Troubleshoot incorrect file permissions

While using the desktop app, you may be notified that Dropbox was unable to sync certain files due to "permission errors."

Permissions determine who is allowed to 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 for to resolve file permissions errors on your specific computer operating system.

Show instructions for:

Linux

  1. Right-click the Dropbox menu from your menu bar and select Quit. Learn where to find your menu bar.
  2. Open a terminal window and copy and paste the following commands into the terminal:
    • 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, the instruction completed the requested task and is ready for the next command. If any of the the commands return an error or do not respond after an hour, try restarting your computer and repeating these steps.
  3. sudo chown "$USER" "$HOME"
    sudo chown -R "$USER" ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox
    sudo chattr -R -i ~/Dropbox
    sudo chmod -R u+rw ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox
    

  4. Restart Dropbox by going to the Internet menu under Applications.

Mac

  1. Click the Dropbox icon from your menu bar. Learn where to find your menu bar.
  2. Click the gear icon, and select Quit Dropbox.
  3. Open your Terminal app (at /Applications/Utilities/Terminal).
  4. Copy and paste the following lines one at a time into Terminal. Press return after each one.
    • You'll be prompted for your computer password (not your Dropbox password) after entering the first command. The password field in Terminal remains blank as you type your password. After you type it, press return.
    • Important: We assume that your Dropbox folder is in the default pathway. If you placed your Dropbox folder in a custom location, replace all ~/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, you need to replace ~/Dropbox from the following instructions to "/Volumes/DifferentPlace/Dropbox".
    • Once the Terminal prompt shows up again, the instruction completed the requested task and is ready for the next command. If any of the the commands return an error or do not respond after an hour, try restarting your computer and repeating these steps.
  5. sudo chflags -R nouchg ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox ~/.dropbox-master
    sudo chown "$USER" "$HOME"
    sudo chown -R "$USER" ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox
    sudo chmod -RN ~/.dropbox ~/Dropbox
    chmod -R u+rw ~/Dropbox ~/.dropbox 
    

    Scroll right for more code snippet

  6. Restart Dropbox by double-clicking the Dropbox icon in your Applications folder.

Windows

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in your system tray. Learn where to find your system tray.
  2. Click the gear icon, and select Exit Dropbox.
  3. Press the Windows Key + R (at the same time).
  4. Type cmd and press Enter to open the command prompt.
  5. Copy and paste the following lines one at a time into the command prompt. Press Enter after each one.
    • If the location of your Dropbox folder is not C:\Users\YourUser\Dropbox, modify the first command to point to its actual location. For example, if your Dropbox is in D:\Dropbox, change the command to:
      icacls "D:\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T
      
      Regardless of where your Dropbox folder is located, other commands remain unchanged.
    • Depending on the size of your Dropbox, this operation can take more time to complete. Wait for the C:\ prompt to appear before moving to the next step.
  6. icacls "%HOMEPATH%\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T
    icacls "%APPDATA%\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T
    

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  7. Go to the Start menu and select Program Files.
  8. Select Dropbox.

Windows XP

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in your system tray. Learn where to find your system tray.
  2. Click the gear icon, and select Exit Dropbox.
  3. Press the Windows Key + R (at the same time).
  4. Type cmd and press Enter to open the command prompt.
    • If the location of your Dropbox folder is not C:\Users\YourUser\Dropbox, modify the first command to point to its actual location. For example, if your Dropbox is in D:\Dropbox, change the command to:
      cacls "D:\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T
      
      Regardless of where your Dropbox folder is located, other commands remain unchanged.
    • Depending on the size of your Dropbox, this operation can take more time to complete. Wait for the C:\ prompt to appear again.
  5. cacls "%HOMEPATH%\My Documents\Dropbox" /G "%USERNAME%":F /T
    cacls "%APPDATA%\Dropbox" /G "%USERNAME%":F /T
    

    Scroll right for more code snippet

  6. Go to the Start menu and select Program Files.
  7. Select Dropbox.
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