I feel like I'm in a very boring episode of Doctor Who
September 4, 2013 8:09 AM Subscribe
I'm having a weird problem with Dropbox, and googling is failing me because lots of people can't find their Dropbox files. But I can't find them in a very special and exciting way, involving differences between Finder and the command line. What am I dealing with here?
posted by heyforfour to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
I use a Dropbox account across a couple of computers. The oldest member of the group is a Macbook Pro running 10.6.7. Lately, it syncs correctly to all appearances, *so long as I only attempt to interact with my files through Finder.* New folders and files sync to the Dropbox account, deleted files delete correctly, all is well.
However, when accessed through a terminal, and I think any program using the unix file interface (Matlab definitely, maybe others), my file directory is stuck in the past/an alternate timestream. Both file directories appear to be fully 'real', but they don't talk to each other. To illustrate:
In Finder, I can:
Make a new folder, drop a new textfile into it. Both sync happily to dropbox, persists system restart, etc. However, in the terminal this folder doesn't appear to ls -a, and it cannot be cd'd into.
In the terminal:
echo "sometext" >> myfile.txt
creates a folder and text file which can be printed to the terminal, persists past system restart, etc. etc. But it is not visible in Finder, and it doesn't sync to the Dropbox account. The result of this is that my terminal directory is largely from the past, modulo a variety of test updates and files created by other users. I'm inclined to think that this is the more broken of the directory versions, because of a secondhand report/experience of dataloss in that folder (someone was writing files to a folder which exists only in Terminal land, and those datafiles are not present anymore. Possibly this is unrelated user error though.)
All of this behavior is 1) unique to the Dropbox folder, but 2) persists when the computer is not connected to the internet and/or syncing is paused. Folders and files created e.g. in the Desktop folder appear normally in both Finder & terminal, delete appropriately, etc. I can create a file in either the terminal timestream or Finder timestream of the Dropbox folder, and if I then copy that file to the Desktop, both versions of the directory know about it.
Sadly, I don't know exactly when this happened or what might have started the problem- this computer is used mostly not by me, but by a small group of people who navigate the filesystem using Finder, and (should be) entering only a very small set of shell and Matlab commands.
What the hell is this, and more importantly, how do I fix it? I've not yet taken the nuclear option of removing Dropbox entirely from this computer and attempting a reinstall, both because it will derail several people's work until I can get it back online, and on the off chance of breaking something further before I know what's going on...