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Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

MickDG
Helpful | Level 6

Hi @will000, welcome to the club 😉 It is (not) good to hear there is someone with exactly the same issue. I fully understand your frustration. I too have spent countless hours trying to work my way out of this hole and receiving a zillion suggestions, that weren't doing much for the real issue.

 

FYI, current state of the incident.

  • Cause is unclear to me/support team
  • There is no fix at the moment
  • I am not syncing the Photo DB at the moment as it useless and would brick my Macbook
  • I have requested a rollback of my Photo DB to before the upgrade, that is ongoing or just finished as we speak.

Open question: If the Photo DB is rolled back to before the issue, how do I get it back on my Macbook? I do not dare to kick of the Sync process as I might get the same problem back. So that question is open and at Dropbox support at the moment. I'll keep you posted on how I go

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

will000
Explorer | Level 4

Hi @MickDG,

It's really good to hear I am not alone in this - and I was relieved (to some extent) in finding this thread. I feel awfully sorry for you having dealt with this for several months already!

It's interesting that this could be caused by the Mac Photos library. A few questions that you (or others) might have the answers to:

1) How sure are you/Dropbox support that this is indeed a problem with syncing the Mac Photos library? Are any other files affected?

2) If you stop syncing Photos (I assume by unchecking it under Selective Sync?), do the rest of your files all sync okay and Dropbox works normally?

3) My Photos library is now at least 100Gb larger than it was this morning. I have no idea where that extra bulk has come from nor how to remove it - so will likely need to delete the whole thing and restore my library from a backup. Did you consider restoring it from iCloud, or an alternative backup? How come you opted for the rollback?

RE your open question: my only suggestion would be to use the download option on Dropbox.com? Think that zips it and downloads it like a normal file. Although guessing it would be huge!

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

Fiona
Dropboxer

Hello everyone! 

Thanks for posting about your experience with library files @will000. Sorry to hear about this. 

Reading through this discussion you might see Dropboxer's responses explaining the issue with syncing live library files or container files. In general, we recommend that people do not sync live databases with Dropbox.

Live databases have remote access methods, so practically there is no need for them to be synced. There is a workaround for these types of files to sync with Dropbox in this discussion as well. I need to point out though that if not accessed the right way, these files can generate file conflicts and other problems. I can discuss about this more if you wish. 

I believe we first need to address the high CPU and memory usage. Please read about this here

I am here to answer any questions and help you more. 

Thank you! 


Fiona
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

MickDG
Helpful | Level 6

Hi Fiona,

As both Will and myself have mentioned: We synced our DB's for years and years with no issue. Clearly something has changed and for 3 months Dropbox is not capable of finding the root cause, or can't be bothered fixing it. (you tell me which one it is)

Remote Access Methods: Not true! If I run my Photo DB on Dropbox only, everytime you click a photo in Photo app it will download that particular photo locally before you can see it or do any edits. So if I click a photo, I will be waiting 10 seconds or so before it does anything. And so for each Photo I click. That is not working.

We do not need to fix the High CPU usage, that is just a result of the endless bloated syncing. The issue is that the library grows, until it bricks your laptop.

FYI, everytime Apple came out with a major release, the Dropbox was syncing for a few days with high CPU, but after two days or so, everything was back in sync and you were good for another year or so. Not this time.

Thanks for the offer to answer more questions, there is one in my previous post: How can I get my restored Photo Library without using the Sync process (as the root cause is unknown, and as you said yourself, we should not sync DB's with Dropbox, how do I get access to it?) Please make it available for normal download please, so I can get my files back in my own hands. Note, the normal download option doesn't work as it wants to ZIP a 400-500GB file and fails.

Thank you

 

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

Fiona
Dropboxer

There is the big change that is affecting symlinks and their usage with Dropbox. Read about this here please. This is further affecting these files. The following discussions include more information regarding pre-existing to this change issues, with this filetype. 

I think some super user's responses in these thread are very informative. 

Hope this is helpful to you. 

 


Fiona
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below. 
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Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

will000
Explorer | Level 4

Hi @Fiona,

Unfortunately this is still not helpful. Dropbox has corrupted my whole folder (and therefore every single file I use/have ever used) and caused it to multiply in size to the point that my computer does not work. This is not an isolated incident, as is clear from this thread.

This is extremely serious and deserves a proper investigation, with an answer from one of your software engineers - as opposed to just repeating hear-say from other users.

@MickDG it would be really useful if you had any info on the following question: 

- If you stop syncing the Mac Photos library (I assume by unchecking it under Selective Sync?), do the rest of your files all sync okay and Dropbox works normally?

Cheers!

 

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

MickDG
Helpful | Level 6

Hi @will000

I use v88.4.172 at the moment ( I used different versions, beta's etc.)

This is stable for my normal files like Office files, PDF's etc. 

I have disabled (selective sync) my photo library.

I do not have a photo library on my Macbook atm, as I had to delete it locally, as my Macbook was bricked (but you know that)

I agree with your remark about pointing us to other threads etc. If it is so simple, why do we do not get an answer from Support. Pointing us to some other forum/post is like sitting in a restaurant, not enjoying the meal and the Chef points you to the recipe and says, you try making it yourself... That is not what you pay for do you?

Small update in my case:

My Library grew to over 500GB. They have restored a version from before the upgrade. This is below 300GB. There is almost a 250GB difference!

Now to get it on my laptop, the question @Fiona did not answer. And NO Downloading doesn't work. ZIP Failed is the error I get.

@Fiona, any suggestions? Use Transfer? 

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

will000
Explorer | Level 4

Thanks @MickDG ,

Very helpful to know. I have now deleted my photo library (something I wouldn't have wanted to do in a million years) and after an hour or so of indexing, Dropbox seems to have calmed down.

It appears, although I will have to verify this by performing a diff with my last healthy backup, that my normal documents are now syncing as usual. If that is the case then this issue could be summed up as such:

- A recent change in Dropbox for mac OS Catalina means that it is now incompatible with syncing the Photos library.

- Not only is it incompatible, but the failure mode is a destructive and irreversible 'bloat' in the size of the Photos library to the point where all space is used up on the computer SSD, the computer is bricked and the library must be deleted.

I'm fortunate that I have recent secondary and tertiary hard backups (Dropbox being my primary) which will hopefully get me back to square one again.  You (@MickDG ), on the other hand, have had to go through months of stress to recover yours - and I fear that others might never get theirs back. There are several threads online that recommend using Dropbox as a viable backup for Mac Photos, so we are certainly not alone.

It is extremely disappointing that Dropbox do not take this bug seriously. No software update should have an incompatibilty that results in the corruption of data or such a fundamental impact on computer performance. If it really is just too much to get an engineer to patch this, then customers should at least be proactively made aware of the consequences. At a bare minimum, support should actively help diagnose these issues instead of asking users to do the dirty work for them. It is disgraceful.

I wish you the best of luck in getting your photos back. And thanks again for your help!

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

Fiona
Dropboxer

Hey @MickDG

I understand that you have gotten all the relevant information from the colleague I escalated your case to, as I see the case open. Please let me know if you need further explanations on your case and I will be happy to add notes to it so we can clarify things further via email. 

I cannot share the info shared via email here, as we respect your privacy and also the issue you faced is not really relevant to this thread. 

Also thank you for your feedback regarding the resources provided above. 

Let me know if you need my notes. I am always here to help any way that I can. 


Fiona
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below. 
:white_check_mark: Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.
:arrows_counterclockwise: Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

Re: Syncing issues in macOS Catalina

MickDG
Helpful | Level 6

Hi @will000 FYI, DropBox support has restored my Library from before the upgrade.

I have restarted the sync for the library (once) to pull the new database in.

Size is almost half from after all the issues. So this is good. But....


Photos app sees the library but didn't see any pictures (this is fixed, let me explain in a sec)

All albums are gone

All tags/keywords are gone

 

With help from Apple, which is the polar opposite from the support from Dropbox, I was able to get the photos working again in the Photos app. (I had to move all photos manually from Masters to Originals) This was all fixed on the phone within 30 minutes, waiting time on the phone zero(!) minutes.

So I am happy with Apple, as at least you can call someone if you have an issue for support. Will call them later this week to see if we can get the tags/keywords back somehow. (note that last year I had a weird mail issue, same thing, called, got someone on the phone straightaway, fixing took a few days, but they were very commited to fix it asap)

Let me know how you are doing.

Need more support?