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Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

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Level 1

Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

Here's the message that I get:

Couldn't start Dropbox.
This is usually because of permission error. Storing your home folder on a network share can also cause an error.

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Level 2

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

Had the same problem and tried all steps in above without success. The Mac said that I didn't have permission to do any changes. I think it is because I have migrated files across from a PC and I have seen similar issues before. However, I resolved it by in the home folders information section, instead of changing permissions  unlock the folder in the general section at the top showing free space etc. and that worked for me. 

19 Replies
Level 1

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

I've just installed dropbox and got the same error message when I tried to start it.

Dropboxer

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

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 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 X 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.

Level 1

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

Sorry Kaz, I don't understand you answer. I can't open the Dropbox application so I can't get past step 1 in your instructions.

Dropboxer

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

@ John, could you try the following? It is another way to repair your permissions:

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".

Level 1

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

I had the same problem after migrating data and settings to a new Mac. I tried to uninstall and then reinstall Dropbox, but still no luck. What finally did the trick was removing the Dropbox application settings. Instructions are in the Dropbox Help Center, under For Advanced Users:

https://www.dropbox.com/help/41?path=manage_account

Level 1

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

Thanks Kathy - I tried that but it couldn't find the folder. Thanks Kaz, your solution worked fine.

Level 1

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

@Kathy T.
Thanks
Worked for me

Level 1

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

Thanks Kathy - worked for me!

Re: Can't start dropbox because of permission error.

i followed Kaz' second suggestion and unfortunately after i chose "Make me the owner" i got over a hundred error messages about faulty extensions/permissions during the processing period (which was many minutes in duration).  i tried repairing the permissions in disk utility after restarting holding command-r, the computer froze during the process, and now it won't boot up at all.