How can you see which file Dropbox is currently uploading (or downloading, I assume dropbox doesn't do both at the same time) ?

  • Which operating system - Windows?
    – Robert
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 11:26
  • @Robert: doesn't matter, although mainly on Windows 7 Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 15:12
  • On the Mac, it changes the icon of the folders and files as they are being synced. Not sure if this is true for Windows as well.
    – KeithB
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 15:54
  • @KeithB that's the same behavior for Windows client was well.
    – Sathyajith Bhat
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 6:30
  • How to do this on Ubuntu?
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 5, 2012 at 13:28

8 Answers 8


There's no easy way to tell from within Dropbox, but you can get an idea of it by looking at what files the dropbox process is accessing.

For any version of Windows, you can use SysInternals ProcMon. This gives a list of all current file, registry, and other actions. It can be filtered down to show just the data you want - in this case, what files Dropbox is accessing.

Open procmon.exe, and open the Filters dialog. Set the following filters:

Process Name   is           Dropbox.exe                     Include
Operation      is           ReadFile                        Include
Operation      is           WriteFile                       Include
Path           begins with  C:\users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData   Exclude
Path           is           C:                              Exclude

This will result in ProcMon only showing file reads and writes from Dropbox, excluding the config files that Dropbox accesses. Effectively, this will show you all files that Dropbox is uploading or downloading.

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A quicker but harder to interpret method is to use the Resource Monitor in Windows 7. To access the resource monitor, open the Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc), go to the Performance tab, and click on Resource Monitor.

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Once that opens, go to the Disk tab, and in the 2nd panel, sort by the process name. Look for the activity under the Dropbox process to get an idea of what file it's processing.

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  • bit of pain to get this done at first but it is a valid answer and is pretty much what the OP wants.
    – Sathyajith Bhat
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 14:43
  • Very good answer, though it didn't seem to help. Mystery #1, why was Dropbox reading all kinds of files it had no business reading, as they'd been uploaded weeks ago. Solved when I paused another computer that was downloading those files. So dropbox must be using the LAN not the internet to transfer them between this and that local computers! Kinda sweet. But pausing eventually removed every single Dropbox.exe process from the Disk Activity windows. So mystery #2 is, Dropbox still claims to be uploading 20 humongous files on this non-paused computer, but it has no disk activity.
    – Bob Stein
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 21:26

You can use fs_usage on the Mac to view Dropbox's activity:

sudo fs_usage | grep ~/Dropbox

This uses grep to search for any activity with my User's Dropbox folder. You could also try the following to view all activity:

sudo fs_usage -f filesys

Use the following to only show activity from the Dropbox process (if Dropbox is the name of the process):

sudo fs_usage Dropbox

Hope that helps :)


For Linux, you can probably get a hint by looking at what files the Dropbox process is accessing.

ls -l /proc/$(pidof dropbox)/fd | egrep -v 'pipe:|socket:|/dev'

Just because Dropbox is accessing a file, doesn't necessarily mean it's being uploaded. With a bit of human oversight however, you should be able to make a good guess about which file (if any) is really being uploaded.


On linux systems dropbox status will show what dropbox is currently up to including any files that are being synced.


Dropbox doesn't show the fine details of which file is being uploaded/downloaded. The indication is limited to showing whether files are being synced and if so, how many are being synced.

dropbox sync stats

Also, if you know which folder is being uploaded, the icon changes indicating sync behaviour.

dropbox sync icon


On Ubuntu 14.04:

ls -lhat /proc/`pgrep dropbox`/fd | egrep -v "\-> socket:" | egrep -v "\-> pipe:" | egrep -v "\-> anon_inode" | egrep -v "/dev/null" | egrep -v "\-> /dev/*" 

The most-recently touched files are at the top of the list. For me right now, the process is churning on its own internal files (aggregation.dbx, deleted.dbx, filecache.dbx, etc.) rather than anything in its dropbox directory.


On Mac OS X with version 3.2.6 of DropBox you can click on the DropBox icon in the system tray. That opens a pull down menu with shows the current file being uploaded and an estimate of time remaining.

Interestingly it is not described on this page: https://www.dropbox.com/en/help/38


On most Linux systems, this should be the best way to see what files your local dropbox process is accessing.

    lsof -n -p $(pidof dropbox)

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