Dropbox Sync Issues

Hey all.

Been getting the odd Dropbox sync issue of late. Dropbox isn’t still syncing, and seems happy enough, but I’ve had Scrivener crunk up on launch a few times. Latest one was a worrying launch error like this:

I’m leery of pointing the finger at Scriv, as there are at least two pieces of software at play here :slight_smile: I don’t seem to get this kind of problem with other software (e.g., I work with PowerPoint and Affinity Photo files all the time without crunk issues).

Without going all nuclear, what are things that could cause errors like this? It’s not a calming start to the day, let me tell you :slight_smile: The weird thing is this file opened and closed just fine over the weekend, which makes me wonder if Dropbox is doing some kind of time warp thing, but it’s difficult to diagnose. I switched to Dropbox as it is the recommended solve for this kind of thing, but I’m happy to move to another cloud product if there are known issues with it and there are better tools.


Are you sure you have always closed the project on one machine before starting on another? I am actually very bad at doing this, I often rush from work forgetting to close a project and have got this exact conflict dialog a few times. All the files are safely in the project, and Scrivener is making sure you realise there has been a binder conflict (binder changes on both machine A and B), and gives you the details. This is how it is supposed to work, these conflicts are very well handled by Dropbox and Scrivener in combination… :wink:

Slightly off-topic, but for those using Dropbox and wanting a bit more of a detailed view of their change history (including all files in a scrivener project etc.) and a nice interface to diff files and rewind changes, Revisions app is totally brilliant:


Be patient for it to build its file cache on first run (not surprising with a large dropbox folder), but once it is running it is a great way of knowing exactly what changed when/how.

Thanks for the reply :slight_smile: Yep, I’m good at this, mostly because I only write on one machine unless it’s on fire (which hasn’t happened in a year or two :smiley: ).

This is sync problems on the same piece of hardware. I sync to Dropbox for business continuity reasons, not because I author across multiple desktops (although I used to).

If you’re not sharing across machines, IMHO there is very little to be gained by storing live projects on Dropbox vs. the risk of a bad sync botching your project. As you’re experiencing. :frowning:

For purposes of biz continuity, you’d be better off storing the live project locally and your zipped backups on Dropbox. (Or any cloud provider, as zipped files are much less fragile than live projects.)

if you take that approach, please change your number of backups to retain setting to something other than the default of 5. Well, really you should change that from the default regardless. :slight_smile:

My $.02,

The conflict claims your fritz box has a modified version of the binder, you use a home network storage, does it use a dropbox plugin? You may want to double check what devices and apps have access to dropbox:


And, as Jim says, if you don’t need to sync across machines, then using dropbox only to backup your scrivener backups is a good idea…

Ah, that’s just the name of the local PC I’m using. (Mac, sorry). It’s got Dropbox on it (the desktop client), nothing else.

I do keep backups on another cloud platform (25 backups on OneDrive!). I don’t want to not use DropBox to sync my work as a couple times in my life a machine has died, and this practice has saved me spin-up time in spades. I guess I’m uncomfortable with recommendations that suggest switching process/practice for some non-specific reasons, when this should work and has for (literally) years.

/scratcheshead. With OneDrive, the issue with Scriv sync seemed to be Scriv would save often, confusing OD, and borking the cloud data files. Does Scriv 3 sync with a higher frequency that now causes DP issues? I mean, if mine is an isolated case it’s probably just DP being a clown. But if it’s not isolated, that speaks to a wider issue.

It depends on what you have set it to.

To me this kind of conflict suggest that you are too quick to close the PC/Mac, before everything has had time to be saved, uploade and backed up. Dropbox isn’t always instantaneous.

Today I was working with Datagraph on one Mac and Scrivener on one. I created figures on Mac 1, saved in my Dropbox folder, moved over to Mac 2 and then dragged them into Scrivener. I did it one file at a time. Sometimes the upload/download sequence was instantaneous, but a few times Mac 1 had green lights in its DB folder and the DB app on Mac 2 said everything was updated, but the file just wasn’t there. Then after half a minute to a minute the file suddenly appeared on Mac 2. sometimes I think the delay was caused by Time Machine who suddenly started saving stuff, and sometimes, maybe the DB server was busy for a while?

How does one avoid such out-of-phase incidents? By being lazy and always giving each computer plenty of time to upload/download.

The save interval is driven by Scrivener’s autosave time, which can be found in the Scrivener → Preferences → General → Saving pane in Scrivener 3.

The sync interval is entirely determined by Dropbox. From Scrivener’s point of view, the Dropbox folder looks just like any other hard drive location. The Dropbox → Preferences → Network tab allows you to limit your bandwidth usage, but it shouldn’t matter unless you’re syncing big media files. Text should be nearly instantaneous with any reasonable connection speed. OTOH, other things could be accessing your hard drive. (Time Machine being the most obvious example.) Other things could be using your internet connection. (Streaming a movie while you write?)


It could be, sure. I guess I’ll keep an eye on it. I tend to walk away and leave the Mac on when I’ve finished, but yesterday I noticed (to your exact point :slight_smile: ) an upload of a 1MB file was taking 16 minutes.

If this is what happened back in the weekend, conceivably the Mac went to auto-sleep before DP had finished uploading. I’m not sure if there’s a cure for that other that spending time on YouTube while I wait for it to finish.

I’ll be vigilant with my laziness.

Pro, thanks. I’ve got it at the default (???) of 2 seconds, which should be fine.

I don’t limit my bandwidth at all, and I’m on a fiber connection (100mb down, but 20mb up, which should still be fast enough). I suspect based on the feedback here we’ve got a problem with DropBox being a little lazy for me on this particular occasion, rather than Scriv somehow doing something weird and unusual.

16 minutes? With a fiber connection? Something’s not right there, and it isn’t Scrivener.


That’s good to hear and will keep you covered in the event of catastrophe, as long as you ensure that OneDrive is running and the syncs complete. Very easy to do.

I think you are experiencing the specific reasons now. :smiley:

Here’s how I look at it.

A zipped project is a simple thing to sync correctly. It is nearly foolproof, as long as the sync completes. ETA: And making a zipped backup of your project will never break your project.

A live project is a complex thing to sync correctly. Things out of your control can break your project during syncing, like invisible (to you) changes made by service providers or your OS provider, or your internet connectivity having a bad hair day.

I’m not trying to convince you to change your process, If what it takes to make you comfortable is saving your live projects on DropBox – in addition to your zipped backups – then that’s the best process for you.

My point, perhaps poorly made, was simply that the zipped backups are sufficient for disaster purposes. While it seems like a good idea to take that extra step of using your live project as a backup of itself, the syncing required to do that introduces (IMHO) unnecessary risk of your project being broken – and that is what you are experiencing now.

Best of luck,

One thing that sometimes make my DB app wait is if the Mac is very busy sith something else, using most of the band width, like Time Machine being active backing up the Mac, or me watching videos that require a lot of band width.
To me, being lazy and doing nothing means, literally, doing nothing with the computer.