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Dropbox Fast Fixes

Fix file and folder syncing problems, make Dropbox connect to the internet and repair broken shared links

You see a folder with a grey minus sign on it

A folder in your PC’s Dropbox folder displaying a minus symbol in a grey circle (see screenshot 1 right) means there is a Selective Sync problem. Selective Sync lets you choose which folders to synchronize to your computer, rather than syncing everything in Dropbox. To use it, click the Dropbox icon in the system tray, then the gear icon and select Preferences. Click the Account tab, the Selective Sync button, then tick only those folders you want to synchronize.

Rename any folder with a grey minus symbol on it to make it sync with your online Dropbox account

Rename any folder with a grey minus symbol on it to make it sync with your online Dropbox account

However, this can cause problems. For example, you may decide to exclude a folder called ‘photos’ from syncing on one of your PCs. However, if you then create a folder called ‘photos’ in the Dropbox folder on another PC, it will not be synchronized because it will conflict with one that’s already stored online. The easiest way around this is to rename the new folder so that it has a unique name.

Dropbox program won’t sync files

If the Dropbox desktop program won’t sync your flies, it may be that it doesn’t have the correct permissions to access important folders. To fix this, click Start, type command prompt, right-click the Command Prompt entry in the search results, then click ‘Run as administrator’. In the Command Prompt window (see screenshot below), type the following commands exactly as they appear, pressing Enter after each (include all quote marks): icacls “%HOMEPATH% Dropbox” /grant “%USERNAME%”:(F) /T; icacls “%APPDATA%Dropbox” /grant “%USERNAME%”:(F) /T;

icacls “%LOCALAPPDATA%Dropbox” / grant “%USERNAME%”:F /T; icacls “%PROGRAMFILES%Dropbox” / grant “%USERNAME%”:F /T

To save you typing these commands, simply copy and paste them from www.pastebin.com/HGJ7kAcK. Each command can take a few minutes to run. Once complete, restart Dropbox.

Use the Command Prompt to repair folder and file permissions to fix syncing problems.

Some files won’t sync to all computers

There may be times when you’re able to see a Dropbox file if you view it via the web browser, but not in the desktop program. This is probably due to a problem with the file’s name. Because different operating systems (OS) don’t accept certain keyboard characters, your file name may not be compatible with your OS. For example, Windows doesn’t accept filenames with ’?’ and ’*’ symbols.

You can check for problematic files by going to www.dropbox.com/bad_files_ check (you will need to log into your Dropbox account to access the page). Locate any files or folders with an incompatible name by going to to www.dropbox.com. To rename it, right-click it and select Rename, enter the new name and press Enter.

Dropbox has ‘No internet connection’

The ‘No internet connection’ error message is usually the result of someone tinkering with your PC’s internet settings, but can also be caused by a failed Windows update that has changed your internet preferences. To fix the problem, click the Dropbox icon in the notification area, then the cog icon to open the program’s settings. Click the

Fix ‘No internet connection’ error messages by selecting ‘No proxy” in Preferences

Proxies tab and select ‘No proxy’ (see screenshot above), then click OK to save the changes. This forces Dropbox to connect directly to the internet, rather than look for a proxy server.

Dropbox links have stopped working

One of Dropbox’s best features is its ability to share files via web links. However, these shared links can get broken. To fix broken links for files you’ve shared, go to www.dropbox.com, log into your account, then click Links in the left-hand menu to see every file you’ve previously shared. Check to see if the file or folder you wanted to share still has a link. If it hasn’t, click Files in the left-hand menu, right-click the file (or folder) you want to share, then click Share. Click ‘Create a link’, then ‘Copy link’ to copy it to the clipboard.

Links can also break if the original file or folder has since been deleted. If the file was deleted in the last 30 days you can restore it using Dropbox. Click Deleted Files (on the left), then the More button (three-dots icon to the right of the file) and click Restore.


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