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Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

ColinCameron
Explorer | Level 3

I'm looking for a 'hail marry' at this point. I've been dealing with less than helpful Dropbox Zendesk support agents who seem like all they can do is copy/paste troubleshooting to me instead of listening to my issue. Let me summarize 15 days worth of what's happening here, in hopes someone has an idea:

Firstly to establish my issues we will start with this:
I've been using Dropbox and have had the Dropbox App on my Mac Pro for years now without issue. However at the end of my work day on Feb 19th I went to drag/drop some of my work into the local Dropbox folder that lives on my Mac Pro's internal backup HHD for redundant back up to the Dropbox servers, only to see that a 40mb AIF file is stalled at "syncing". Ok, well maybe there's a server time out or outage, let me leave and come back in an hour, my network is fine so it will sync eventually I thought. Needless to say, this didn't ever sync. So I opened up the Dropbox web page, and dragged the same AIF file into the correlating folder there, took 10 seconds to upload and see it present on my Dropbox account via the web interface, now I'm expecting to see the Dropbox App mirror that back down to the local HD folder. Nope did not happen. And thus, begins my woes.

So I did all the basic troubleshooting available online, I repaired the permissions, repaired hard links, and even signed out of my account, removed my Mac Pro Catalina machine from the 'Security' page on my Dropbox account, and downloaded Dropbox App installer fresh and ran it assigned to a different hard drive (to remove my 1TB HHD from the possible variables) and told it to sync only one small, 300mb folder. After all that, Dropbox App still isn't syncing, and was stuck on indexing between the new local EMPTY Dropbox Folder, and my data on the server. I even tried a new, blank User account on my Mac to see if I could isolate something in my Mac's User that was causing this time out. Problem still exists there.

Note, I can use my account fine outside of this Catalina machine. iOS works fine, the web interface works fine, I can download/share/open all my files there no problem. I even put the Dropbox App on my Mojave MacBook and it also works fine, I have that set to localize the same small folder that I tested with the Catalina machine, and that synced and presented 'up to date' just fine there on the laptop.

So the issue exists solely with this Mac Pro on Catalina. And I have done no new updates, changed anything on it, and just in the hours before the sync issue presented it self my Dropbox App was "up to date" and no sync issues or alerts present. Since Dropbox App auto-updates I am unsure if the App itself updated to a version with a bug or what, durning that time on Feb 19th, again Dropbox Support won't even explore this possibility, they keep repeating the same troubleshooting I told them I did at the start, then kick the can down the road for 24 hours...

Currently now I have reestablished my local Dropbox folder on the same 1TB HHD it's always been on with my Dropbox account, and have been able to finally undo the damage of logging out fo my account. It was stuck on 60,000 files 'updating/indexing' for a good while, but I noticed that now every time the Dropbox App launched, it could move/parse SOME small amounts of data before completely timing out. So I literally quit and relaunched the App 50-60 times to get it to finally finish indexing the data so that my local Dropbox folder was now 100% in line with the data on the server. So now I at least have a Dropbox App that says "up to date".

Thus I can attest that it is not a permissions issue, it is not a symlinks issue (I don't use symlinks), both HD's that I tested Dropbox App with to localize data on are fine and do not have I/O errors, nor is it corrupted data as I've vetted all my Dropbox files via the web interface, and I do not have more than 300,000 files (I know that is a issue for Dropbox). All of the easy troubleshooting I believe I have done with none of it fixing this issue.

Now I will explain the issue in detail: Dropbox App will not connect with the Dropbox servers after being launched for more than 3 approx minutes. What happens is at launch, Dropbox App begins as "starting" and then begins to sync. Files will move back and forth for not more than 3 minutes or so and then the app times out completely. It could be in the middle of syncing a file, when you expand the app to show the files transferring, you can see that the 'blue bar' stops in the middle of files, esp ones bigger than 500mb, and shows them as 'syncing' with half of the blue bar present. The status bar at the bottom will show the wrong information too, esp the wrong remaining time. Here is a screen shot to prove this:
Screen Shot 2021-03-08 at 1.15.50 PM.png
note up and down is timed out at 0kb, my firewall (Little Snitch) is completely open (see the yellow ! informing me it is in bypass) to all Dropbox servers. I have never has had issues prior, I have a fiber internet provider and again, I can move data to Dropbox via Safari drag and drop, and it's fast to drop GBs this way surprisingly, all WHILE the App is timed out.

The only way to get Dropbox App to communicate back 'home' is to quit and relaunch the app. Sometimes on relaunch it won't connect still, and throws up "checking for updates" endlessly. Quit and relaunch, or log out of my user and re-log in, then it will work for a few moments. And sometimes at launching the Dropbox App, it will immediately quit itself and throw up a dialog that "Dropbox will now restart, syncing will resume momentarily" or something like that. Other times I go to click on the Dropbox tool bar icon on top, only to not get the pull down UI interface, and only a Finder like pull down menu with basic options.

Any thoughts? I'm at my wits end with trying to get this to work, and considering not renewing my Dropbox account come October when it is set to renew (I've been a paying customer since 2013) because support continues to not seem to know how to troubleshoot their own app beyond the basics of what I've already read on Dropbox Help myself.

Thanks massively to all who read this and can take some of their time to help.

8 Replies 8

Re: Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

Lusil
Dropboxer
Hello there @ColinCameron, thanks for reaching out to us and sorry to hear about your frustration. 

Since you've already done so much troubleshooting on this - awesome work by the way! - the only additional thought I had was to temporarily close any third party apps (eg. security software or antivirus) that could be affecting this, just to see if it'll trigger a different response. 

You mention though that you've already been in touch with our Support team. 

Could you let me know the ticket ID (eg. #1234567) so that I can have a look into this for you?

Give me a shout whenever you have the chance to look through this, thanks!

Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

ColinCameron
Explorer | Level 3
Cheers Lusil, I am a 20 year Mac user and ex-Logic Pro trainer for Apple so I am used to troubleshooting. I did confirm that there is nothing running that is reading/writing any of the files. I don’t have antivirus software and haven’t changed anything about my OS or workflow when this error started occurring. Just another seemingly normal day at work in my studio. Here is my ticket, where am I getting the run around - being asked to do things I have already proved didn’t work. #12082573

Re: Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

ColinCameron
Explorer | Level 3

Dropbox Support gave in instructions to try and Advanced Reinstall, which included information thankfully about some of the support files that are installed by the App to the OS system, via terminal commands. I completed the commands as well as the reinstall, only to be back at square one - where the Dropbox App is trying once again to index the local 100,000+ files on my 1TB HHD "CELL BACKUPS" drive which is an internal SATA connected drive. Here is the screen shot showing the app back to being idle and timed out with no network activity. Screen Shot 2021-03-09 at 1.35.00 PM.png

I have also revealed the hidden files on my Mac, which discloses that there are some cache files in my Dropbox folder. Seeing those might be helpful in a diagnosis? 

Since this is day 19 of not having a working Dropbox App - after 8 years of completely normal, no issues, use - I am led to believe there is a bug or error in the Dropbox software that is causing this,  and thus deprecating my trust in Dropbox as a company. 

Re: Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

Lusil
Dropboxer
Thanks for all your additional information here, @ColinCameron, I can see that a lot of troubleshooting has been attempted from your end. 

However, due to account-specific information that's needed on this matter at this point, I'd recommend continuing with the specialized member of my team who's reviewing this for you. 

I was able to find the ticket in question and have made sure to pass your comments along. 

As soon as they have more information on the matter, they'll get back to you via email. 

In the meantime, if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to get back to us. 

Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

ColinCameron
Explorer | Level 3
Cheers Lusil, however seems like support is a dead end, as none of whom I’ve talked to (3 support agents now) have been able to truly understand the issue enough to offer anything but very basic troubleshooting, last was “we will escalate to the engineers” - which at this point I assume is a dead end.

I also see a lot of similar syncing and indexing time outs with the App here in this forum. Which again leads me to believe this app is a buggy mess and I was just lucky to not have an issue with it for my tenure with Dropbox. 😒

Re: Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

ColinCameron
Explorer | Level 3

Since doing the Advanced Reinstall - and waiting for 100,000+ files to 'index' by continuously closing and relaunching the app - I can definitely say there is something bottlenecking outside of my network. Sometimes at launch the Desktop App would begin 'syncing' and my network monitor was showing a few hundred k/bps up and down as the data was parsed, and indexed within the App. Other times, it would launch and 'syncing' with ZERO data moving between the Dropbox App and Dropbox's servers. It was increasingly intermittent. The Desktop App's Finder icon (the 'box' icon aligned with the network, clock, etc. in the task bar) is occasionally not pulling down the actual app, and only this Finder style menu:
Screen Shot 2021-03-15 at 12.29.04 PM.png

It took me about 20 (!!!!) relaunches of the App for the 'indexing' to complete, and report "Up To Date".

There is something very wrong with this App and Mac OS Catalina. And the fact that Dropbox Support has basically ghosted me with a unresolved ticket that was left with "we will let the engineers know" and no resolution is beyond frustrating that there is truly no accountability for a piece of software that is proving to be buggy and problematic.

 

Upon launching Dropbox App just now, it's even showing this insanity. "Up To Date" - but still "Syncing"? Ugh.
Screen Shot 2021-03-15 at 12.39.28 PM.png

What I have learned from almost a MONTH of this is, I can no longer rely or use this App in my studio environment where redundant backups can be synced on the fly via a local Dropbox folder. While Dropbox web interface and iOS operate continually fine, this App is in dire need of oversight and better ways to report bugs than ZenDesk support copy/paste agents who can't do anything to truly debug or report bugs.

Re: Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

ColinCameron
Explorer | Level 3

Well, now Dropbox App is perpetually crashing on me when it gets past 'starting'. I noticed while Dropbox is 'starting' that my log-in credentials are not in the pull down menu, only 'sign in'. I was also prompted to change my password. So I figured maybe there was a credentials error - password rejected situation. So I changed my password, re-downloaded the Dropbox installer, and signed in. I was able to get as far as choosing my Dropbox folder on my drive, and then choosing the folders to keep local. But then as soon as the App tries to sync, crashes. Goes through a whole crash - relaunch cycle on it's own this time. Then spits up this dialog window.Screen Shot 2021-03-19 at 6.32.12 PM.png

hitting 'Restart Dropbox" is fruitless, as soon as the App gets to the 'syncing' stage of operation. Crashes.

That's it for me with Dropbox App. I'm using the web interface until Dropbox can get it together.

Re: Mac OS Catalina Dropbox App timing out...

ColinCameron
Explorer | Level 3

@Lusil Dropbox Support is now claiming I have symlinks on my account, and they believe this is the error. However, this is the list of files I was told are symlinks:

"dropbox/fastwalk.py"
"dropbox/sync_engine/file_system/macosx.py"
"dropbox/sync_engine/file_system/util.py"
"dropbox/sync_engine/file_system/posix_indexing_attributes_mixin.py"

 

Call me crazy, but I believe these are actually Dropbox API functions? .PY is Python scripting, "Fastwalk" is a Python Script for file trees, and "Util" is also another Python script that compiles smaller actions into one script. "Posix..." seems to be a indexing script?

Regardless of what they are, I can attest that I did NOT upload any Python scripts or even have a folder called "Sync Engine" available to me in my Dropbox data. All my data on Dropbox either relates to Logic Pro files, standard audio files (WAV/AIF) and other commonly used Mac OS file types. I do ZERO work with Python or Linux (outside of the fact that Mac OS is built on Unix/Linux).

Can you please shed some light on what exactly is going on here? Why would Python scripts, even if they are API for Dropbox, be showing in a error report on Symlinks? My current Support Agent I believe isn't privy enough to Dropbox internal infrastructure to advise here and I'm waiting to be escalated again...

It has now been over a month of my inability to use the Dropbox App on my Mac Catalina machine, where I can still use Dropbox fine via Web, iOS and even use the Dropbox App to sync data to my Laptop running Mojave.

Thank you.

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