Advanced sync solutions and troubleshooting

If you’ve tried the basic troubleshooting steps to sync your files and it didn’t fix the problem, follow the steps below.

Sections in this article:

Check your firewall, security, and antivirus settings

Your firewall, antivirus, or security settings can prevent your files from syncing on Dropbox.

Learn how to give Dropbox full permissions.

Check your network restrictions

If you see an error like “can’t establish secure connection”, your network might have special security restrictions.

You may have to enter proxy server information, connect to a LAN (local area network), or manually set the network to allow the “*.dropbox domain.”

Learn more about which domains Dropbox uses.

If none of these fix the problem, check with an admin.

Check your file type

Dropbox can’t sync some kinds of files. These include:

  • Files with certain suffixes. Files that end in “desktop.ini”, “thumbs.db”, “.ds_store”, “icon\r”, “.dropbox”, and “.dropbox.attr” won’t sync properly.
  • Temporary files. These are created by applications like PowerPoint and Word, and often start with a ~$ (a tilde and dollar sign) or .~ (a period and a tilde).
  • Certain types of files and metadata. These include: 
  • Suspicious files. If you get an error message that says permission has been denied or that your file has been rejected by the server, Dropbox may have flagged the file as a copyright violation, DMCA violation, or malware. If you suspect this is the problem, contact support

Troubleshoot your external hard drive

  • If the files you want to sync are on an external hard drive, make sure the external hard drive is connected and recognized by your computer. 
  • If your hard drive is connected and recognized but your files won’t sync to Dropbox, move the Dropbox folder back to your computer temporarily to see if the external hard drive is causing the issue.
  • Storing the Dropbox folder on an external drive is no longer supported on computers running the updated version of Dropbox for macOS 12.5 and higher.

Make sure your app syncs change automatically

Some non-Dropbox applications save changes automatically. However, if you edit a file in an application that doesn’t save changes automatically, you’ll need to save your changes manually by re-adding your file.

Learn how to add files to Dropbox.

Check that the file isn’t read-only or locked

If your file is read-only or is locked by a non-Dropbox application, you can’t sync your file to Dropbox. 

If the file has a lock icon on it, it was locked with Dropbox. Learn how to unlock your files.

Check available space

If you see a warning from Dropbox that you’re out of disk space, you can free up space on your computer to start syncing again.

Update or reinstall non-Dropbox applications

If you use a non-Dropbox application to edit your files, make sure the application is up to date. You can also uninstall and reinstall it, then check to see if your file syncs to Dropbox.

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