I was doing some Dropbox reorganization with files in different folders. I have Smart Sync turned on.
I noticed that when I moved some files, and deleted others, all of which were stored online only but not locally (they had the little cloud icon next to the file name), the move would be successful but a zero KB "ghost" version of the exact same file would be recreated almost immediately, within a few seconds.
My wife who shares a folder with me sees the same zero KB ghost files on her iPad Dropbox client (I'm using Dropbox on my Mac OS X Big Sur 11.2.3).
How do I resolve this issue so these ghost files stop appearing after they've been moved or deleted?
Based on some information I found in another post, I checked the version history of the file. It was being reuploaded by a laptop on which I had recently installed Dropbox but did NOT have smart sync enabled (the option "Save hard drive space automatically" was switched to off). Whenever I deleted or moved the file, it would get reuploaded immediately. Why this results in a zero KB ghost file, I have no idea.
For the files I moved, the move was successful. In other words, my file would appear in the correct folder that I moved it into but the zero KB ghost file would also be generated immediately in the original location.
For the time being, I've worked around this issue by pausing syncing indefinitely on the offending computer. I selected on for the "Save hard drive space automatically" option.
Enabling Syncing on the offending laptop after these steps has not solved the problem. As of the time of this writing, I can see that all of the ghost files just got put back where they were originally moved or deleted.
What can I do to solve this annoying issue?
Immediately after writing my note above, I tried deleting the offending files from the offending laptop. This seems to have done the trick.
Guessing there is some issue with the way this laptop is recognizing synced files on the cloud?
Even though this solved the problem, it was very inconvenient. I thankfully only moved about 25-30 files, but if it was a much larger move, I'm not sure what I would've done. Would still appreciate a better understanding of what went wrong and how to solve this issue properly in future.
Thanks for responding to my queries. I don't think this was what was happening because the offending laptop was running no open programs in the foreground. It is a Windows 10 machine and none of the apps were "open". It's possible there was some kind of background service or app causing an issue, but I also think this is unlikely because the laptop in question is a new work laptop and I barely use Dropbox on it (which is primarily personal files and folders, as my organization doesn't allow the use of Dropbox for storing work data).
Moreover, the files in question had never been accessed from the laptop. Most of them were old files that needed to be archived or in some cases deleted, hence why they were involved in a reorganization in the first place.
I suppose we may never know the exact genesis of this issue, but it's good to know the workaround for the time being is to delete the ghost files from the offending device.
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