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Please don't block me from generating a link for a file that hasn't finished uploading

Please don't block me from generating a link for a file that hasn't finished uploading

Collaborator | Level 8

A new "feature" has been implemented where if I drop a new file in a DB folder, and then go to click on "Copy Dropbox Link", it simply won't perform the task until the file has finished uploading. 


Apparently this is to "prevent 404 errors". The "error" page that comes up when you clicked on a link before it had finished uploading was actually a "Uh Oh! File hasn't finished uploading yet". This to me isn't an "error" page and shouldn't be treated as such. It's clear and communicates exactly what it needs to and doesn't warrant a restriction in functionality for the rest of the users.


The solution you've silently implemented has caused a monstrous delay in my daily workflow.

I work in a fast paced environment, generating new content every hour and sharing it with dozens of people in my team. The fact that I can simply drop files and right-click and "copy link" and THEN carry on with the rest of my tasks while keeping an eye out for the spinning icon in the tray and THEN send the copied link to my recipients, means that I am FLOWING.

When I have to do that dozens of times per hour, if you block me from generating a link as soon as I drop it in the DB folder, you're forcing me to having to RETURN back to DB a second time in the process. You've added a whole extra step, and it's absolutely killed my flow.

Collaborator | Level 8

Just following up here since it's been a while.

After a few back and forths with dropbox's technical support (I provided them with video screengrabs of the issue). Simon @ Dropbox had emailed me with instructions to re-install dropbox, which included some Terminal commands.


He wrote "At the moment, We are just checking if this may be an issue with the application. If the issue persists after the reinstall, we will escalate to the engineers as a bug." 


I've only just now found the time to do this re-install and follow the instructions... but the issue is still there.


I had to send a 25gb file to my client which I left uploading overnight. Instead of emailing the link immediately so they could pick it up the next day, I had to wake up at 4am the next morning SPECIFICALLY to send the email. 


I have emailed their support to follow up, but wanted to chime in here also.

Helpful | Level 6

Thank you for following up here. If there's any way I could also email the same tech support I would love to show them that this is happening on my machine as well.

Helpful | Level 6

Agreed - this was working again in August, but is now broken again. Can't believe I'm going to have to start from scratch with badgering support about this. Please Dropbox, can we just have our nice little features so we can go home to our families?

Collaborator | Level 8

There is something very bizarre happening with Dropbox Support and I need to ask that whoever's being affected by this issue, please let yourselves be heard by submitting a ticket.    Give me a few to explain:


The Specialists Team

Firstly: Simon and Jay, who had reached out directly to me after I had created this "idea" post, are part of the Specialists Team. They aren't part of the regular support who reply in this forum, nor the group that responds to low-level tickets.


I should clarify that they only reached out to me (and a few other users) after this post got a certain number of upvotes and views, so thank you everyone for keeping this topic active 


Simon provided me with specific instructions to perform a series of Terminal commands and to re-install the latest version of DB. His last message to me was: "We are just checking if this may be an issue with the application. If the issue persists after the reinstall, we will escalate to the engineers as a bug"


I've been busy and it took me a good 2-3 weeks to do the re-install, and by the time I did Simon's ticket was closed and I couldn't reply to it.



So I created a new ticket, explaining that I was still encountering the issue (and linking to Simon's ticket).  I got a response from a different DB support member and this is what she said: "It is my understanding you're unable to copy a link to a Dropbox file unless the file has uploaded to Dropbox. I can confirm that this is expected behaviour."


In utter frustration I got onto DB's support CHAT, and spoke with another "regular" Support member. Explained my frustration at this response, since clearly Simon doesn't share that same opinion. The Support member I was chatting with (she was very helpful and forthcoming btw) was adamant that DB always behaved in the way it does today, in her entire 6 years working for the company: "I don't doubt or question your experience on your side, and how you used to work, and things are always changing, but at least for the last 6 years I am here, it never worked that way, sorry to say this and disappoint you, but Dropbox app and system on the website can't create a link for something that is not yet actually existing on the website. Maybe you were trying that for a file/content that was right away synced, but it is not working for something that is still on the upload cue"



This is just baffling and makes me want to poke one of my eyeballs out with a fork. Whether DB worked differently 2 months ago is NOT up for debate. It is an absolute FACT that this functionality was different. I've been using Dropbox as a power user since its infancy and I'm fully in tune with all of its smallest behaviours and of every single upgrade they've made to things like the toolbar dropdown menu, how they gradually removed the extra layers of helpful information that it contained (mostly dumbing things down to lowest common denominator users). And it's not only me but the entire team of people I work with across the world are all in agreeance about this.  So to have their own support members tell me that I've essentially been either imagining this or that I've been an isolated incident is just absurd. Yet here we are.


Power users are the minority and not relevant

The only reason I can think of is that this issue is a bit obscured by the majority of DB users (and therefore their support) because it only affects a particular smaller subset of power users, who:

1) They work with large files (i.e. 10gb+ each)


2) they work in fast paced environments where they must send files multiple times a day, needing to meet multiple deadlines on a daily basis where every minute is crucial.


I don't think DB Support are even aware of this type of user. They probably test things with 1gb files, and I'm guessing they've never needed to try uploading a 25gb file and send its link immediately. This can be the only explanation of their denial that dropbox ever worked differently.


Meanwhile, back in reality...

Regardless of Support's bizarre gaslighting there can only be 2 possible things that are happening:

1) Either this is a bug and they need us (YOU) to provide them with feedback (I've sent them video screengrabs of the issue using Loom)


2) This is an intentional modification of the software


Whichever of the two it is, I would strongly suggest to all of you in here to submit tickets, asking for this feature to be re-instated. If they reply with "this was never a feature" or "this is expected behaviour" - please insist and/or ask to escalate this to the Specialist Team


This is the type of comment that you will receive in response:

"When you add a file from your computer , from your mac, you copy paste it or drag/drop it into Dropbox folder, and you try to create the link, that file indeed first must sync to the website, to actually exist on the website, and only when you will see the green check icon on the file, you can actually create a link for it. If the file is not yet synced, not existing on the website, system can't see it, so it can't create a link for something that it is not there"


This is untrue and we all know it.  So...


A reminder of the good ol' days

Dropbox DID have this feature, right from when they started desktop integration (years ago) all the way up until 2-3 months ago. And I'll recap in detail how this worked):


As soon as you dropped a 25gb file in your folder, dropbox IMMEDIATELY created a sort of token of the file while the real one uploads. A tiny 2kb container... a wrapper. Whatever you want to call it. But that is the file that the link would be generated for. Once the full 25gb file uploaded, it would replace the token file, and adopt its link. Ta-daa. Magic. That's great design right there (not much of that these days). 


Furthermore - Click on the link during "token-mode" and it would give you an "uh oh file still uploading" page - perfect!! 


I'm rolling my eyes at the support member who said they changed this to avoid such 404 page



The DB Devs knew whats up!

This is not incidental stuff. This is something that the DB dev team specifically built to work this way, during the very early days of DB and its Desktop Integration. Was it intentionally removed? Did DB's new Backup feature contain some tech side effects that forced them to reduce the functionality of the regular folder-syncing?



Get in touch with DB!!!

So please. Let yourselves be heard about this and let's get this feature reinstated so we can stop wasting hours of our time and disrupting essential workflows. Submit your ticket here: 



p.s. Since my latest Chat with support a few minutes ago, I personally asked to be connected to Simon again. I'm eager to see what he says. If anything helpful I will share here.


Helpful | Level 6

Thank you. I agree that this is infuriating. I'll bombard them with tickets too until this is fixed.

Helpful | Level 5

I had this issue and the feature has been reinstated, at least on my systems. Currently running v130.4.4978

Helpful | Level 6

I just tried it and it's not working here. Same version #.

Collaborator | Level 8

Thanks @spiresvideo this is great to know!

I'm on v131.3.3962, so I doubt it's even version related.


Are you 100% certain that the fix happens on actual files, and not just folders? Folders still work the old way, so even while its contents are uploading i can still generate a link for the folder. The issue is with generating links to actual files. Sorry just wanna be sure.


If that's the case, I wonder if you could do a solid for the team.... Could you make a video screengrab that shows a drag-and-drop of a 1-2gb file (large enough to take 2 minutes to upload), followed by an immediate Copy Dropbox Link? Just needs to show the "Link copied!" notification while the Dropbox icon still has the uploading spinner.


I would be able to then at least put it side by side with my own malfunctioning screengrab and send them both to support.

Explorer | Level 4

Thanks a lot @terra1983 for taking the time and effort to be as clear as possible and for ruling out the obvious things. Nothing to add. Let's hope this gets fixed soon!

Collaborator | Level 8

Finally got an official response from the dropbox Dev Team:

So there is a delay due to a change awhile back and it takes about 15 or so seconds for a link to generate if the file is still in the process of uploading. But, should still generate the link. The link itself won’t actually work though until the upload is finished.


I just tested a 3gb file and it seems like the 15sec delay is accurate, and it takes you to this page:

Screen Shot 2021-09-14 at 11.53.59 AM.png

This is great news. I was not getting this behaviour before.

It's definitely not like it used to be, but a 15sec delay is much better than waiting til the entire file uploads.


At least they are acknowledging the change in functionality, unlike their very own Support Team.

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