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Dropbox is stuck syncing after an update, what can I do?

Helpful | Level 6

I have the "Dropbox Plus" subscription and I run the client on 4 computers.

 

Yesterday (Monday, 13-Jan-2020) I signed onto my desktop (which is always on) and has a full local sync of my dropbox that a number of new files added Saturday had big red Xs on them -- JPEGs I had scanned Saturday and which were in sync to my laptop on Sunday morning.

I checked my other workstation (also always on) and Dropbox wasn't even running.  I launched it, and it pretty immediately ran a "one time update".   Once this completed, it appeared to go into a full-on sync mode, indexing thousands of files and downloading thousands more (my total dropbox footprint is ~17k files, 600 GB of data).  This has been running for 24 hours without making any apparent progress, despite the drive being materially in sync with my first workstation (using BeyondCompare to check).  Plus not enough system activity to indicate any actual indexing or download was taking place.

I paused workstation 2, uninstalled dropbox on workstation 1 and reinstalled it.  Just prior to this, workstation 1 was "stuck" uploading 2 files and downloading 7 files, which it had been on since last night.

Workstation 1 now shows "indexing" for around 8k files and "downloading" for 9k files.  Trouble is, Resource Monitor doesn't show disk activity or network activity for that kind of activity.

What's going on?  I was perfectly in sync as of Saturday morning and over the last 24 hours it's gotten bad.

Oddly, my laptop ("laptop 1") is apparently fine, showing more or less normal sync status as far as I can tell (and is on build 88.4.172).

160 Replies

Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Dropboxer

Hey @Shawn B.14, I hope you're well today!

After some updates or reinstallations, it would be expected that the desktop app does a quick reindex of your files. However, the stuck syncing seems to be the problem here.

Can you try the following steps to see if they do the trick:

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in your system tray.
  2. Click the profile pic/initials icon in the top right of the window.
  3. Choose "Preferences..."
  4. Go to the "Account" tab.
  5. While holding the Space bar key, click "Fix Hardlinks".

If you don't see any progress in the syncing status after a short period of time, please try the above again but instead choose "Fix permissions".

You can try this with both devices, but I'd suggest trying the steps with workstation 2 first.

Let me know how it goes!


Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Helpful | Level 6

I did both these steps without any apparent change in sync/indexing status or any change in system load which would indicate actual indexing or sync activity.

If anything, I'd say it's gotten slightly worse as the "indexing" count is up to 8k now.

What's the next troubleshooting step, an "advanced reinstall"?

 

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Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Dropboxer

Hey @Shawn B.14, apologies for the delayed reply here!

Can you let me know if you've had any progress with the syncing at all?

Usually, if incorrect permissions are the cause of stuck syncing, applying the fixes mentioned above would allow syncing to progress so it may be expected that the number increases for a time while the app works away.

Keep me posted - thanks!


Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Helpful | Level 6

I haven't had any material improvement, including after performing a clean install (called an "Advanced Install" in one of the Dropbox tech documents).

My primary workstation ("workstation 1") is stuck at "Uploading 1 file, Downloading 7 files".  My secondary workstation ("workstation 2") is stuck at indexing ~9k files, uploading 1, and downloading 10.9k files.

One thing I've noticed on both systems is that one of the Dropbox.exe processes is stuck at maximum single-threaded CPU performance.  Also, on both systems browsing within Windows File Explorer, the sync icon labels are extremely slow to appear and right-click menus for folders are also heavily delayed.  But none of the dropbox processes seemt to be doing any meaningful networking or disk-related tasks, it's all CPU.

It really feels like there's some kind of bug/

One thing I'd like to know is:

What are the files stuck in downloading/uploading status on workstation 1?  How can I get this information?

Also, is there any way to determine what my install/build history was or at least the release history and when I might have been expected to have automatically been updated to build 88.4.172?  When is the next build release scheduled?

The only good news I can report is that I appear to at least gain synced files from other computers; I created a new folder and text document as a test, and these were synced to workstation 1.  They have NOT appeared on Workstation 2, however, which has a backlog that doesn't seem to be abating, even after days.

I'd be happy to work with someone in a higher level of tech support (no insult to you).  I am an IT consultant by trade, so I have better than average computer skills/knowledge, not the usual consumer.

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Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Dropboxer

Thanks for all the detail @Shawn B.14!

To try and see which files are being uploaded/downloaded, can you open the Dropbox folder in your File explorer and see if there are any folders or files with the blue syncing icon?

The folder where files are being uploaded/downloaded within should be showing the syncing icon, so hopefully that will narrow this down a bit.

For the build history, I'm afraid you wouldn't be able to find that info for your specific installation, however you can see the releases and dates from here.

I don't have any info to share at the moment for when the next update will be released, but the page linked above is updated with the info when it's released.

Just to check one last setting within the desktop app itself, can you let me know if the bandwidth settings are limited at all?

We may need to have a look into some device specific info for further investigation, would you mind if I reached out to your email linked with your profile if this is needed?

Let me know what you find!


Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Helpful | Level 6

Thanks for your continuing support.

I ask about the upload/download history/status/logging because the sync icons on my system have suddenly become glacial to appear when browsing my folders.  Folders with large files can take tens of minutes to show sync icons, making it an ineffective way to find which files are in sync limbo.

I have the bandwidth limits in all my dropbox installs set to unlimited, and as I mentioned before, Resource Monitor on my workstations doesn't show any Dropbox process doing any meaningful disk or networking work, either.  They're not maxed out except for single-CPU core utilization.

Feel free to contact me via my email linked to my profile.  Thanks again for your assistance.

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Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Helpful | Level 5

Hey @Shawn B.14!

I'm having the exact same problem here! 

Did you find out anything  that helps to solve this situation?

I've tried both "Fix permissions" and "Fix hardlinks", and apparently neither did work.

I'm currently working in a team project and I don't get any updates from my coworkers, althought I receive their notifications.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Helpful | Level 6

No solution so far.

It's pure speculation, but I believe that the "no more symlinks" change is probably tied to some big change in sync code in Dropbox and not all the bugs are worked out yet.

One of my workstations never got through the apparent "sync" backlog and didn't take any new files.  The other shows 1 uploading, 7 download, and does apparently still sync.

 

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Re: Dropbox wonky after 88.4.172 upgrade

Helpful | Level 6

I have the same problem after the "one time update"

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Dropbox is stuck syncing after an update, what can I do?
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