Since upgrading my hard drive (and reinstalling OS X), doing an OS X "Migration" to the new drive, and finally re-logging into Dropbox, I now show 700 files have syncing issues. This shows up when I click on the Dropbox icon in my top bar.

I can only see one of the files though, as the menu to see more is grayed out. The error is "Permission denied", but I checked the permissions on the file, and it is owned by me.


  1. Is there a log file somewhere that shows me the other 699 files with issues?

  2. Any ideas why some of my files have syncing issues? Other files are syncing fine. The OS X account username is the same as it was before my reinstall, although I was wondering if it had something to do with user ID's being different (i.e. the underlying Linux UID, asssuming Dropbox uses it).

2 Answers 2


Dropbox support will walk you through how to fix this on their web site. Search for permission error "OS X" and you'll get this link:

Here is the summary of steps needed on OS X since the article is mostly about Windows errors and antivirus causes of the same error.

For our advanced users

If unlinking and relinking your account doesn't solve the issue, your settings may be protected or inaccessible due to a permissions problem. If this is the case, you can remove your settings by hand using an administrative account. Here's how:

  • Quit Dropbox by clicking on the Dropbox menu from the menu bar and selecting Quit
  • From Finder click on the Go menu and select Go to folder... (Shift-Command-G)
  • In the resulting field, type:


This will take you directly to your settings files, which are normally invisible in the Finder.

  • Move all the files in your settings folder to the trash
  • Restart Dropbox.

Dropbox is located in your Applications folder. Once Dropbox loads, the application will rebuild your settings files and you will be asked to relink to your account.

Note: We're working on a way to check and fix your Dropbox installation automatically from within the application. Stay tuned...

If you are reading this and use a version of Dropbox much newer than v1.4.12, you might check Dropbox help before deleting the .dropbox folder and restarting the app, just in case they have implemented a better fix in a newer version of the software.

If this doesn't work on your Mac, you might also need to take a second step of renaming the actual Dropbox folder to ensure it can download everything from Dropbox and then use a tool like Kaleidoscope to diff the two folders and check that nothing was lost in the shuffle.

  • I tried deleting the ".dropbox" folder, but after it relinked itself, the same error returned. I'm going to hold off on deleting my Dropbox folder and re-downloading my files. I tried contacting Dropbox, but they just replied saying they are too busy to reply to all support requests, and suggested I upgrade to a premium account :P Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 20:51
  • Do you have Time Machine? If so, it has many backups of your Dropbox folder. You could make another backup and then browse the backup to be sure you have the items safe. Do this even if you don't want to erase the folder - who knows if dropbox is even working at this point. :( Sadly, you may wait a very long time since they have so many free users you might consider upping to premium if you need personalized support.
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 21:52

I never found a log file that showed all the files that were not syncing, but did figure out where my problem was: I had symlinks to folders that no longer existed under my freshly installed computer.

I used dropbox.com to search for the one file the menu showed was having syncing issues. Then I checked that folder, and noticed the symlink issue.

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