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Desktop client stuck a "Syncing..."

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Desktop client stuck a "Syncing..."

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Edit #2 tldr: Dropbox on Ubuntu works fine on fresh install, but quickly decides every file is "unwatched" and refuses to sync anything.

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Hey folks —

 

I have Dropbox v100.4.409 installed on an Ubuntu 18.04 machine (64-bit). My dropbox folder is on an external 2TB Seagate hard drive (Ext4).

 

The problem is simple: I turn open Dropbox and the status remains "Syncing..." indefinitely. It fails to upload/download new documents. It does, however, immediately start using a huge amount of CPU power (110%, according top).

 

I had this issue a couple days ago. I restarted dropbox, restarted my computer, unlinked & relinked... Eventually, I fixed it by completely uninstalling dropbox (including deleting the hidden data folders) and re-installing. [I didn't delete my local files because I don't want to re-download 300 GB of files. I did the little switcheroo thing where you rename your original Dropbox folder "Dropbox B", let Dropbox create a new folder, then rename again.] It took a few hours for Dropbox to index all the files, but then it finished up, everything looked good with little check marks etc., I thought i was in the clear.

 

I came back today to do some file management, and the problem is back. I haven't changed anything on Dropbox in the past two days, so I am assuming that some file/folder is causing the issue. I've seen people have similar problems when they have a large number of files, but I'm around 60k, well below the 300k limit, and also I haven't been moving things around. One post mentions problems when your file structure is more than five levels deep, but I've been using Dropbox on fathoms-deep file structures for years without a problem. Other posts mention that when they re-link their account, they're able to identify the specific file that's causing trouble, but when I re-installed earlier everything just looked fine.

 

Anyway: What else should I do to try and identify the problematic file/folder, or is there some other Dropbox syncing limitation that I might be running into?

 

Edit: Using 's answer from here (plus further info from github and StackOverflow resources), I have identified a possible issue. The command

i=0; IFS=$'\n'; for a in `ls -R1 /path/to/Dropbox`; do ((++i)); done; echo $i

spits out 70916 — i.e. all of my Dropbox files I guess. (And if I run dropbox from the command line, I get the same "Unable to monitor entire Dropbox folder hierarchy" error reported in the StackOverflow post.) However, I've set inotify's max_user_watches and max_queued_events both to 100000, to no avail!

 

Edit #2: I have tried two new things. I checked on filename length, since the Dropbox help pages indicate that they are capped at 255 characters. Using the command

find -exec basename '{}' ';' | egrep '^.{150,}$'

I found four files with more than 150 chars, but none with more than 200 chars.

 

Secondly... While I was having the syncing issue, the command (pulled from 's post)

(IFS=$'\n';for i in `ls -R1 /path/to/Dropbox`; do if [[ "$i" =~ ":" ]]; then cd `echo "$i" | sed "y/:/\//"`; echo -n "In folder: "; pwd; dropbox filestatus; fi; done) | grep -vi "up to date" | grep -vi ".dropbox:" | grep -vi ".dropbox.cache:"

indicated that every single file in my Dropbox folder was unwatched. I uninstalled/re-installed Dropbox again. It indexed my files, indicated that all was good! I was able to add a new file and have it sync. I re-checked for unwatched files, it indicated a number of .DS_Store, a couple of badly formed names, but nothing particularly unusual. However, clicking around between folders in Nautilus seemed to break it again. It didn't indicate that there was a problem, but the checkmarks all went away and adding a new file didn't generate any syncing response. Closed Dropbox, re-opened, and the same problem was back, all files are being watched, nothing is syncing. <angry face>

 

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions
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Re: Desktop client stuck a "Syncing..."

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Okey dokey, I seem to have fixed it. Here's a solution post.

 

Symptoms: Upon start-up, Dropbox was stuck perpetually syncing upon start-up. Every single file was "unwatched". This persisted through re-install. Fiddling with Inotify settings had no effect. However, a clean install, downloading select files to a clean Dropbox/ folder, worked as long as I deleted the .dropbox.cache/ folder right after setting up syncing.

 

Diagnosis: I believe the issue was that I had a full backup of my computer on Dropbox, which included hidden Dropbox settings files. I normally keep Dropbox on an external hard drive; it includes a directory called computer-backup/, where I periodically use rsync to backup my entire local disk. In a recent backup I copied hidden files as well as normal ones. This worked for the first upload, but I think after that the hidden dropbox files within computer-backup/ were causing chaos. This persisted on a clean install because when Dropbox started downloading, it included those hidden files in the list of files to download, that's why deleting .dropbox.cache/ helped.

 

My solution:

1) I fully uninstalled Dropbox

2) I removed both .dropbox and .dropbox.cache/ from my external disk Dropbox/ folder

3) I removed all hidden files from computer-backup/ (both on my external drive and on dropbox.com)

4) I re-installed Dropbox & re-aligned the Dropbox location with the Dropbox/ folder on my external drive

 

I did a couple of restarts, some general fooling around, and this fix seems to be stable.

View solution in original post

4 Replies 4
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Re: Desktop client stuck a "Syncing..."

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @mayhplumb; welcome to our Community!

 

First off, thanks for your detailed description of the issue you're having and the steps you've already took to amend it.

 

If you've ensured that there's no firewall, antivirus or perhaps a VPN/proxy setting that might be causing this, I'd recommend a clean, advanced re-install at this point. 

 

Please let me know how you get on! 



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


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Re: Desktop client stuck a "Syncing..."

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Hi Walter,

 

I completed the advanced reinstall and the problem has persisted (i.e. Dropbox initially started indexing files, but as soon as I restarted Dropbox it was stuck again). The main difference between the "advanced reinstall" and a normal reinstall is making sure the permissions are all in order, I guess?

 

Things that came up:

- nautilus-dropbox could not be uninstalled as it was never installed; as far as I can tell, nautilu-sdropbox is no longer part of the normal dropbox package for ubuntu?

- chattr identified a variety of symlinks

- when I went to move Dropbox to a new location, it got stuck at 99% moved; I had to quit the application to move forward

Highlighted

Re: Desktop client stuck a "Syncing..."

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Alright, another update. Progress is being made, I think.

 

1) I did ANOTHER full reinstall (getting very bored of this process).

 

2) I left Dropbox linked to the default location on my local disk. I changed the selective sync settings to include ONLY an empty test folder I had previously made using the web interface. Dropbox successfully settled having downloaded that one test folder + the three files that are loose in my Dropbox folder.

 

3) I restarted Dropbox. The syncing error was back. All the files were unwatched. [I take this to mean that there is something going on with Dropbox, not with my files.]

 

4) On a mere whim, I deleted the .dropbox.cache folder that is in the main Dropbox folder. I was surprised but delighted to see that the problem went away! I restarted Dropbox again to check — all good!

 

5) I moved the Dropbox location to my external disk. Restarted again — still all good!

 

6) I paused syncing. Changed the selected sync preferences to include my normal range of foldes.

 

7) I quit Dropbox. I did the rename dance to make my original Dropbox folder line up with Dropbox's location. I deleted .dropbox.cache from my original Dropbox folder. I restarted Dropbox. Sadly, my problem is back. Whomp whomp.

Highlighted

Re: Desktop client stuck a "Syncing..."

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Okey dokey, I seem to have fixed it. Here's a solution post.

 

Symptoms: Upon start-up, Dropbox was stuck perpetually syncing upon start-up. Every single file was "unwatched". This persisted through re-install. Fiddling with Inotify settings had no effect. However, a clean install, downloading select files to a clean Dropbox/ folder, worked as long as I deleted the .dropbox.cache/ folder right after setting up syncing.

 

Diagnosis: I believe the issue was that I had a full backup of my computer on Dropbox, which included hidden Dropbox settings files. I normally keep Dropbox on an external hard drive; it includes a directory called computer-backup/, where I periodically use rsync to backup my entire local disk. In a recent backup I copied hidden files as well as normal ones. This worked for the first upload, but I think after that the hidden dropbox files within computer-backup/ were causing chaos. This persisted on a clean install because when Dropbox started downloading, it included those hidden files in the list of files to download, that's why deleting .dropbox.cache/ helped.

 

My solution:

1) I fully uninstalled Dropbox

2) I removed both .dropbox and .dropbox.cache/ from my external disk Dropbox/ folder

3) I removed all hidden files from computer-backup/ (both on my external drive and on dropbox.com)

4) I re-installed Dropbox & re-aligned the Dropbox location with the Dropbox/ folder on my external drive

 

I did a couple of restarts, some general fooling around, and this fix seems to be stable.

View solution in original post

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