Dropbox ‘Performing one-time update’

I don’t think it’s possible to have an internet connection and not be aware of Dropbox, but for anyone that’s been living under a rock, you install the desktop application and it sits in your system tray ensuring that everything you store in the “Dropbox” folder gets synced up to the web.  You can then access it from any computer via the website, or via the mobile app, or by also installing the desktop application on that computer.  This is great not only for syncing between multiple computers (eg. work and home), and accessing files from anywhere, and automatic picture upload (take a picture on your phone and it appears almost immediately on your computer), but also for offsite backup, which is very handy in this randsonware invested world we live in.

However, for the past few days, it’s not been syncing.  Or rather, it has been syncing constantly, and not actually uploading anything, which means my files aren’t being backed up.  This is bad news.

It shows a rather innocuous message in the system tray, “Performing one-time update”…

This started 3 days ago, and is still running.  And really hogging resources and making my laptop run slow, especially when trying to access File Explorer.  I’m currently using 6% of my 2Tb limit, which is about 120Gb.  But I use Selective Sync and Smart Sync, so only a fraction of that is actually on my computer at the moment, around 17Gb.  3 days seems like a very long time indeed, for any kind of update.

So I took to Google of course, tried the Dropbox forums, tried Twitter as well.  And although there were some rumblings of other people experiencing the same thing, there wasn’t widespread panic or anything, so I figured it can’t be a global issue, and I’d contact Dropdox about it.

They have a live chat support feature on the website now, I’m a big fan of those, well done Dropbox.  And I was quickly through to a person, a real one, purporting to be called Ian.  He was friendly, which was a good start.  But unfortunately there wasn’t really much he could say, other than “the application had to re-index some of the files” and I’d have to wait it out.

Looks to me like it’s had to do a full re-index of all files.  Even so, there’s around 90,000 files, in my Dropbox folder, across 7,000 subfolders, which doesn’t seem like 3 days worth to me.

Anyway, I was informed that there’s no progress bar, no way to know how far it’s got or how much longer it may take to complete.  So I will wait patiently, and see what happens.  Well, as patiently as I can muster.

Ian did have one recommendation for me though: Don’t be a beta tester…

It’s not often companies suggest that you don’t sign up as a beta tester.  They’re usually clamouring for more beta testers.  But he was absolutely right, in my Dropbox settings I do have “Early releases” ticked.  So that explains why there hasn’t be massive uproar from the Dropbox community yet, it’s a beta release that’s done it.  Hopefully they get the situation sorted before they push it out to everyone, and the can at least continue to upload files during the re-indexing process.

So for anyone currently set to take “Early releases” and hasn’t got the “Performing one-time update” status message, I’d also recommend switching it off, at least for now.

If you haven’t already got a Dropbox account, why not sign up for one and see what all the fuss is about.