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(OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

(OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

Dave H.
New member | Level 2

On my OS X 10.9.5 system I'm seeing Dropbox consume CPU whenever anything on the file system changes, regardless of whether the changed files or folders are in the Dropbox synced folders. The CPU usage is proportionate to the rate of file system changes.

When I'm running an installer that takes a long time and has high disk activity (e.g. installing a documenation update in XCode), then the Dropbox CPU usage goes through the roof and I see the Dropbox sync status change from 'up to date' to 'indexing'. For less sustained activities with less intensive file system changes, I see Dropbox just popup briefly in the list of top CPU consumers -- but it shouldn't be showing up at all (or certainly not at double digit CPU use and not for the duration of the file system activity.

My guess is that Dropbox is simply listening for file system events and reacting to each one as if it might be change in a synced file or folder. It should be ignoring fsevents that are for items outside the Dropbox folders -- but it seems not to be the case. 😞 😞

I'm on 3.0.3, but have been seeing this problem since the 2.* days.

--
Dave Hein

63 Replies 63

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

Christopher N.1
New member | Level 1

Hi Dave!

The Dropbox desktop client will only monitor changes to the Dropbox folder. Do you have any symlinks in your Dropbox folder, by any chance? If so, I'd recommend removing them, as this could be causing the high CPU usage.

Also, do you have a lot of files in your Dropbox folder? The performance of the Dropbox desktop client starts to decline when you have more than 300,000 files synced to one computer, as outlined in this Help Centre article:

https://www.dropbox.com/help/39

This is a soft limit, and depends highly on the hardware specifications of the computer running the Dropbox application. If you think this might be part of the problem, I'd recommend using Selective Sync (https://www.dropbox.com/help/175) to sync only the folders you need to work with to your computer.

Hope this helps 🙂

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

Dave H.
New member | Level 2

I don't have any symlinks in the folder. I have very few files (less than 1000).

Note: I've reported this before and gotten similar responses -- basically, the Dropbox support folks don't believe me.

I'm giving up. My workaround now is simply to avoid running Dropbox at startup and to only start it when I want to sync and then keep it stopped otherwise. Eventually I'll move my Dropbox into some other cloud sharing/syncing system and stop using Dropbox entirely.

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

Mustafa J.
New member | Level 2

I have the same problem, dropbox is simply eating most of my CPU usage all the time.
I have running OS X, 4GM Ram, i7 (DropBox Team, 35,280 files).
I re-install dropbox and re-installed my Mac, and nothing improved.
What is bothering me more, that even my files are "up-to-date" DropBox's CPU usage is 20-40%.

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

John H.7
New member | Level 1

My iMac is always running at least Google Chrome, Apple Mail, Google Drive and DropBox but Activity Monitor shows DropBox consuming more CPU time than any other app and about 10x as much as Google Drive. I'm losing faith too!

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

Pascal H.
New member | Level 1

Hi to you all,
I also have a problem with high CPU usage and temperature using dropbox.
iMac 27" i7 OSX 10.10.1, with on dropbox less then 50 files.
Seems dropbox gets stock in a loop. When I close dropbox the CPU usage/temperature comes to normale.
When I start dropbox again, slowly the CPU usage/temperature get higher. Even if I don't open any files.
Looks like a bug. Or something like a stack-overflow? Hopefully the dropbox-team will solve this soon.
Greetings from Holland,
Pascal

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

Don M.11
New member | Level 1

I have a 2015 MacBook Pro with a 2.8GHZ processor that turbo boosts to 4.0GHZ, 500GB of flash storage and 16GB of RAM.

The DROPBOX CLIENT IS CRUSHING MY MACHINE!!!!

150% of my CPU? That is obscene. That should never come to be. I am a software developer and know this is poor coding. You should be using a queuing structure or more manageable work units.

I am currently a paying client of Dropbox and syncing is a critical part of cloud storage. There are too many competitors in the market for this to be even remotely acceptable.

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

David S.293
New member | Level 1

I have same problem
MacBook Pro 10.10.3 i7,2.5 16GB
Dropbox using 100%+ of CPU.
Running crazy hot and drawing 15-20+ amps.
I have cleared cache and reinstalled.
Problem will not go away.
So far have burned hours trying to fix this.
Love Dropbox - but now have to move to another solution.

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

Simon S.28
New member | Level 1

Same for me. New notebook (13MBP, newest generation, completely fresh install). Dropbox consumes the most energy of all tools. It is also always constantly showing in the "Apps consuming significant battery" menu: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1776128/battery.png.
Currently I'm not changing any file, but dropbox is downloading one (big) changed file. This is enough to boost Dropbox CPU consumption to 44%. Common guys, this is ridiculous. We are using Dropbox business and are all traveling a lot. But I also had to shutdown dropbox when traveling and hoped this will be gone when installing on a clean system. But it's not. This is an issue and somebody please take care instead of just ignoring.

Re: (OS X) Dropbox consuming a lot of CPU whenever any file or folder is changed anywhere

Simon S.28
New member | Level 1

Activity-Monitor Screenshot: Dropbox is downloading one (1!) file, otherwise nothing currently changes in my dropbox folders. Result: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1776128/activity.png
Please also note the "CPU time" column.

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