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Dropbox Won't Install Because of Broken Path

Explorer | Level 3

I help someone with their computers, and I'm having a problem installing Dropbox on a Mac Pro (trashcan tower) running the latest updates of Mac Mojave. I think I know what the problem is, so I’l explain below. But first, when trying to install, these are the messages I get.

 

dropbox-johnsmith75-change-permissions.pngScreen Shot 2020-05-21 at 4.34.34 PM.png


Here’s what I think is happening.


This person has a laptop and a desktop. The laptop has a home user folder named “johnsmith”. The desktop had a home user folder named “johnsmith75". Because of some programs I was running, I had the need to give the user folders the same names so that path names would remain consistent between computers. So, on the desktop, I renamed the user folder to “johnsmith” to make it the same as the laptop. Thus the name is no longer “johnsmith75”.

 

I renamed the folder using the instructions found at the following link. Basically, it just involves creating a second user admin account, logging in as that, renaming the user folder of johnsmith75 to johnsmith, then logging back in to the johnsmith account and deleting the second admin account.
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201548

 

So the fact that Dropbox is referencing johnsmith75 makes me think that somehow there’s a path variable lying around that Dropbox is reading, giving it the old name that no longer exists. Thus when it tries to change permissions on the johnsmith75 folder, this folder no longer exists and the error occurs, preventing Dropbox from running.

 

I have double-checked and verified that the username and the home directory are indeed “johnsmith”. I can also report that I haven’t had any other problems for at least 7 or 8 months. All other programs work as they did before. I’m not receiving any other error messages related to the path “johnsmith75”.

 

Can you advise on how to work around this problem or is this a bug that can be fixed?

 

I also have the option of submitting this directly to Dropbox support (it's a paid account) but thought I'd give the community a crack at it first.

 

The contents of the log file referenced in the error message above are below. It looks like appdata and dropbox_path are both getting set incorrectly, referencing johnsmith75 in the path names.

 

 

bn.BUILD_KEY: Dropbox
bn.VERSION: 97.4.467
bn.constants.WINDOWS_SHELL_EXT_VERSION: 37
bn.is_frozen: True
machine_id: bb0c56cb-fc9f-5319-a526-ab78f15d1003
pid: 40982
ppid: 1
uid: 501
user_info: pwd.struct_passwd(pw_name='johnsmith', pw_passwd='********', pw_uid=501, pw_gid=20, pw_gecos='John Smith', pw_dir='/Users/johnsmith', pw_shell='/bin/bash')
effective_user_info: pwd.struct_passwd(pw_name='johnsmith', pw_passwd='********', pw_uid=501, pw_gid=20, pw_gecos='John Smith', pw_dir='/Users/johnsmith', pw_shell='/bin/bash')
euid: 501
gid: 20
egid: 20
group_info: grp.struct_group(gr_name='staff', gr_passwd='*', gr_gid=20, gr_mem=['root', '_fsvpn', '_serialnumberd'])
effective_group_info: grp.struct_group(gr_name='staff', gr_passwd='*', gr_gid=20, gr_mem=['root', '_fsvpn', '_serialnumberd'])
DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH: None
cwd: '/'
     real_path='/'
           	mode=0o40755	uid=0	gid=0
     parent	mode=0o40755	uid=0	gid=0
HOME: '/Users/johnsmith'
appdata: '/Users/johnsmith75/.dropbox/instance1'
         real_path='/Users/johnsmith75/.dropbox/instance1'
               	not found
         parent	not found
dropbox_path: '/Users/johnsmith75/Dropbox'
              real_path='/Users/johnsmith75/Dropbox'
                    	not found
              parent	not found
sys_executable: '/Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/MacOS/Dropbox'
                real_path='/Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/MacOS/Dropbox'
                      	mode=0o100755	uid=501	gid=20
                parent	mode=0o40755	uid=501	gid=20
trace.__file__: '/Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/Resources/python-packages.zip/dropbox/client/ui/common/boot_error.pyc'
                real_path='/Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/Resources/python-packages.zip/dropbox/client/ui/common/boot_error.pyc'
                      	not found
                parent	not found
tempdir: '/var/folders/43/bzdt6b2j57j3r4fcff28ngym0000gn/T'
         real_path='/private/var/folders/43/bzdt6b2j57j3r4fcff28ngym0000gn/T'
               	mode=0o40700	uid=501	gid=20
         parent	mode=0o40755	uid=501	gid=20
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "dropbox/client/main.pyc", line 1272, in safe_makedirs
  File "os.pyc", line 211, in makedirs
  File "os.pyc", line 211, in makedirs
  File "os.pyc", line 221, in makedirs
PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied: '/Users/johnsmith75'

During handling of the above exception, another exception occurred:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "dropbox/client/main.pyc", line 7716, in main_startup
  File "dropbox/client/main.pyc", line 2936, in run
  File "dropbox/client/main.pyc", line 1717, in startup_low
  File "dropbox/client/main.pyc", line 1299, in safe_makedirs
  File "os.pyc", line 211, in makedirs
  File "os.pyc", line 211, in makedirs
  File "os.pyc", line 221, in makedirs
PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied: '/Users/johnsmith75'

 

 

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions
Highlighted

Re: Dropbox Won't Install Because of Broken Path

Super User II
Super User II

The better solution is to perform a complete reinstall of the Dropbox application, following the steps that Stefanie lists in the following thread:

 

View solution in original post

2 Replies 2
Highlighted

Re: Dropbox Won't Install Because of Broken Path

Explorer | Level 3

So, I seem to have solved this in a rather unorthodox way. Through some determined use of the Terminal, I gave Dropbox what it wanted. If you're not familiar at all with Terminal, I suggest not trying this at home. And, I obviously take no responsibility if you try these things and your computer gets fried.

 

The overview of what I did is that I created the following directory that Dropbox seemed to be expecting. Notice is the name of the OLD directory before I renamed my user.

/Users/johnsmith75/

 

Then I was able to finish installing Dropbox. Once I signed in to Dropbox, I was able to choose a different location for my Dropbox folder, so I chose what I wanted all along.

/Users/johnsmith/

 

Dropbox then conveniently put itself at

/Users/johnsmith/Dropbox

 

Now I was free to delete the other the directory:

/Users/johnsmith75/

 

So what's the catch? Well, the Mac doesn't really want you futzing around in the Users directory. So some terminal jiu jitsu is needed to force the Mac to accept your changes.

sudo mkdir johnsmith75

sudo chown johnsmith:staff johnsmith75

[... and after installing Dropbox and making sure it's all working ...] sudo rm -rf johnsmith75

sudo elevates your user to the Root user, giving you all the power to do things (and the ability to do stupid things, so be very careful). You'll be prompted for your password to elevate to root.

 

chown sets the ownership and the group properly on the new directory johnsmith75. This makes the permissions the same as the johnsmith directory (which is the directory of the main user I'm running as).

 

rm -rf removes the folder johnsmith75. That -rf means recursive and forced. Meaning it will delete that folder and everything in it without so much as asking for permission or confirming that's what you really want to do. Chose the wrong folder and well, you might have just accidentally deleted an entire user, all their files, and screwed up your Mac. So yeah, proceed cautiously.

 

But these steps seem to have worked for me to get around Dropbox looking in the wrong folder. Thought I'd share in case someone came across this thread and it was helpful to them.

Highlighted

Re: Dropbox Won't Install Because of Broken Path

Super User II
Super User II

The better solution is to perform a complete reinstall of the Dropbox application, following the steps that Stefanie lists in the following thread:

 

View solution in original post

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