This on reddit with a GIF recording of the issue.
I recorded this to show how often Dropbox is modifying a file. Drop is not syncing any of my files at this time.
When shutting down Dropbox it goes to virtually nothing. It's the same drive as the OS so you see some OS activity.
This happens on all of my machines and I will not use Dropbox Windows client until this is resolved. I may cancel my paid account over this. I could have missed this issue completely if I were not working on a tool. This will destroy an SSD.
I can confirm I see no such disk IO to any of the disks in my desktop nor laptops, so we have this localized to a specific user account. The odd thing is that your tool claims the journal is being created once, edited twice in succession, then created again. That's not right. Either Dropbox is corrupt, something on your machine is interfering with Dropbox operation, or the tool you're using is buggy.
Try unlinking your Dropbox and setting up an empty Dropbox account with no content, see if you see the same behavior.
I attached the File System Watcher to the Dropbox folder and there is zero activity. Unlinking my Dropbox folder isn't a good idea because I have a lot of stuff in there and I have not had good results when relinking to a folder that already contains files. However, I will perform some tests in a virtual machine.
Unlinking doesn't remove anything locally, it just forces a full reindex when you relink. Dropbox never removes files on a relink. To each their own, but rule of halves applies; cutting your problem domain into separate, testable halves lets you iterate to find the causative factor. Lateral testing is further confirmation the problem is unique, but doesn't help find the source. If you're having relinking issues, too then something else may very well be going on.
I think I have identified the issue. When Dropbox gets denied access to a file it appears that Dropbox continues to try repeatedly and quickly. This particular issue is still present on my home computer.
Dropbox appears to be stuck on a sqllite DB lock file. It appears that Visual Studio is locking the file, but if Dropbox is going to act this way for locked files then I can't use the software. It's way too much disk activity.
After closing Visual Studio and confirming the file was n o longer locked, Dropbox continued thinking the file was locked. Dropbox would not behave normally until I deleted the file. Technically, the file should have been synced, not deleted.
I agree with that. I use GitHub as well, but my GitHub repos are in my Dropbox folder. Repos consist of files so there's no reason that one couldn't store their code in Dropbox since Dropbox's purpose is to sync files.
It's fine that Dropbox keeps trying to sync locked files. My complaint is that it tries too often. It should only check a locked file again after a few seconds instead of milliseconds. It's hard to believe that I woould have the only two computers with this issue. I'm leaning toward this being an issue with Dropbox. Specifically the time it waits to recheck a locked file.
I understand your concern about your drive, and of course it's not unreasonable to want to minimize that kind of wear. This appears to be a situation in which the way the Dropbox client maximizes the expeditious syncing of file changes conflicts with your specific use-case. It handles locked files fine when the locks are transient, such as during write operations, but you're using it for something very different, where locks are left in place for prolonged periods.
Typically, when editing something like a text document, the file is only locked for fractions of a second while being written-to. By the time Dropbox gets the file system event, it's probably unlocked. And if not, it'll likely be unlocked soon, so it makes sense for Dropbox to keep retrying.
Your best bet is going to be to click "pause" in the Dropbox client while you are programming, if you wish to continue using Dropbox to store your code. If you're using Github, then your code is already backed-up, so it's not strictly necessary.
Alternatively, you can suggest the sync-retry-delay feature here: https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/Dropbox/Dropbox-Features-Suggestions/idi-p/82257
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