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After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Helpful | Level 5

Hello!  I upgraded my mac OS to Catalina, and now my dropbox has gotten stuck into constantly syncing. This has remained in constant sync for 3 days now.

  • The bottom line of the dropbox menu dropdown says "Syncing 2 files."
  • But when I go into the directories of my dropbox, EVERY file in every directory has the blue circle meaning "being synced."
  • My broadband internet has no problems. 41 mbps down, and 24 mbps up.
  • I have "smart sync" turned on and most of the folders are in "online only" but there are a few that are set to local.
  • This happened quite soon after the Catalina upgrade, I can't remember if it happened immediately after it.
  • It is a quite new macbook pro 2016, all SSD.
  • I've used dropbox for many years. Currently I'm at Pro level.
  • I have dropbox running on many computers, each of which handling different parts of the overall dropbox.

Can you tell me how to get it back to normal?
THANK YOU!

Eric

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9 Replies

Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Dropboxer

Hey Eric @Joint S.!

Thanks for joining Dropbox Community and sharing your issue with us. White check mark

Usually after an update of your Operating System, many apps might need to be reinstalled and be provided with permissions again to function under the new enviroment. Have you tried that? If not, I do suggest it. 

If you have, please get back to me with screenshots of the syncing icons and the status described, as well as the version of Dropbox you have over there. 

Looking forward to troubleshooting with you, if need. 

Thanks in advance!


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


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Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Helpful | Level 5

Hi there -- thanks much!. For your first idea -- well, every single document in my entire dropbox is stuck in sync. So your idea would mean that I would have to totally reinstall every app on my system.  I really think that's not it.... BUT:

BUT -- I discovered something new. In dropbox menu, I went to the "VIEW SYNC ISSUES" command, and it listed two folders in particular that were having sync issues. they are both called "default" and are located deep in a few locations under a system a folder called "relocated items" (that may have been created due to the new macOS installation. BELOW Please see the attached screenshots  called "Sync Issues default 1" and also 2

AND, as you requested, I am also including two screenshots "Sync icons 1 and 2" of the many files and folders that are marked as permanently syncing.

sync issues default 2.png

 

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Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Helpful | Level 5

Sorry, here are the other two I mentioned, of the sync icons. (also note, one of the screenshots above got doubled.)

sync icons 1.pngsync icons 1.pngsync icons 2.pngsync icons 2.png

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Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Dropboxer

Greatly appreciate the additional info!

Since there is an issue with the system installed there, after the update of your OS, I still suggest to reinstall. Provide all the appropriate Mac permissions to Dropbox again and finally, please make sure that you have no symlinks

Let me know if the issue persists after reinstalling.  Thank you!


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


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Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Helpful | Level 5

 

Thank you! My problem has been solved.  Here is how it was solved:

  • In the last post above, the moderator said that I should basically do a full, total reinstall of dropbox.
  • You can see that she provided links to a guide on how to reinstall. 
  • One of the methods that her link offers is the way to do a reinstall BUT not to totally erase your dropbox folder... that way, you don't have to spend a full day letting your dropbox fully sync back down to your computer again.
  • BUT, I didn't like the sound of that... because, they point out in those instructions that that can create conflicts. For example, if some of those files had their contents changed between the last time your dropbox was working right and the time that you did this reinstall, then the version on your computer will be different from the version on the central dropbox cloud, and you will have strange decisions/warnings to come later.
  • SO, in my case, I felt much more comfortable doing the most basic full reinstall, which was to do this:
    • 1-- quit dropbox completely so it's not running or in your menu bars
    • 2-- totally uninstall dropbox from your computer in the official way, so you are certain it is gone
    • 3-- restart the computer.
    • 4-- After that, of course confirm that dropbox is not running or still present on the computer!
    • 5-- go to the location on your computer/hard drive where the official dropbox folder is sitting, and totally delete the whole folder and empty the trash.  (Does this make you nervous?  Theoretically all this data is present in the dropbox cloud and will come back to your computer when you sync. But if you are worried, then copy this dropbox into some totally different place, perhaps an external USB hard drive is a good idea.  But certainly somewhere easy for you to find, and not down in some system folders somewhere.)
    • Like I said, empty the trash.
    • Tell yourself "Ahh, right now my dropbox is totally uninstalled, now I will start fresh."
    • go to the dropbox website and download the newest copy of dropbox.  (If it's hard to find, the instructions the moderator posted above have an actual direct link to download it.)
    • install that dropbox and be careful about choosing what smart sync options you want.  (In my case, I do the "smart sync=online only" sync the first time and then LATER ON when the process is totally done and synced, I will change a few folders to be Local, and let them sync fully.)
    • Wait a long long time for it to totally sync down to your computer. It might take a full day or more, just depends on how much data is in your dropbox. For me, I have about 500GB in my dropbox and I have a fast fiber internet connection, and it took about 12 hours, even when it was all only the smart-sync set to Online Only.
    • When it's fully synced, celebrate and give your computer a pat on the back for the hard work it has done.
    • Now, if you did online only, you could CONSIDER, for your most important/high use directories, to right-click those and change Smart Sync to "Local."   This will set off another longish sync process.

All done!

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Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Dropboxer

So happy to know it is solved. Dart grinning face with smiling eyes

Thank you for posting the solution step by step to help others! 

You add value to our Community with your participation. Heart

Hope to see you around in another thread. 


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


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Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Helpful | Level 5

I'm having this exact same issue after upgrading to Catalina, with the exact same access issues to the "Default" folders from the "Relocated Items" folder. This folder had a red icon on it so I tried first to change permissions on it to Read and Write and later  delete it completely (after backing it up on external drive). Now dropbox, rather than being stuck on "Syncing 2  files.." , is just stuck on "Checking for changes..." instead with all status icons in the file directory perpetually syncing. 

I should mention I both have a business account and personal account synced to the computer in question and the issue only seems to affect the business account. The personal is all green ticks.  

Doing a complete reinstall and resync is not an option for me right now as I'm on a deadline and use dropbox for business. Are you able to look in to this issue further? Seems strange dropbox would try to upload the "Relocated Files/Default" folder in the first place, it's not even located in the dropbox or even root user directory but in the Shared directory of Macintosh HD?

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Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Dropboxer

Sorry to hear you're having issues with this @Klabbe.

Do you happen to have any symlinks in your account? 


@Klabbe wrote:

Seems strange dropbox would try to upload the "Relocated Files/Default" folder in the first place, it's not even located in the dropbox or even root user directory but in the Shared directory of Macintosh HD?


Symbolic links or "symlinks", occur when folders are added to Dropbox that reference directories outside of the Dropbox folder or inside of the Dropbox folder but in a different folder. Because these symlinks may reference locations where Dropbox may have limited accessibility, they can cause various issues as the one you're noticing at the moment. 

If that's indeed the case here, please have a look at the following Help Center article (specifically the 7th step)  on how to find and remove them to resume syncing:

https://help.dropbox.com/installs-integrations/desktop/high-cpu-usage 

I hope this helped to a certain extent while we're always a post away if you have any questions. Just keep us posted on your progress please!

 


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


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Re: After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days

Helpful | Level 5

Thanks for the response Walter!

After removing the Relocated Items folder completely I left it syncing over night and now dropbox now showing Up to date, and everything looks good with selective sync back to my pre-upgrade state. 

So to anyone else experiencing this issue; Removing the "Relocated Items" that catalina creates on install could be a viable option to OP's full re-install. Of course you'd have to make a call if the folder contains anything you need to keep first. More info on the folder and why it's there here: https://www.macrumors.com/guide/relocated-items/

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After my mac upgraded to Catalina, dropbox is constantly doing a sync for many days
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