Pace of uploading internal drive files when external drive is disconnected

Dear Boxifier,

Base Situation: There are 75,000 files on a local (internal) drive that are fullly synced. There are 50,000 files on an external drive that are fully synced and Boxifier is protecting. Currently, the local internal drive is connected (of course). The external drive is disconnected.

Scenario: I added a 25MB file to the local (internal) drive - local-drive-file.pdf

Expected result: The 25MB local-drive-file I just added would upload to Dropbox within a few seconds, like it usually does.

Actual result: 30 minutes later, the file is not added/synced up with Dropbox. Dropbox shows this:

Indexing 50,000 files
Can’t sync “exernal-drive-file.jpg” (access denied)
Uploading 10 files….

For my planning purposes, can you give us a peek behind the curtain and let me know how having the external drive disconnected changes the syncing priority / queue? I believe the local-drive-file will sync, but does Dropbox have to iterate through all 50,000 external drive files first?


This is related to this topic:

This is on top of our priorities right now and we are working on a fix for this so I will have more details soon :wink:

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Will the local files ever sync up while the external drive is disconnected?

Yes, they will sync.

Roger that. Also, I just confirmed that they will upload/sync. It took about an hour, but the new file is there now.


Dear joesmith,

As you see from the link provided by bogdan the problem has been “on the top of their priorities” since May 2015.
So don’t cherish too much hope on that.

And you are lucky to have your files synchronized. I have about 200 thousand files on external drive, so internal files are never synchronized if the external drive is disconnected. Even if the synchronization had ran for 10 hours.

Yeah, they are probably a small firm with a lot of competing priorities. I can sympathize with that as a small business owner myself. I’m just glad that there is an active solution like Boxifier, otherwise I was going to be up a creek. Hopefully they’ll get to a workable fix. I’m not sure how much an external solution can “control” what order Dropbox tries to upload files anyway.

Dropbox seems to be iterating through the external drive files trying to upload them, but Boxifier tricks Dropbox into thinking the file is opened (“locked”). A reasonable hypothesis is that Dropbox spends a fixed amount of time per file trying to process it (say 5 seconds) before moving on. Therefore, the more external files you have, the more Dropbox will spend trying to iterate through them.

For your situation, I’m not saying any of these are perfect or even good interim solutions, but a few ideas:

  • Could you zip/7z up some of the external files together so that there are fewer files?
  • If you let Dropbox sync for 20 hours, would the local files eventually sync? What about 40 hours?
  • If you Paused Dropbox syncing via the Dropbox system tray icon, then Unpaused, would that shuffle around the syncing order enough to allow local files to sync?
  • Maybe set the Dropbox upload rate to unlimited?
  • In your Dropbox folder, you have folders A-folder, B-folder, Boxifier, Camera Uploads, etc… Perhaps Dropbox iterates through the folders alphabetically. If you modified a local file in the A-folder, would it upload quickly? Might be a strategy around that if it uploads quickly.
  • Dropbox seems to upload small files first. Would a very small local file upload quickly?

Again, maybe not great interim ideas but some things to try depending on how important syncing up the local files are without the external drive connected. Of course, the perfect solution is for Boxifier to remedy this systematically.

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Thank you, joesmith for ideas. I wish the boxifier people were as fast with response )))

First of all, are you sure your external drive was not connected when the local test file was finally uploaded? I mean, that usually it takes about an hour after reconnection of external drive before the Boxifier begins to deal with local files. Your experiment sound as a miracle to me.

As for your ideas:

  • Zips will work with folders that are not archives I need to make a search-in from time to time.
  • Upon learning of your unexpected success, I immediately started to test. Alas. 120 043 files have been being indexed for 10 hour with no end. A tiny test text file has not been uploaded. I don’t have such huge chunks of time as 20 or 40 hours for uninterrupted synchronising.
  • I don’t think so but I will try it out asap.
  • It is set to unlimited.
  • The endless indexing is related to external drive. So no changes to local folders or files are processed disregarding their names or…
  • … size

In general, the problem exists for almost a year, so if any solution had been found, it would have been announced by the developers or shared by users. As you see nothing of that kind is observed.

I sympathize any small firm. I have been in their shoes too. But why they should fool people with false promises like “Unplugged your external drive? No problem”? How many people it takes to reveal the truth or remove a passage of lie from their features section?

Hi Roman,

I don’t know if you are familiar with how software development works. Moreover, Dropbox keeps constantly changing so a solution that worked at a given moment might not still work today. Software doesn’t run in isolation. It interacts with other software products, the operating system. All of these can change, so coming up with a solution is not as easy as it may sound to some. It’s ok to make assumptions, it’s just that in this case they are very far from reality.

I am sorry to see that the message was took out of context and these things certainly won’t help anyone. If you check our website you will see our promise:

Our promise with Boxifier is that your files do not get deleted if you unplug your external drive. We honor that promise. They don’t get deleted.

Taking things out of context and relating them to another use case (sync speed when the external drive is disconnected) won’t help anyone here.

I wish there were a way for you to see all the research and work that goes into building Boxifier before expressing your thoughts.

I’m sure. I disconnected the external drive because I heard the ominous “clicking” signaling that the drive was failing. (I left it disconnected until I had a chance to test it thoroughly yesterday.) But I was watching the local files closely because I needed to share them out.

Has a fix for this been found?

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