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Troubleshooting file update and sync issues

Troubleshooting file update and sync issues

Sometimes the sync function is interrupted, and because of that, team members may not be seeing the latest version of a file. When files won’t update, there’s a couple of steps you can take to fix the problem and get back on track.

6 minute read

See what's up with Sarah

What happens when a teammate says they’ve updated a file, but you’re still seeing the older version?

Working together

You and your teammate, Sarah, have been collaborating together on a big project. You love that Dropbox is a great way to collaborate and share ideas without sending a bunch of emails back and forth.

Did Sarah have the permissions to make changes in that folder?

If Sarah is set to view-only, then she can’t edit the files, which explains why her changes aren’t syncing. If she downloaded this view-only copy and then made edits to it, those edits wouldn’t sync back to Dropbox, or appear in the original source files.

She can see what type of access she was given, on her own. Alternatively, Sarah can contact her colleague, who’s an admin on the team, to ask them to log in as a user to check.


Is the file still syncing?

To check the sync status of Dropbox overall, click the Dropbox icon on your computer’s task bar or menu bar and look for the sync status icon.

You can also look for the sync status icons of individual files or folders. It may show an error message or just tell you that it’s still syncing.

Any files with a red “X” are not synced, files with a circular blue arrow are in the process of syncing, and files with a green check mark should be fully synced. If you see a cloud icon that means the file exists online only. You’ll also see these symbols in the desktop app.


Does Sarah have a program or application open that’s interfering with Dropbox’s ability to sync?

Dropbox is unable to sync some types of files if certain applications are open because the application may lock the file. When this happens, Dropbox will report that the “file is in use” and will not sync until the related application is closed.

To try to solve the issue, Sarah should try closing any applications that are running.


Does Sarah have Dropbox running in the background?

Sarah needs to check the taskbar or menu bar to see that the Dropbox icon is showing. Dropbox must be running in the background in order for her files to sync.


Does Sarah have latest version of Dropbox installed?

Sarah’s Dropbox account should auto-update, but if there is something preventing it from doing so, Sarah can do a number of things to check:

When all else fails, contact Dropbox support

If all else fails, you can contact Dropbox support to get you back on track and collaborating with your team in no time.