Run an advanced reinstall

Before running an advanced reinstall

  • Save and quit all programs accessing files in the Dropbox folder.
  • If you use Selective Sync, take note of the settings you applied.
    • If you're on a headless version of Dropbox, access the list of Selective Sync folders by running "dropbox exclude." Learn how.
  • If Dropbox is not in the default location, note where it is located.

Click the menu below, and select the operating system you use.

Linux

Depending on your operating system distribution and the package you used during installation, you could have Dropbox files in two different locations. The instructions in this article are for both cases, so some of the commands may result in an error.

  1. Open your Terminal application.
  2. Copy and paste the following lines one at a time into Terminal. Press Enter after each one.
    • Don't type commands by hand.
    • You may be prompted for your computer password (not your Dropbox password) after entering the commands. The password field in Terminal remains blank as you type your password. After you type it, press Enter.
    • You'll know that these instructions complete normally once the initial line of text (called prompt) appears.
    • Important: In the commands below, we assume that your Dropbox folder is in the default pathway. If you placed your Dropbox folder in a custom location, replace all instances of ~/Dropbox for the full location of your Dropbox folder in quotation marks. For example, if you have your Dropbox folder in the path /Volumes/DifferentPlace/Dropbox, replace ~/Dropbox from the following command lines to "https://www.dropbox.com/Volumes/DifferentPlace/Dropbox".
    • Once the Terminal prompt shows up again after a command, the instruction completed the requested task and is ready for the next command. If any of the the commands do not respond after an hour, try restarting your computer and try these steps again.
  3. dropbox stop
    dropbox status  # Should report "not running"
    rm -rf ~/.dropbox-dist
    rm -rf /var/lib/dropbox
    rm -rf ~/.dropbox*
    sudo apt-get remove nautilus-dropbox
    sudo apt-get remove dropbox
    rm /etc/apt/source.d/dropbox
    sudo chown "$USER" "$HOME"
    sudo chown -R "$USER" ~/Dropbox
    sudo chattr -R -i ~/Dropbox
    sudo chmod -R u+rw ~/Dropbox
    

    Deleting any of these folders will not delete the files in your Dropbox folder.

  4. Restart your computer.

For an installation on a supported Linux distribution with Graphical User Interface:

  1. Get the correct package for your operating system and architecture. Download now.
  2. Navigate to the folder where you downloaded the installation file and double-click it.
  3. Apply any Selective Sync settings you had before the reinstall.
  4. Select the Dropbox folder location, if not in the default location.
    • Important: Because this process removes the previous settings and configuration, if you wish to avoid re-downloading your Dropbox content you will need to manually choose the location for Dropbox to sync to. If you don't you'll create a new Dropbox folder and start to download your content again.
  5. To select your established Dropbox folder on your drive, click Advanced Settings after choosing which folders to sync.

For an installation on a supported headless Linux distribution:

  1. Enter the following command into your terminal:
    • If your machine is 32-bit:
    • cd ~ && wget -O - "https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86" | tar xzf -
      
      Scroll right for more terminal command
    • If your machine is 64-bit:
    • cd ~ && wget -O - "https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86_64" | tar xzf -
      
      Scroll right for more terminal command
  2. Run the Dropbox daemon from the newly created.dropbox-dist folder:
  3. ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd
    
  4. When Dropbox finishes installing, sign in and apply any settings from before the reinstall to the list of excluded items.

Learn more about installation and CLI information.

Mac

  1. If running, quit Dropbox.
    1. Click the Dropbox icon in your system tray.
    2. Click the gear icon, and select Quit Dropbox.
  2. Uninstall Dropbox.
    1. Open your Finder and click Applications.
    2. Locate the Dropbox app and drag and drop it to the Trash. Or, right-click the Dropbox app icon and select Move to Trash.
  3. When the uninstall finishes, restart your computer.
  4. Delete the remaining Dropbox system folders.
    1. Open your Finder and click Applications.
    2. Open your Terminal application.
    3. Copy and paste the following lines one at a time into the terminal. Press enter after each one.

      • Don't type commands by hand.
      • When prompted, enter your computer admin password (not your Dropbox password) and press enter.
      • Important: We assume that your Dropbox folder is in the default pathway. If you have placed your Dropbox folder in a custom location, replace all ~/Dropbox with the full location of your Dropbox folder in quotation marks. For example, if you have your Dropbox folder in the path /Volumes/DifferentPlace/Dropbox, you need to replace ~/Dropbox from the following instructions to "/Volumes/DifferentPlace/Dropbox".
    4. sudo chown "$USER" "$HOME"
      sudo chown -R "$USER" ~/Dropbox
      sudo chmod -R u+rw ~/Dropbox
      sudo mv ~/.dropbox ~/.Trash/dropbox.old
      sudo chmod -N ~
      sudo mv /Library/DropboxHelperTools ~/DropboxHelperTools.old
      
      Scroll right for more code snippets

  5. Get the newest version of the Dropbox desktop app. Download now.
  6. Navigate to the folder where you downloaded the installation file and double-click it.
  7. Apply any Selective Sync settings you had before the reinstall.
  8. Select the Dropbox folder location, if not in the default location.
    • Important: Because this process removes the previous settings and configuration, if you wish to avoid re-downloading your Dropbox content you will need to manually choose the location for Dropbox to sync to. If you don't you'll create a new Dropbox folder and start to download your content again.
    1. To select your established Dropbox folder on your drive, click Advanced Settings after choosing which folders to sync.
    2. Then choose the parent folder of your already established Dropbox folder. For example, if you have your Dropbox folder in the path D:\OtherDrive\Folder\Dropbox, select the folder D:\OtherDrive\Folder.

Windows

  1. If running, quit Dropbox.
    1. Click the Dropbox icon in your system tray.
    2. Click the gear icon, and select Quit Dropbox.
  2. Uninstall Dropbox.
    1. On your desktop, click Start.
    2. If on Windows Vista, 7, select Control Panel. If on Windows 8 or 10, search and click Control Panel in the start menu.
    3. Click Uninstall a Program (Vista, 7, 8, 10).
    4. Select Dropbox from the list of programs and click Uninstall.
  3. When the uninstall finishes, reboot your computer.
  4. Delete the remaining Dropbox system folders (it's OK if you don't find a Dropbox folder in any of the following locations).
    1. Open a Windows File Explorer (not Internet Explorer).
    2. Type %LOCALAPPDATA% into the address bar and press enter.
    3. In the next window, delete the folder named Dropbox. A prompt to enter your computer administrator password (not your Dropbox password) may appear.
    4. Repeat these steps with the following folders. Deleting any of these folders will not delete the files in your Dropbox folder.
      • %APPDATA%
      • %PROGRAMFILES%
      • %PROGRAMFILES(x86)%
  5. Get the newest version of the Dropbox desktop app. Download now.
  6. Navigate to the folder where you downloaded the installation file and double-click it. Do not launch the installer by right-clicking on the file and selecting Run as administrator.
  7. Apply any Selective Sync settings you had before the reinstall.
  8. Select the Dropbox folder location, if not in the default location.
    • Important: Because this process removes the previous settings and configuration, if you wish to avoid re-downloading your Dropbox content you will need to manually choose the location for Dropbox to sync to. If you don't manually choose a location, you'll create a new Dropbox folder and start to download your content again.
    1. To select your established Dropbox folder on your drive, click Advanced Settings after choosing which folders to sync.
    2. Then choose the parent folder of your already established Dropbox folder. For example, if you have your Dropbox folder in the path D:\OtherDrive\Folder\Dropbox, select the folder D:\OtherDrive\Folder.

After completing the reinstall, it can take time to reindex your files and sync changes.

Changes made to files in your Dropbox folder while it was offline—on dropbox.com or other connected devices—will result in conflicted copies. Learn more about conflicted copies.

Finally, this process only works when linking to the exact same account that was previously linked to this computer. If desired, you can instead learn how to merge accounts.

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