So I have recently installed two separate concurrent instances of dropbox on Mavericks. There are plenty of scripts on the web (all roughly the same) that seem to lead to a common issue, specifically for Mavericks. After the second instance is started via this script:

HOME=$HOME/Dropbox-second /Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/MacOS/Dropbox &

it hangs in a constant state of 'starting.' I have looked around quite a bit and can't seem to come up with a solution. Any ideas or leads would be greatly appreciated.

In response to comments: Ideally, the solution would function for the same user account of the computer. The idea is that two separate Dropbox accounts be available and usable at the same time. I do understand Dropbox doesn't support this functionality, hence the reason for the question. It is a workaround solution that I'm after. Additionally, the script cited above does work in other versions of osx, so again I'm asking for solutions to regain functionality in Mavericks specifically. Thanks for your help.

  • 1
    Why are you doing this?
    – IconDaemon
    Aug 18 '15 at 18:53
  • Not sure the relevance to the question but in the interest of moving forward let's just say that I have two separate sets of information that I would prefer to access simultaneously without having to run the logout/login cycle to perform.
    – visyoual
    Aug 18 '15 at 19:11

Personal Dropbox does not work in this fashion, as it causes open preference file conflicts, thus the hang on the startup of the second instance. You must login and logout of each personal Dropbox account to use them individually, or used shared folders for common files. You can also have two Dropbox accounts open in different web browser windows.

If you are a Dropbox for Business user, you can have personal and Business accounts sync to single devices, which is what you may be looking for.

  • Or you could run the second instance as a different user?
    – Rainer
    Aug 20 '15 at 12:40
  • Unless I'm mistaken, the OP wants to run both instances under one user.
    – IconDaemon
    Aug 20 '15 at 13:53
  • 1
    Nothing is stated about users - the OP just wants to run two instances. And the easiest might be to use a different user. Might even work with using sudo -u ?
    – Rainer
    Aug 20 '15 at 13:57
  • Exactly. In the absence of a clear statement about multiple users, I assume that the OP wishes to have two instances running under one account name. That's all. From the description of the second instance hanging, I can hypothesize that the single-user nature of Personal Dropbox is getting in the way of itself. I think its time the OP chime in and edit the question to more fully explain the circumstances.
    – IconDaemon
    Aug 20 '15 at 22:16
  • 1
    Would be useful - but I don't see any disadvantage for running the second dropbox instance as a different user - you can always put an alias to the other users dropbox folder and you have them available in your main account. And as the aim seems to be to run two instances, and only the option to run them as one user was tried, running them as different users could solve the problem.
    – Rainer
    Aug 21 '15 at 12:03

I believe OP has two separate Dropbox accounts and wants to have both running simultaneously. This means running two instances of Dropbox. Dropbox themselves do not support this (why should they?) so there are various workarounds.

I used a similar script (run in bash shell) to OP's for several years on Snow Leopard without any issues:

HOME=$HOME/Dropbox_secondary /Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/MacOS/Dropbox > /dev/null 2>&1 &

When I upgraded to Mavericks a while ago, I started to notice Dropbox files were not syncing. That's when I discovered the same problem as OP. One Dropbox instance will launch and sync just fine, but the the second instance gets stuck in the 'Starting...' phase. Forever.

The instance that hangs sometimes changes when I restart my Macbook. By this I mean that sometimes it's the 'Dropbox_secondary' folder and other times it's the 'default' Dropbox folder, i.e., the original one that I first set up.

I also cannot find a solution to this. Most sites post the same script as OP and I have given as examples. It seems as though something in Mavericks is stopping it from working, but nobody knows what.

  • Or something in dropbox stops it as they don't want to support it
    – mmmmmm
    Aug 25 '15 at 10:47

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