Dropbox deleting all but current Scriv file

I thought this was a one-off permissions problem, as claimed by Dropbox support, but this just happened again. I have three Macs-a new Mini, and old Mini and a MBP. The old Mini is my writing station. For years, Scriv on DB has been rock solid. Around 6 weeks ago, when I shut down Scriv and opened Pro Writing Aid on my Macbook Pro, Dropbox notifications of deleting hundreds of files kept popping up. I raced upstairs and disconnected my Mini from the network, then made a backup of my Dropbox folder.

When DB stopped deleting, everything in my Apps folder was deleted except for the Scrivener folder and the currently opened project file. I contacted Dropbox and they replied with instructions to rebuild permissions. I did and have not had any issues since.

This morning, I rebooted my writing Mini and then opened Scrivener. When I did, it started the same deleting with notifications like “Deleting 467 files” followed by “Deleting 320 files” etc. Again, I made a backup on another machine and will rebuild. This time, I’m left with the current open project file and one other. Everything else is gone.

Searches haven’t turned up these types of events in this forum or broadly. There are complaints about DB deleting files, but none I’ve found connected to any specific file types or programs such as Scriv or Pro Writing Aid. Yet I find these types of events are rarely unique. Has anyone else experienced this type of mass deletion? If so, have you found a solution? Thanks

My suggestion, if Dropbox tech support hasn’t already had you check it:

Check your Dropbox app preferences for EACH of your Macs. Under its Sync tab, “Save hard drive space automatically” should be set to “Off” and new content default should be “Local”. I would also suggest that under “Choose folders to sync” that “Select all” should be checked.

After that, again on EACH Mac, I suggest you open System Preferences, and check the iCloud tab. If you have iCloud drive on, click its “Options…” button. “Optimize Mac storage” at the lower right, should be UNCHECKED.

If on any of your Macs, the Dropbox folder is located inside either of the Desktop or Documents folders, it should be moved out. If the Dropbox folder is inside your iCloud Drive(!!), again, move it out.

It sounds like something is “optimizing” your seldom-used Scrivener projects right off Dropbox, on at least one of your Macs. The above steps should prevent that for Dropbox itself, and for MacOS. Beyond that, Dropbox tech support and/or ProWritingAid support would be your resource.

I do use ProWritingAid occasionally, but as it messes around inside my projects, I always work on a copy of my project, then merge projects back. If you try this, use File->Save as…, and save the project outside any cloud service folders, work on the “saved as” version, then use File->Import->Scrivener project… from your original project to merge your changes back.

Hope this helps!

Also, make sure that you have adequate free space in your Dropbox account. None of the cloud services handle “disk full” conditions well.


Well-spotted, Katherine! Also, adequate free space on each of your Macs’ hard drives, of course. :smiley:

Also, I recently got an email from Dropbox support, saying that they are changing how they deal with symbolic links. If you’ve used that trick to link from (for instance) the single iOS/Dropbox sync folder to a folder outside of Dropbox, the new behavior from Dropbox will be to not sync the project, but instead to just sync the symbolic link.

If this is all gibberish to you, then please ignore; you’d know what I’m talking about if you did use symbolic links…

Thanks for all the feedback. I’ll dig through this week and clean everything up. Doesn’t appear to be storage limitations as I have more than 2GB free in Dropbox, 230GB on my MBP and more than that on the desktop. I do recall Dropbox is also running on my Win10 server, which I have not checked yet. These give me some leads to work through.