On Windows 7, I noticed that the Dropbox application shortcut took a few seconds to open and all it really does is open up the local folder in Windows Explorer. So I deleted the shortcut and manually added a shortcut to the Dropbox folder; that opens up in a jiffy.

To my surprise, when I looked a few days later, my manually added shortcut was gone and the Dropbox application short cut was back in the same position. Ok whatever, I may have imagined things so I did it again. Sure enough, it happened again.

Any idea what is going on here? How can a shortcut silently get replaced like this? Who/what is doing this?


  • 3
    Dropbox must be running some sort of check and when it realize it's shortcut has been replaced it replaces yours with its? Just a theory.. – TheXed Oct 3 '13 at 18:27
  • I couldn't Google up any information about this, can someone point me to any Dropbox documentation that confirms this? – partlycloudy Oct 3 '13 at 18:30
  • This silent remove and replace only happens when your fast shortcut has the same name as the slow shortcut? – parvus Oct 3 '13 at 18:38
  • I haven't tested that specifically but now that you mention, yes, both the shortcuts have the same name - Dropbox – partlycloudy Oct 3 '13 at 18:47
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    I have never seen this. If it is dropbox doing this it is probably because they want to make sure you have dropbox running when clicking that icon. (because if you close in the systray it stops syncing. Starting it via the icon starts it back up) I used to replace it with a shortcut too because of the lag but have never seen it change. Nowadays I use the shortcut in favorites in the explorer window. But you could test it first by renaming your shortcut to "Dropbox2" or something and see if your original Dropbox icon reappears after a while. – Rik Oct 3 '13 at 21:08

I guess it was the fact that the folder shortcut had the same name as the app shortcut. When I named the shortcut "Dropbox - Shortcut", it was not replaced by the Dropbox app shortcut. Strange that I am the only one seeing this behaviour but it works as I like now. Thanks to everyone for helping out.

  • I would rename it to "Dropbox2" or something. The " - Shortcut" is so ..... ieks ;) And no, you're not the only one. I didn't use the shortcut on the desktop (I use the one in the explorer window as favorite) but with some experimentation it was replaced on the desktop here too (although after a week because a rarely restart my PC) – Rik Oct 21 '13 at 13:36

The original Dropbox icon isn't simply a shortcut to your Dropbox sync folder. It's a shortcut to dropbox.exe. Now, when you trigger dropbox.exe, it starts the sync program. The sync program, when manually triggered, also opens the sync directory. If Dropbox is already running, triggering dropbox.exe will see that it is already running, and will not start another instance, but it still will open the sync directory. This is the reason why the original shortcut takes long while your shortcut is fast as you'd expect. Your shortcut is indeed just to open the folder, while the original one is a shortcut to a program, which then in turn opens the folder AFTER starting the sync or checking that it is running.

The reason why the shortcut keeps getting replaced with the original one is simple. Dropbox has some check and makes sure it's shortcut is there. If it isn't, it creates it. So, it checks, sees that it's shortcut is missing, and goes ahead and writes the shortcut. Since your manually created shortcut has the same name, it gets overwritten by the one created by the Dropbox program. So, create your shortcut with a different name


Try making the shortcut read-only, then it shouldn't get replaced when you reboot. Worked for me!

  • Amused by the downvote - I wouldn't have posted this if I didn't have the same problem and this fixed it. – 1'' Nov 16 '20 at 5:33

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