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I'm using dropbox across several machines - two macs, two linux machines.

All are working happily - except for one mac, where there are 4 files that persistently refuse to update.

In finder, these 4 files have a red X icon. The dropbox menu is stuck on 'syncing' (and has been for about a week now), and has part of an error message saying that it can't write to these files.

In Finder's "Get Info", it says I have read+write access; at the commandline, ls shows that they have -rwxrwxrwx permissions.

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What kind of files are they? Can you execute them without Finder asking the "are you sure?" question, like when you download something from the internet and it warns you first. –  Marcin Jan 14 '10 at 1:03
    
Does quitting and relaunching Dropbox help? That was all it took when mine was stuck on "syncing" a while back. If you search your logs for dropbox do you get any useful hits? –  ridogi Jan 14 '10 at 1:17
    
@marcin: they're documents. Didn't try to execute them (but it would have been fruitless, they're not executables - I don't know why the x bits were set) –  James Polley Jan 14 '10 at 1:40
    
@ridogi Relaunching dropbox didn't help, rebooting didn't help. Logs don't show anything useful. –  James Polley Jan 14 '10 at 1:41
    
("didn't" rather than "doesn't" because I've already solved this, but my solution was esoteric; I'm hoping that someone else can come up with a better answer, but if not I'll just have to answer my own question so that the solution is at least documented) –  James Polley Jan 14 '10 at 1:50
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The HFS+ filesystem includes flags, which provide extra permissions on top of the usual Unix permissions. One of the flags is "unchangeable" - which does what the name suggests.

Several files inside my dropbox had been flagged as unchangeable. You can check for this with ls:

Sombrero:directory polleyj$ ls -Ol
total 0
-rwxrwxrwx  1 polleyj  admin  uchg 0 15 Jan 23:29 file1

-0 tells ls to show the extra flags; uchg indicates that this files in unchangeable.

Sombrero:directory polleyj$ rm file1 
override rwxrwxrwx  polleyj/admin uchg for file1? y
rm: file1: Operation not permitted
Sombrero:directory polleyj$ mv file1 ..
mv: rename file1 to ../file1: Operation not permitted
Sombrero:directory polleyj$ 

To fix this, use chflags:

Sombrero:directory polleyj$ chflags nouchg file1 
Sombrero:directory polleyj$ rm file1 
Sombrero:directory polleyj$ ls
Sombrero:directory polleyj$ 
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I ran into the same problem and found out one of the directories in Dropbox was owned by a different user. Running chown on that directory cleared up the sync issue.

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Now that you mention it, that makes sense. Having the "unchangeable" bit set means the file can't be modified; having it owned by a different user would have the same effect (and presumably produce the same symptom). –  James Polley May 14 '13 at 4:33
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1) Your Dropbox is on a network share that is disconnecting and reconnecting (restarting may help) 2) You're over your quota. You should remove files (or upgrade :-).

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Nope. 54% of Dropbox quota, and the local copy is on my laptop's hard drive –  James Polley Jan 14 '10 at 2:04
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