Windows 7 starts up very quick (it’s installed on an SSD with an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, and all services I don’t use are disabled), but then Dropbox starts and begins indexing files which are on a different disk (SATA Plate HDD, 1TB with 200GB partitions, which includes a Dropbox folder with around 40GB of files). This indexing takes up to 10 minutes and the noise is very annoying. There is also that feeling that something is still loading because of this noise. Note that the Dropbox folder contains My Documents and My Pictures folders, but half the time I am not even adding or changing any files. Is there any way to skip this indexing on start-up or to reduce indexing time?

I know that you can disable Dropbox from starting with Windows, but I would like it to start automatically but skip the indexing part (since there were no changes to files since Windows shut down).

I find this behavior of long indexing strange because before upgrading to a new PC I also had Dropbox on the old one (even the same Plate HDD with same files was used) and there was no indexing noise on startup.

  • Here is what I found out after months have passed and I reinstalled Windows again. I am still using exactly the same hardware, disks are still in same positions inside the case and everything else is the same but the noise is reduced. It appears for some reason that Dropbox on earlier windows installation was doing full indexing each time on startup but now just does startup indexing as expected. Unfortunatly I don't know what triggered this Dropbox bug but reinstallation might help if you are having similar problems. Jul 21, 2014 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


According to the Dropbox Forum you cannot skip the start up indexing as:

A full indexing is way longer than the startup indexing. Remember, after startup, Dropbox NEEDs to check if any file has changed while Dropbox did > not run. There is no possibility to skip that.

From this I gather the only way to prevent such an occurrence is to stop Dropbox booting on start-up, but I am happy to stand corrected on this issue.


Generally speaking the difference between full and startup indexing is:

If you reinstall, relink or delete everything your account will require a full index since it is starting from scratch. If, however, your system has an intact index of files a startup index will check to see if anything has changed and act accordingly.

Obviously the more you change during each index the longer it will take. So a good point of call would be to look at how much stuff changes in your Dropbox account. So, for example, do you use it to backup files which change on a daily basis.

It might be an idea to turn off automatic startup and run the process once your system is booted up. Allow you to get on with doing whatever you want while it works in the background.

  • Thank you for the response. I know that is essentially how dropbox works but I don't get why it's so slow. Do you happen to know what is the difference between full and start-up indexing? I am beginning to think that it's doing full indexing every time when I start Windows because of the times and I/O operations. Feb 18, 2014 at 13:02
  • If it's only taking 10 minutes I highly doubt it's doing a full index with the amount of data you have. If you turn it off at startup and run it manually you might get a better idea of what it's doing. I have edited my answer to reflect this position. Hope this helps. Feb 18, 2014 at 13:09
  • Very good additional info. I only don't get why it's taking so much time on much faster CPU then it was before the update. As I said 50% of the times I don't even change any files but it still takes 10+ minutes to complete. Could it be the problem with moving the disk (thus the index) from one PC to another? Feb 18, 2014 at 13:31
  • You would likely have to start a process of elimination to find out where (if any) problem exists. I don't know how Dropbox reacts when it's files are on a separate drive. It might very well need to run a deeper index. It might take a long time with the data you have, but unlinking/relinking your account might deal with any possible index database errors. Feb 18, 2014 at 13:45
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    Althou this did not solve my problem with the noise it did explain some things in detail which I think had effects on the noise. I first redused the problem by selectivly starting Dropbox from time to time but after new Windows installation the problem is gone. All in all I consider your answer to be valuable info and that is why I accepted it as correct. Jul 21, 2014 at 11:45

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