How to run an advanced reinstall of Dropbox

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 preferences you applied.
    • If you're on a headless version of Dropbox, access the list of selective sync folders by running "dropbox exclude list." 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.

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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 "/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.
            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.

    3. 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 preferences you had before the reinstall.
  4. Select the Dropbox folder location, if not in the default location.
    • Important: Because this process removes the previous preferences and configuration, if you wish to avoid re-syncing 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 sync 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 -
        
  • If your machine is 64-bit:
            cd ~ && wget -O - "https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86_64" | tar xzf -
        
2. Run the Dropbox daemon from the newly created.dropbox-dist folder:
            ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd
        

3. When Dropbox finishes installing, sign in and apply any preferences from before the reinstall to the list of excluded items.

Learn more about installation and CLI information.

  1. If running, quit Dropbox.
    1. Click the Dropbox icon in your menu bar.
    2. Click your profile picture or initials, 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".
            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
        
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 preferences you had before the reinstall.
8. Select the Dropbox folder location, if not in the default location.
  • Important: Because this process removes the previous preferences and configuration, if you wish to avoid re-syncing 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 sync 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 /Volumes/DifferentPlace/Dropbox, select the folder /Volumes/DifferentPlace
  1. Quit the Dropbox desktop app. (To do so, click the Dropbox icon in your taskbar, click your avatar (profile picture or initials), and click Quit).
  2. Uninstall the Dropbox desktop app from your computer.
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. Open the Windows Registry editor.
  5. Double-click the folder named “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” to open it.
  6. Inside that folder, find the “Dropbox” and “DropboxUpdate” folders by searching in the folders named “SOFTWARE” AND “WOW6432Node”. They’ll be in either or both locations.
  7. Delete the “Dropbox” and “DropboxUpdate” folders. (To do so, right-click each folder and click Delete).
    • Note: Don’t delete the main Dropbox folder on your computer. At no point in this process should you be deleting that folder.
  8. Open File Explorer search for the folder “%LOCALAPPDATA%”.
  9. Inside that folder, delete the “Dropbox” folder.
    • Note: Don’t delete the main Dropbox folder on your computer. At no point in this process should you be deleting that folder.
  10. Repeat steps 8 through 10 with the following folders, deleting the “Dropbox” folder inside each: “%APPDATA%, “%PROGRAMFILES%”, and “%PROGRAMFILES(x86)%”.
    • Note: If you can’t find the folders, it means they’re already deleted and you can move on to the next step.
  11. Download and install the Dropbox desktop app.
    • Since your original Dropbox folder is still on your computer at this point, if you don’t want to create a new one, click Advanced Settings during the download prompts and click the location of your existing Dropbox folder. For example, if your Dropbox folder is located at “D:\OtherDrive\Folder\Dropbox”, choose “D:\OtherDrive\Folder”.

After completing the reinstall, it may take some time for your files to sync.

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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