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High CPU, no symlinks and less than 100,000 files.

New member | Level 2

Hello,

 

Dropbox ( 87.4.138 ) has been using a lot of CPU on my laptop (2016 Macbook Air Pro) at all times for the last few weeks. I have two dropbox accounts: A premium personal and an enterprise one with The University of Sydney.  

I have followed all the instructions on all the other posts and have no symlinks. I unlinked my enterprise account (including deleting all local files) and relinked and that seemed to help for a few hours, but now the high CPU usage is back [link removed as per Community Guidelines]

I used to have a lot of files (>500,000) in the enterprise account, but I recently zipped and deleted most of them so there should be less than 100,000 now. I think that USYD has set it up so we can recover deleted files for a year so I still get warnings that I have a lot of files in my Dropbox. 

Any ideas of how to fix this? Dropbox is making my laptop not so portable as it is chewing the battery and making it unbearably hot. 

 

Regards.

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8 Replies

Re: High CPU usage whilst idle

Dropboxer

Hi @SawyerG. Sorry to hear about this unpleasant situation you are facing. slightly frowning face

No symlinks is a good start! There can be a few possible factors playing a part in the CPU usage

  1. Large number of files in the desktop app. I know you've already worked hard on that. If you haven't already, you can use selective sync or Smart Sync, instead of zipping or deleting the files. 
  2. Third-party apps) are conflicting with Dropbox. You will find these apps running in your system and the hint to look for the one that could be causing this, is that the app in question, continually requests access to your files. Example: Package files. Read about this here
  3. Incorrect permissions for files in your Dropbox folder. All the info  you need for this. 
  4. The Dropbox folder is installed on a NAS device.Could this be the case here? 
  5. Your file system doesn’t support extended attributes.Our desktop app requires that you install the Dropbox data folder on a drive with a file system that supports extended attributes. Have you installed your Dropbox elsewhere? 

Thanks for checking these points for me and for your patience.

Looking forward to your response to help you more! tools


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


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Re: High CPU usage whilst idle

Helpful | Level 5

I have the same problem with the same version. I have checked all items in the list and it seems to apply, namely:

  • Number of file is less than 100000.
  • There was no new software installed last year or so.
    How this affects Dropbox high CPU consumption? I see no other processes in the top except Dropbox.
  • No permissions have been changed (at least manually).
    If that results Dropbox high CPU consumption it is a bug, right? Dropbox should notify the user about this situation (or log it) and re-try in some time. Actually I have sometimes situation when the file was opened/locked by another application and hence could not be synchronized by Dropbox, but that never resulted such a problem.
  • Dropbox folder is on local HDD and was not moved for years.
    Again, how this affects Dropbox high CPU consumption? If Dropbox would be just slow or unresponsive, I would understand this.
  • Filesystem is NTFS.

Symptoms: Dropbox starts consuming CPU for an extended period of time (3+ hours). Normally I exit it, and after it is started it is quiet... but then out of a sudden it starts eating CPU again (maybe on file change event).

I think checking long list of possible reasons is not very productive. On the other hand if Dropbox generates a log or could be given a command-line switch to create it, then log analysis would possibly bring a light to the problem.

Another related post: Dropbox taking up huge % CPU after update.

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Re: High CPU usage whilst idle

Dropboxer

Did you have any symlinks pointing to Dropbox by any chance? 


Fiona
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Re: High CPU usage whilst idle

Helpful | Level 5

Yes, I have symlinks poiting to Dropbox (so-called directory junctions), but they are outside Dropbox folder. For example, if "C:\Dropbox" is my dropbox folder, then I have "C:\Other" pointing to "C:\Dropbox\Documents\Other".

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Re: High CPU usage whilst idle

Dropboxer

Hi @dma_kslightly smiling face

This should be fine! White check mark

We also mention it here, that this is the right way to use symlinks. 

Are you facing any issues with your desktop app? Do you have high CPU as well?

Let me know. I'd be glad to assist! 

Thank you.  


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


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Re: High CPU usage whilst idle

Helpful | Level 5

If for "Desktop App" you mean the UI that navigates then no, I don't have any specific complains about it (5% CPU is acceptable).

I have reproduced the problem of high CPU load with the following conditions:

  • There is a file within Dropbox folder which is locked for reading (called "running" in my scenario).
  • There are pending incoming changes/events.

In this case:

  • These incoming changes/events are not applied (blocked), even though they are not even thouching the folder and subfolders where "running" resides.
  • Dropbox starts consuming 10-15% of CPU which in my case means it loads one CPU core for about 50%.
  • High load persists until "running" is unlocked. Then it is synchronized and all incoming changes are applied.

What is wrong here from my perspective:

  • Locked file should not block incoming changes.
  • Locked file should not cause high CPU load. OK, file is locked, so what is the difficulty? Re-check it in a minute.

Dropbox_high_CPU_task_manager_2020-01-26.png

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Re: High CPU usage whilst idle

Dropboxer

The lock files are locked to avoid editing. Not having the ability to change a file that is locked is expected. 

Why do you believe that the high CPU usage is associated with the file locking feature? 

Are you maybe not referring to our file locking feature? thinking face

Can you walk me through the steps you are taking to lock and unlock the file? 


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


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Re: High CPU usage whilst idle

Helpful | Level 5

The lock files are locked to avoid editing. Not having the ability to change a file that is locked is expected.

That is clear. It should not stop the synchronization of other file.

Why do you believe that the high CPU usage is associated with the file locking feature?

I am not sure. Probably I am wrong. Probably this is a combination of conditions that matters. Anyway, I coudn't catch the issue for passed week.

Can you walk me through the steps you are taking to lock and unlock the file?

I am not sure that you will repeat exactly the situation that I have, and probably this is not necessary. For example, MS Work lock the file for writing but still another application can read it, hence it can be synchronized to the cloud on every write. However some applications create read/write lock, which means that the file cannot be opened even for reading. In my example the file is located in jre/lib/security/cacerts and Java locks it for reading while it is running.

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High CPU, no symlinks and less than 100,000 files.
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