Why aren't my Dropbox icon overlays appearing correctly?

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There are a few possible explanations for why your may not be seeing Dropbox syncing icon overlays on your files:

  • The most likely explanation is that Dropbox may have shut down unexpectedly. Icon overlays appear over your files only when Dropbox is running.
    1. To check if Dropbox is running, look for the Dropbox icon in your menu bar or system tray
    2. You can find and run the Dropbox application from your Start > Programs menu
  • It is possible that the Start Dropbox on system startup setting is unchecked in your preferences or Dropbox was forced to quit for some reason.
  • Another possibility is that you are looking at an inactive Dropbox folder in its previous location. This can happen if you've ever changed the location of your Dropbox folder. The easiest way to find your Dropbox folder is to click on the menu bar/system tray icon and click Open Dropbox Folder.
  • Many times, you can try to restore Dropbox's operating system integration by reinstalling Dropbox. Reinstalling will fix any installation issues, such as a broken icons file, that may be causing icons to disappear or appear incorrectly.

If none of these scenarios apply, you may have a corrupted settings file. It's possible to fix your settings by unlinking and relinking your computer.

For our advanced users

There are a couple other operating system-specific explanations for why the overlays might not work on non-stock configurations of Dropbox:

Windows XP On Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8

  • If your Dropbox folder is placed at the root (or top level) of a partition or hard drive, Dropbox may have issues accessing certain settings files. Moving your folder to another location on your hard drive should solve this problem
  • Installing Dropbox without an administrative password will break all overlays. Re-installing using an administrator's password should resolve the issue

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