Occasionally, you may see an error message related to Dropbox file sync. These errors may appear on the Dropbox folder on your computer, or on the Dropbox icon in the system tray or menu bar. Select from the list of errors below to find out what to do next.
Notes before you get started
- This article discusses specific sync error messages, and how to fix them. If you’re not seeing an error message, try our list of more general troubleshooting steps instead.
- If the Dropbox app fails to open, reports you're running an old version, or shows "OperationalError" or "BrokenTempDirError," then there may be an issue with the app itself.
The Dropbox icon has a red notification on it
Do you see a red notification on the Dropbox icon in the system tray or menu bar on your computer? Here are some possible reasons:
- Your computer can’t establish a secure connection to Dropbox. (If this is causing the sync issue, you’ll see a “Cannot establish a secure connection” error).
- Your Dropbox account is over its storage quota. (To see if this is causing the sync issue, click the Dropbox icon in the system tray or menu bar, click the gear icon, click Preferences, then click Account.)
- To fix this problem: Remove files from your Dropbox account, or upgrade to Dropbox Plus or Professional
- To fix this problem: If you already have a Plus or Professional account, check your account page to make sure your plan hasn't been downgraded. If you're on a Dropbox Business team, ask your admin to check the team's account status in the Admin Console.
If you have two nearly identical file names, you may see a "Whitespace conflict." A whitespace conflict means that two files names are identical except that one has an extra space at the end of the file name.
Dropbox is cautious about saving files: if the names of two files are even slightly different, the app will create a copy of the file rather than replace the existing one. The most recently changed copy will have "white space conflict" added to the file name.
- To fix this problem: Either give the copy of the file a more unique name, or else make sure to avoid renaming the file with an extra space or character the next time you save.
"File is in use"
Dropbox won't sync files that are "locked" (or in use) by another application. When Dropbox skips the file, the status message in your Dropbox menu (from the system tray or menu bar) will report that the file is in use.
Applications lock files to prevent conflicts from occurring when the file is opened from one or more locations. For example, Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc...) typically locks its files while they are open.
- To fix this problem: When you're done with a file, save it and then exit the application you were using. Dropbox will then sync the file right away.
"Dropbox will stop syncing soon because it can’t update"
If the DropboxUpdate.exe process is disabled, you'll see the error message "Dropbox will stop syncing soon because it can't update."
DropboxUpdate.exe is a helper process that checks for new versions of the Dropbox app. It runs during installation of the Dropbox app, and once every hour afterwards. If the process finds a new version, it will auto-update.
This process must exist on any computer where Dropbox is installed. If you want to use Dropbox on your computer, you can’t disable this process.
Dropbox requires access to the internet to function. If the DropboxUpdate.exe helper process is unable to contact our servers to check for updates, Dropbox will stop syncing and you’ll see the “Dropbox will stop syncing soon because it can’t update” message. There are three possible fixes:
- To fix this problem: If you made adjustments to your firewall or antivirus software in order for Dropbox to run, try making the same adjustments for DropboxUpdate.exe.
- To fix this problem: Download the desktop app installer and reinstall the application (this will update you to the latest version of the Dropbox app, but won't affect your files or folders).
- To fix this problem: Check that DropboxUpdate.exe is able to access the internet to check for updates.
While using the desktop app, you may be notified that Dropbox was unable to sync certain files due to "permission errors."
Permissions determine who (or which apps) can access files on your hard drive. If file permissions don't allow Dropbox access to your files, then Dropbox can't sync.
Use the menu below to show instructions to resolve file permissions errors on your specific computer operating system.
"Permission denied" or "Rejected by server"
If you see a "Permission denied" or "Rejected by server" message, first try signing out of your Dropbox account in the Dropbox desktop app, then signing in again. If this doesn't solve the issue, your settings may be protected or inaccessible due to a permissions problem. If this is the case, you can remove your settings using an administrative account.
Use the menu below to show instructions for your specific computer operating system.