​​I’m having trouble with a shared folder

There are a few situations when shared folders might not work as expected. Check each of the situations outlined in this article to fix issues with shared folders.

Note: This article discusses issues with shared folders that you are already a member of. Learn how to solve issues with joining shared folders or how to resolve error messages that happen when sharing.

Sections in this article:

I can’t see the most recent versions of files in a shared folder

There are a few reasons why you may not see the most recent versions of files in a shared folder. Check each of these situations to see which applies to you:

1. You removed a shared folder from your account

If you delete a shared folder or remove it from your account, you can’t access the folder anymore. 

You can check if you deleted a folder on dropbox.com:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click Files.
  3. Click Sharing.
  4. In the Folders you can add to your Dropbox section, look for the folder you deleted.
  5. If the folder is there, click “” (ellipsis) beside the folder name.
  6. Click Add.

If you have the desktop app installed, the shared folder is automatically downloaded again, even if a previous version of it still exists on your computer. If the older version is in the same location, Dropbox downloads the new version and adds “(1)” to the end of the name. This prevents an issue where two folders have the same name.

If you'd like to change or recover the old name, you can rename the old version to whatever you'd like, then rename the new version.

2. The most recent files are on dropbox.com but not on your computer

If you can see the correct files on dropbox.com, but not in the Dropbox folder on your computer, then:

  • Your computer may not be linked to your Dropbox account
  • The Dropbox app on your computer isn’t running
  • The Dropbox app on your computer syncing correctly

First, check that your computer is linked to this Dropbox account. You can find a list of all your linked devices on dropbox.com.

If your computer is linked to this account, make sure that you can see the Dropbox icon in your menu bar or system tray. If you can see the Dropbox icon, then the app is running.

If the Dropbox app is running, make sure that your computer is syncing.

3. Files are missing from a shared folder and you didn’t delete them

If you can’t see files that you expect to see in a shared folder, then you may have unintentionally deleted the folder.

Check that the folder you’re looking at is still shared:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click Files.
  3. Click Sharing.
  4. Locate the shared folder.

If the shared folder is gray at the top of the page, you removed the shared folder. You can Add it back to your account from the Sharing page.

If the shared folder is active, check if your files are in the shared folder on dropbox.com. If they’re missing, you can recover your files.

4. A shared folder was moved inside another shared folder

If you move a shared folder inside of another folder, your version of the original shared folder is now only a copy. It will no longer sync with the original that was shared with you.

For example: If you move a shared folder, “Folder A,” into another shared folder, “Folder B,” you create a copy of “Folder A” inside “Folder B.” 

When you moved “Folder A” into “Folder B,” you lost access to the shared folder “Folder A.” You now have a static copy of “Folder A.” This copy has a snapshot of the files in the folder from the moment you moved it, but they won’t show any changes made in the original shared folder.

To regain access to the shared version of your original folder, add the folder back to your account:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click Files.
  3. Click Sharing.
  4. In the Folders you can add to your Dropbox section, look for the folder you moved.
  5. Click “” (ellipsis) beside the folder name.
  6. Click Add.

When you add the folder back, you can see the latest versions of the files in that folder, including changes made while you weren't a member. 

Note: Changes you made to files in your copy of the folder don’t sync with the active shared folder.

5. You moved a shared folder outside of their Dropbox folder.

If you move a shared folder out of the Dropbox folder on your computer, you delete the folder from your Dropbox account. You can’t see new changes that members make to files in that folder, since it’s no longer in your Dropbox account.

You can add the original shared folder back to your Dropbox account. When you add the folder back, you'll see the latest versions of the files in that folder, including changes made while you weren't a member.

Note: Changes you made to files in your copy of the folder don’t sync with the active shared folder.

 I'm not seeing the shared folder options window

If the shared folder options window doesn’t pop up when you click Share, you may be experiencing an issue caused by a third party browser extension or add-on (such as a pop-up or ad blocker).

To fix this problem, temporarily disable any browser extensions or add-ons that are running. Once you change your shared folder settings and no longer need the shared folder options window, you can re-enable these browser extensions.

If you'd like to continue using the extension, you may be able to create an exception for Dropbox, or whitelist https://www.dropbox.com. However, not all extensions support this functionality.

I can’t share a folder inside another shared folder

I’m on a Dropbox Business team

Dropbox Business team members can share folders that are inside of team folders. If a shared folder isn’t in the team folder, then sub-folders can’t be shared this way.

I’m a Dropbox Basic, Plus, and Professional user

Dropbox Basic, Plus, and Professional customers can't share folders that are inside shared folders.

While you can share any folder in your Dropbox account, the simplest way to keep you Dropbox account neat is to only share from your main Dropbox folder. On dropbox.com, this is any folder that appears in the Files tab. On your computer, this is the folder called “Dropbox” on your harddrive.

If you want to share folders that are inside of other folders, you can do this as long as the top-level folder isn’t shared.

Here's an example:

You have a folder called "Marketing Projects." There are two folders inside that main folder: the "Budgets" folder and the "Website" folder. You want to shared the "Budgets" folder with the finance team and "Website" folder needs to be shared with developers.

In this case, you can invite people in the finance department to the "Budgets" folder and developers to the "Website" folder. The "Marketing Projects" folder remains private to you. The finance team can only access “Budgets,” and the developers can only access “Website.”

If you need to share files or folders inside of a shared folder, you can share them through a link

A shared folder has the same name as another folder

If you join a shared folder that has the same name as a folder already in your Dropbox account, a (1) is appended to the new shared folder name.

Rename the original folder causing the naming conflict (the one without a (1)). Then you can remove the (1) from the shared folder name.

A shared folder is inside of a team folder.

If you have a Dropbox Business account, you may have a team folder.

If you move a shared folder into a team folder, you transfer ownership of that folder to the team, . You no longer own the folder, and can’t remove the folder from the team folder. An admin on the team is the only one who can move a folder out of the team folder.

If you’d like, you can make a copy of the folder and move it to the preferred location in your account. If you need the folder removed from the team folder, please contact your team’s admin.

The owner of a shared folder left

The owner is likely the person who originally invited you to the shared folder. If you don't see an owner for a shared folder, the owner may have already left it. If this happens you can contact the original owner and ask them to first add the folder back to their Dropbox, and then transfer ownership to you.

If you can’t contact the owner, you can:

  1. Create a new shared folder.
  2. Drag the files from the old folder to this new folder.
  3. Re-invite members of the old shared folder to this new shared folder.

You left the folder and want to transfer ownership

If you're the owner of a shared folder and leave it without transferring ownership, the shared folder will be without an owner. The owner is the only member who can unshare the folder or remove members from the folder.

If you don’t need this folder anymore, but another member does, you can make them the owner. First, add the shared folder back to your Dropbox account. You can then transfer ownership of the folder to another member.

I set read-only permissions from my computer

If you used your computer’s file manager to make a file or folder read-only, then it’s possible that those permissions won’t sync with Dropbox. Some local permission settings aren’t incompatible between operating systems, or between Dropbox and your operating system.

For example, a file with read-only access on your Windows computer may not be protected on a Mac. Dropbox doesn't change a file's permissions when syncing, but we can't guarantee the permissions you set in one operating system will work properly when opened in another operating system.

I need edit permissions to a shared folder that I can only view

A shared folder owner or editor can change permissions. If you need to have a different role within a shared folder, contact the owner or any current editor and ask to have your permissions updated. Learn more about roles in a shared folder.

Two people edited a file at the same time and now I see conflicted copies

If two people both open and edit a file in a shared folder at the same time, Dropbox will save both of their changes, but in separate files. It does not try to automatically combine or merge changes. Learn more about these conflicted copies.

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