follow these steps to verify that you have opted out of "Include me in early releases" option in your settings on Dropbox.com. This will ensure that the application does not automatically update to the beta build after you install the latest stable build:

  1. Log in to www.Dropbox.com using your web browser.
  2. Click on you account picture/avatar at the top right corner of the page.
  3. Click on "Settings".
  4. From the "General" tab, scroll down to the section titled "Preferences" and uncheck the box next to "Include me in early releases" if it is checked.

Then, use the following link to install the latest stable version of the Dropbox desktop application:  https://www.dropbox.com/downloading?build=70.4.93&plat=win&type=full

Once you install the stable build, it might take some time to re-index the files and sync any pending changes.

Please let me know the results!

PS: Instructions on how to remove symlinks if needed, can be found in the following Help Center article: https://help.dropbox.com/desktop-web/high-cpu-usage 



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
Still stuck? Ask me a question!
Tips & Tricks Find new ways to stay in flow or share your tips on how you work smarter with Dropbox.

View solution in original post

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Re: Dropbox suddenly doing a complete reindex?

Helpful | Level 6

Downgraded to the stable build yesterday, everything seems okay now.  Thanks Walter!

Highlighted

Re: Dropbox suddenly doing a complete reindex?

Helpful | Level 6

@Walter  UPDATE:  It's probably me moving too many files around at once that's causing the issue.  I just renamed a folder with a lot of files in it (though most of which were untracked node_modules files, as mentioned above), and that seems to have made the stable version of Dropbox panic and reindex as well 😅

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Re: Dropbox suddenly doing a complete reindex?

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Thanks for your updates @PHR  - glad to hear this helped! 

If there's anything else I can help with, don't hesitate to let me know; I'll be happy to follow up. 

Enjoy the rest of your day in the meantime!



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
Still stuck? Ask me a question!
Tips & Tricks Find new ways to stay in flow or share your tips on how you work smarter with Dropbox.

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Re: Dropbox suddenly doing a complete reindex?

Helpful | Level 5

Dropbox worked for me for years ... then around 02/13/2020 Dropbox failed on all nine of my computers. I contacted Dropbox twice obtaining no help other than a standard page of instructions to reinstall. Notably on my last contact I also stated "discontinue my annual renewal" ... surprisingly they responded and did so immediately without a whimper ...

Update ... on 03/20/2020 I suddenly noted a few of my PC's displayed the Dropbox icon as "up to date" ... Curiously, I had given up and left Dropbox as a dead issue (not running) ... which means Dropbox accessed my equipment and restarted their programs unknown to me ... after apparently fixing an issue they were incapable of resolving for more than a month and unwilling to discuss.

The problem as observed on Task Manager ... continuous consumption of ram memory until nearing 1GB Dropbox then crashed ... producing the usual Dropbox failure banner.

I suggested Dropbox STOP installing updates without user consent ... which would allow us to back up our systems before installing their latest "update" ... which would have saved me one month of anger.

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