Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Discover new ways to use Dropbox or share your tips with other users like you. Get involved




Dropbox is trying to sync files located in excluded directory (selective sync) with errors

Explorer | Level 3

I'm using Dropbox Plus with Unity projects for a long time. Everything worked fine but now there is some problem with selective sync and directories/files excluded from sync.

Unity creates 'Temp' directory inside the project's directory every time when it is launched. This directory is excluded from my Dropbox sync (selective sync).

There is one file that Unity creates in the temp directory and keeps it there until the app is closed. Dropbox is trying to sync this file (that is located in the directory that is excluded in selective sync) and can't done it because 'file is in use'. This file has red 'error' icon.
There are also other files in the Temp directory that are created while editor is used. These files have blue 'sync' icons forever and they are not synced. After Unity is closed whole 'Temp' directory is deleted.

There is also a static 'Library' directory that is not created on launch but exists always, which is also excluded via selective sync. There are many files inside this directory. Many of them are changed while working but all of them have a gray 'excluded from sync' icon and Dropbox is not displaying any messages/updates about them.

The thing is that it worked for years in this setup. Both directories ('Library' and 'Temp') were not synced.  Since yesterday's update to 89.4.278 Dropbox tries to sync 'Temp' directory contents while the Library directory is still working fine (not synced, 'excluded from sync' icon).

I've checked the preferences and both folders are still unchecked in the Selective Sync settings.

Here is the message from Dropbox:

-- Indexing 'filename'

-- Can't sync file "filename" (file is in use)

It keeps showing that and trying to sync it until Unity is closed (Unity deletes this file and whole temp directory at the moment when the Unity editor is closed). This one file in 'Temp' directory has red icon. Other files in 'Temp' directory have blue 'syncing' icons forever, until editor is closed and they whole directory is deleted.

There were no problems with this file and Temp directory until now. Dropbox was able to sync everything fine (while ignoring Library and Temp directories).

Were there any changes in the latest builds of the client so the Dropbox is trying to sync files located in the excluded directories?

I have to add that the problem exists since the update to 89.4.278

My Dropbox had some general problems with syncing after the client update yesterday (stuck on sync). After restart it was able to sync fine. After that I've started Unity like always and the problem with excluded file appeared for the first time.

I've performed 'fix hardlinks' and 'fix permissions'. Everything was resynced again and the problem still exists.

Any help will be much appreciated. At this moment Dropbox is in the 'sync' process for the whole time when the Unity is running because it tries to sync 'Temp' directory.

1 Reply

Re: Dropbox is trying to sync files located in excluded directory (selective sync) with errors


Hey @lukew, thanks for reaching out to us about this - welcome aboard!

The application you're using generally creates temporary files which are necessary for its processes. Due to their nature, selectively syncing these paths may cause syncing issues, such as the ones you’re describing. Also, the third party app can generate further files to fill in the broken pathways caused by selective sync.

As for the red icon, assuming that it’s the one with the red X on it, it means that something is wrong, and Dropbox isn’t syncing this file. You can find more info about the syncing icons here.

You can also have a look at this article which talks about ignoring files/folders in your Dropbox folder, although this is currently in beta.

For now, what you can try is to:

  1. Quit or pause the Dropbox desktop app before running the third party software, in this case Unity.
  2. Open, edit, and save Unity files/projects.
  3. Close the third party app.
  4. Re-launch the Dropbox desktop app.

I understand that this might not be the ideal reply or process you were hoping for, but I hope it helps to some extent. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Community Moderator @ Dropbox

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 Counter Clock Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

Syncing and uploads

Have a question? Our Dropbox Community is here to help!

Post your question or search for an answer below.

Learn more about using the Community by reading our Community Guidelines.

Hi there,

If you need more help you can log a ticket with our Support Team here (expected response time 24 hours), or contact us on Twitter or Facebook.

For more info on available support options, see this article.

If you found the answer to your question, please 'like' the post to say thanks to the user!

Dropbox is trying to sync files located in excluded directory (selective sync) with errors
1 Reply
Looking for Dropbox Paper users
Do you use Dropbox Paper?

If so, we're starting a design feedback group and we'd love for you to be a part of it. We have paid feedback opportunities - both in person and remotely - for English speaking users based in the US.

Interested? Take the short survey to let us know.

Take the survey
Who's talking
Top contributors to this post