The Dropbox Application Didn't Start

Person holding black android smartphone with brown case.jpg

Dropbox's desktop application allows you to add files and folders to your Dropbox account using Explorer. When the application does not load up, it impedes your ability to maintain an up-to-date backup of your important files. You may need to update Dropbox, or the program may be failing due to program settings. Certain software conflicts also cause problems with the Dropbox application.

1 Update Dropbox

If Dropbox does not boot or sync, you may need to update the application -- especially if you recently upgraded your operating system. Dropbox tends to avoid frequent auto-updating to ensure application stability. Go to the Dropbox website and check the Release Notes section to see the most recent stable version of Dropbox for your operating system (link in Resources). Download and run the installer.

2 Error Messages

Keep an eye out for error messages when Dropbox fails to open. The "OperationalError" or "BrokenTempDirError" error indicates that you need to change the permissions for your Temp folder. Do this by opening Explorer and entering "%LOCALAPPDATA%" into the Location bar. Right-click on the "Temp" folder and choose "Properties." Open the "Security" tab, select your username, and click "Edit." Dropbox indicates that you must select both "Include inheritable permissions from this object's parent" and "Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object."

3 Software Conflicts

Antivirus or anti-malware programs may require you to add Dropbox to your whitelist before you can use the program. Dropbox lists both Panda Global Protection and ESET NOD32 as antivirus programs that have known issues with Dropbox. The Windows TuneUp utility also tends to uninstall Dropbox as an optimization measure. You will need to disable this program to use Dropbox.

4 Corrupted Settings

Corrupted or protected settings may cause errors with running Dropbox. To fix this, uninstall Dropbox and clear out the application data before reinstalling the program. Remove these old settings by uninstalling the program and restarting the computer. Open Explorer and enter "%APPDATA%" in the location bar. Delete the "Dropbox" folder. This is not the folder where your synced files are located, but just the folder where Dropbox stores your settings; enter "%HOMEPATH%\Dropbox" in the location bar if you want to double-check that your files are still present. Reinstall Dropbox on your computer.

Ashley Poland has been writing since 2009. She has worked with local online businesses, supplying print and web content, and pursues an active interest in the computer, technology and gaming industries. In addition to content writing, Poland is also a fiction writer. She studied creative writing at Kansas State University.