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Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Tanya G.3
New member | Level 1

Within a shared folder owned by my boss, for every single folder and file I see a second file of the same name but starting with ._

So for example there is a folder FAQs and also a file ._FAQs
These are all very small binary files of only 4KB. However, because this is a very large shared folder with thousands of subfolders and files, it adds up, and worst of all adds a tremendous amount of visual clutter. Any idea why is this happening and what we can do to stop it?

10 Replies 10

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Rich
Super User II

Those are system files created by OS X and they cannot be stopped. See here for more information:

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Tanya G.3
New member | Level 1

OK, it looks like these are only generated by Os X under certain conditions.
Since Dropbox clearly already filters out / does not sync the .ds_store files also generated by OS X, I would think they could do the same for ._ (dot underscore) files.
Alternately give us a way to hide them, they double the number of files in my Dropbox through the web or mobile interface.

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Jeremy M.24
New member | Level 1

I really really really wish there a way to avoid syncing those ._ files.  It makes Dropbox nearly unusable in my network environment.  My computer spends hours syncing these useless files, annoying my sysadmin and doing me no good.  Yes, I wish OSX didn't create them in the first place, but it would be really nice if Dropbox had a selective sync feature that caused it to ignore those files, like Tanya G. said.

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Robert S.
Experienced Collaborator | Level 11

I really really really wish there a way to avoid syncing those ._ files.

The "._" file issue is directly caused by placing a Mac Dropbox folder on a volume which doesn't respect the hidden attribute of those files (i.e. FAT). In all cases, the effect would have been mitigated by simply formatting the volume to the native Mac filesystem prior to relocating the Dropbox folder.

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Jeremy M.24
New member | Level 1

That makes sense, but the volume in question is on a network for which I am not the admin, and it predates my installation of Dropbox.  I realize this is not Dropbox's fault per se, but rather the way Dropbox and the filesystem interact.  Nevertheless, it would be great if Dropbox could simply ignore those files.

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Tanya G.3
New member | Level 1

Agree with Jeremy M., sometimes the volume is not under our control, or there are legitimate reasons why it can't be changed. In my case it's an external drive that my boss uses on both a Mac and a Windows machine, so the native Mac filesystem is simply not an option. This doesn't seem like a very difficult request and would make life easier for many users.

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Robert S.
Experienced Collaborator | Level 11

I would also point out that Dropbox is pretty clear that they don't support external drives and installations on network volumes.

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Tanya G.3
New member | Level 1

Understood, but maybe they should rethink that, at least as far as relatively simple issues like this go. They've become a standard for file syncing, and external / network volumes are a reality of file storage today.

Re: Binary files generated beginning with ._ for every file and folder

Marco C.13
New member | Level 1

I am in the same spot as everyone else (minus Robert S. apparently). These files are a pest. I don't care if they are there or not, but I don't want to see them. They are bad enough on my desktop, where I usually have time to make sure I am clicking on the right file, but on my iPhone/iPad they are absolutely pestiferous. 

I have several ways to access my dropbox on my IOS devices, on some of these apps the screen is minimized or cutoff. Since there are (naturally) as many files starting with ._ as there are legitimate ones, it makes scrolling and finding the right files just a tad more annoying.

But this issue happens even if a user does not own a Mac. I have no idea how my clients are setup at their end, but right or wrong, I have no way to control that. Telling me that "Dropbox is pretty clear that they don't support external drives and installations on network volumes" is about as useful as an ice cube at the North Pole.

The Mac that creates most of my problems though, is indeed on a machione I can control. Problem is that it is an old Mac Mini that I now use as a Netflix/video player, and it has a 500GB hard drive. There is simply not enough space to have my Dropbox on that Mac internal HD. The HD where it resides, was formatted by that Mac. Maybe I made a mistake when I formatted it and I could have chosen a better format, but I remember using the default. Yet I still see those files.

Could DB at least hide them if they cannot help generating them? Why is DB expecting their millions of users to fix their Mac HD formatting when many of them have no access to it and many others either don't know or cannot make that change?

In my case, in order to reformat that drive properly (we have already established my DB won't fit on my Internal HD) I would need to:

  1. Buy a new External HD
  2. Disconnect DB Sync
  3. Transfer all my files from the old HD to the new one.
  4. Reformat the drive (hopefully correctly this time)
  5. Transfer the files back
  6. Search and trash all the ._ files
  7. Reconnect DB sync
  8. Repeat on all my other machines as necessary
  9. Find a use for the $150 worth of HD I had to buy to correct this problem.

Really? 

Since I just upgraded both my Google Drive and iCloud, I really no longer need to keep my files in DB. The files I am sharing with clients would fit comfortably if I moved my own files to one of the other two services. 

EDIT: I just turned my account back to free. I will buy again when DB fixes this issue. I feel better already.

 

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Top contributors to this post

  • User avatar
    Robert S. Experienced Collaborator | Level 11
  • User avatar
    Marco C.13 New member | Level 1
  • User avatar
    Tanya G.3 New member | Level 1
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