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Single file with red 'X' won't sync

Explorer | Level 4

I'm having a maddening problem since yesterday: without anything having changed in my system, my workflow or my files, all of a sudden there's this one file that refuses to sync. When I open the Dropbox app, it starts syncing and says something like "10 seconds left", then the time starts increasing: "50 seconds left", "5 minutes left", all the way up to "100+ days left", until Dropbox finally gives up and, without any error messages, simply displays a red "X" next to my file. All my other files are being synced correctly.

I have tried restarting my computer, restarting Dropbox, disabling MS antivirus and firewall, deleting the file from both my hard drive and the Dropbox website and copying it back agan, literally everything. Also, the file is not being used at the time I'm trying to sync it, there are no strange characters in the file name, and the file permissions on my local machine are the same as the other files that are being synced properly.

Funnily enough, I CAN upload the file manually through the Dropbox website, but it will still refuse to sync even when the exact same file is both on the website and my local Dropbox folder.

I am going insane here. I have no idea why this specific file is an issue all of a sudden. I haven't found any case even remotely similar to mine in the forums. Has anybody bumped into this issue before?

5 Replies

Re: Single file with red 'X' won't sync

Experienced Collaborator | Level 11

Hi @LauraHunt!

Sorry to hear of the issue, I know from personal experience how annoying it can be.

There are a few pointers in Dropbox help as to what might be causing the red X overlay icon:

  • Invalid filenames (files can’t sync if their names have certain characters or symbols)
  • Permissions errors (meaning you don’t have access to shared content, or a computer system permission)
  • File changing very rapidly (meaning multiple edits in quick succession)
  • Your Dropbox account is out of storage space (which means you can't upload to it)

Would it be possible that there were invalid characters in the filenames? Dropbox website supports some characters which the Windows client doesn't. You might be able to check for unsupported characters also using the page https://www.dropbox.com/bad_files_check or by first clicking on Dropbox icon in your taskbar, then clicking on your Dropbox profile picture and finally clicking on 'View sync issues'.

Hope these help!

Joonas

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Re: Single file with red 'X' won't sync

Experienced Collaborator | Level 11

Hi again @LauraHunt,

Sorry, I had read your message too quickly - you had already checked for weird characters. My bad. You said you have tried deleting the files on both sides - have you tried moving the file out just on your desktop? Does that change sync online so that the file is removed there too? Or does it still stay visible online? Is the behaviour same if you just delete it online, how does the deletion sync on your desktop (if at all)?

Joonas

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Re: Single file with red 'X' won't sync

Explorer | Level 4

Hi Juunas,

Unfortunately, I've tried both solutions and no difference at all. If I upload the file to the website, the Dropbox client will try and fail to download it to my desktop. If I do it the other way around and copy the file to my local Dropbox folder (I have a security copy on another folder in my hard drive), the client will try and fail to upload it.

ok, so literally as I was writing this, I tried again; I deleted the file from both locations, moved a security copy of the file from another folder in my computer to my local Dropbox folder, and NOW it worked. I swear I have tried this so many times before, both ways, to no avail whatsoever.

Maybe it was some weird hiccup, maybe cache related? Who knows! Thanks so much for trying to help me out here, Juunas. Whatever it was, I can now breathe again.

Best regards,

Laura

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Re: Single file with red 'X' won't sync

Experienced Collaborator | Level 11

Hi @LauraHunt,

Great to hear you got the problem fixed! Have a nice weekend.

Joonas

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Re: Single file with red 'X' won't sync

Explorer | Level 4

Just wanted to let you know that unfortunately, it's happened again. I worked on my files, fired up the Dropbox desktop app in order to back up my changes, and everything synced fine except for that one file again.

Like I did before, I copied the file to a separate folder on my hard drive, I then deleted it from both my local Dropbox folder and the website, and then I copied the file back to my local Dropbox folder from the separate folder in which I had previously copied it to. Then and only then it synced.

At least this works, but it's not the most convenient of solutions...

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