Fix: Dropbox Not Syncing on Windows

Dropbox is one of the most used cloud-storage architectures in the market. It allows people to upload files on the go and access them through any platform. However, we have several cases where Dropbox fails to sync properly on Windows 10.

Dropbox Logo

There can be several different reasons why Dropbox fails to sync properly ranging from issues in the network to problems with the application itself. We will go through the workarounds one by one and see if this can be resolved without much hassle.

What Causes Dropbox to not Sync on Windows 10?

There are a number of causes which can be the root of the issue. This particular issue does not have a specific cause but to make a list the most probable causes are

  • Sync Error with a Red Dot: This issue is caused by several misconfigurations in settings along with several bugs which conflict with it.
  • File in Use: Dropbox works best if only one instance of the app is running on the same computer.
  • Other Syncing Apps: Also, it is to be noted that no other syncing apps are interfacing with the Dropbox for it to work properly.
  • Identical Names: If two files have identical names then the dropbox will not sync it because it causes errors in recognition of the files.
  • Firewall Issues: If the Dropbox app or its update is not allowed through the firewall then also it can cause issues because it might have problems connecting with the internet
  • Proxy settings: If you are using a proxy or VPN while syncing it might also cause the problem because Dropbox will recognize that as a security violation.

Solution 1: Configuration of Settings and Upgrading Your account

Before we start configuring files and settings, you can perform the basic troubleshooting techniques. These tips will help if you are having issues connected to the internet or you don’t have storage left.

  • You should make sure your date and time settings are correct.
  • Make sure no proxy, VPN is running in the background
  • Make sure Dropbox is allowed through your firewall
  • You can fix your storage quota issue by removing some of your synced files or by upgrading to Dropbox plus or professional.
Making sure Dropbox is allowed through the firewall
Checking Your storage plan in Dropbox account settings

If you already have a Plus or Professional account, check your account page to make sure your plan hasn’t been downgraded. If you’re on a Dropbox Business team, ask your admin to check the team’s account status in the Admin Console.

If you have been downgraded to Dropbox basic then upgrade your plan.

Solution 2: Renaming the Files

While trying to sync files you may see a “White space Conflict“. This is caused due to nearly identical names of two files except for space at the end of one of them.

Renaming A file


To fix this, rename one of the files to solve this issue.

Solution 3: Exiting Other Applications

While trying to sync some files you may see an error due to the files being used by another application. Whenever a file is opened for editing by another application or editor, it will not sync properly. Only when it is closed, Dropbox will proceed to upload the newest version of the file.

  1. Press Windows + R, Type “taskmgr” and press ENTER
    Opening Task Manager
  2. Check for any instances of the file running which you are trying to sync. Left-click on it and select End Task.

    Ending Other Applications using the file
  3. Now Dropbox will automatically sync the file to cloud.

Solution 4: Granting access in Firewall 

If Dropbox is not updated to the latest version, it will fail to sync your files properly. You might also encounter the error “Dropbox will stop syncing because it can’t update”. One of the reasons why Dropbox fails to update is because your Windows firewall is conflicting with it. We will disable it try updating the application.

  1. Press Windows + S, type “firewall” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  2. Open the application and select “Firewall and Network Protection”.
  3. Click “Allow an app through firewall“. Also, click Change Settings Button so we can edit the list.
    Clicking on Allow an App through Firewall
  4. Now make sure that Dropbox and its Updater.exe  is allowed through the firewall
Allowing Dropbox and Dropbox updater.exe to access the firewall

This will make sure that Dropbox and its Updater is allowed through the firewall and should terminate any problems limiting it from connecting to the internet.

Solution 5: Adjusting Dropbox Settings

Dropbox also has certain configurations that are set through the command prompt it is possible that those configuration settings were meddled with somehow and that might be causing the issue with syncing your files. Before we adjust those settings make sure to try signing out and then signing in if that doesn’t work follow these steps:

  1. Quit Dropbox by clicking on the Dropbox icon in the system tray, clicking the gear icon in the notifications panel, and selecting Exit Dropbox from the menu.
    Exiting Dropbox
  2. Press the Windows Key + R (at the same time), then type cmd and press Enter to open the command prompt.

    Opening Command Prompt Through RUN
  3. Copy and paste the following lines into the command prompt, one at a time, and press Enter after each one. Please make sure you copy and paste these commands (don’t type them by hand), as getting them wrong could cause some harm. Also, you can only paste them by right-clicking and selecting Paste.

    icacls "%HOMEPATH%\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T

      Pasting Commands in The Command Prompt

    Similarly, paste these:

    icacls "%APPDATA%\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T
    icacls "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":F /T
    icacls "%PROGRAMFILES%\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":F /T

    If the location of the Dropbox folder is not “C:\Users\YourUser\Dropbox path”, please modify the first command to point to it. For example, if your Dropbox is in D:\Dropbox, the command would look as follows:

    icacls "D:\Dropbox" /grant "%USERNAME%":(F) /T
  4. The other commands should remain unchanged. Please note that, depending on the size of your Dropbox, this operation might take some time to complete, so wait for the C:\ prompt to appear again.
  5. Restart Dropbox by going to the Start menu and selecting Program Files, then Dropbox.

Note: If you don’t see a Dropbox option under Program Files, you will need to restart Dropbox by entering “%APPDATA%\Dropbox” into the Windows Explorer window and double-clicking Dropbox.exe

Solution 6: Updating Your App

The user can access the files on the website but they cannot open the files on the computer utilizing Smartsync. This error persists across all the computers utilizing Smartsync. This error was first discovered on an older version of Dropbox it has since been patched. If due to some reason your Dropbox app was not automatically updated. Try the steps below

  1. Click on the Start Menu.
    Clicking on Start Menu
  2. Click on Settings.

    Clicking on the Settings icon
  3. Click  On Apps.

    Clicking on Apps
  4. Select Apps & Features from the left panel.
    Clicking on Apps & Features to uninstall Dropbox
  5. Once there look for Dropbox and click on uninstall
  6. Then simply download and install the app again to should solve the issue.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.