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Dropbox doesn’t start because of permissions error

Dropbox doesn’t start because of permissions error

New member | Level 2

I just downloaded Dropbox on my macOS Catalina, but after putting in my password to allow Dropbox to change permissions, I get an error message saying, “Couldn’t start Dropbox. This is usually because of a permissions error. Storing your home folder on a network share can also cause an error.” I have done everything I could find it previous threads, including turning off iCloud Drive sync and uninstalling and reinstalling the program multiple times. I’m at a loss for what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions?

1 Reply 1

Re: Dropbox doesn’t start because of permissions error

Not applicable

Hello @Allisondavis0711!


This often happens with users who may have migrated old data and settings from another Mac to their current computer.

Operating system permissions prevent files from being viewed or edited by unauthorized logins. Permissions can be set in any number of ways and can be restored manually through a fairly simple process. Please note that it is very important to follow these steps specifically as failure to do so may result in other issues. On a Mac OS you can do the following:

1) Make sure the Dropbox desktop application is running

2) Click on the Dropbox icon in your menu bar and then click on the gear in the Notifications panel

3) Select 'Preferences'

4) Click on the 'Account' tab

5) Hold down the 'Option' key

6) Click on the 'Fix Permissions' button (make sure you're still holding down the 'Option' key.

This will allow Dropbox access to your home folder, Dropbox folder, and any required settings.


If you can't get the Desktop app to open, then follow these steps below:

1) Select your home directory (the folder named after your computer's login) and press Command-I to "Get Info"
2) Scroll down to the "Sharing & Permissions" section at the bottom of the Get Info window
3) If everything is grayed out, click on the gold lock at the bottom right of the window. You'll be prompted for your login password. You'll need admin access to edit the permissions. If you are unable to unlock these privileges, talk to your system administrator to give you access to this folder.
4) Your name should already be on the list of sharing and permissions. If you aren't listed, then add yourself by clicking the + button.
5) Once your user is added, click your name and then click the gear menu at the bottom middle of the window, and choose "Make me the owner". If this option is grayed out you can skip to step 6.
6) Click the gear again and choose "Apply to enclosed items".


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