Dropbox: File System Changes (2024)


U-M Dropbox


Dropbox is making several changes to their file system, including how files/folders are structured.


Beginning June 11, 2024, Dropbox will make several changes to their file system:

  • Everyone will have a new personal folder denoted by their name (e.g., “Nancy Emcard”).
    • The files/folders you own and files/folders shared with you are now stored in this folder.
    • This does not include Team Folders or files/folders within them on which you are shared. These are stored outside your personal folder.
    • You cannot move a Team Folder (or file/subfolder within it) under your personal folder.
  • When you share a subfolder in a Team Folder with someone who doesn’t have access to the Team Folder, the entire folder path to the subfolder you’ve shared will be visible to them.
    • This change will apply to all existing/previously shared subfolders, as well as any new subfolders you share moving forward.
    • Example: Your Team Folder is “MED-Research.” You have a subfolder, “Study Participants,” that includes subfolders with participants’ names, like “John Doe.” Within a participant subfolder, you have another subfolder, “Non-identifiable subject data.” You share the “Non-identifiable subject data” subfolder with someone who doesn’t have access to the Team Folder. The Team Folder and parent subfolder NAMES (not content) will now be visible to that individual. (“MED-Research > Study Participants > John Doe > Non-identifiable subject data” instead of just “Non-identifiable subject data.”)
    • Any other files or subfolders a collaborator is not explicitly shared on will remain hidden from their view. (This means all content in that folder path is still hidden - subfolder names are not.)
    • If you share an individual file with someone outside the Team Folder, the file/folder path to the file will not be visible to them. They will only find those files in the Shared section of Dropbox.
      • Example: Team Folder 1 > Subfolder 1 > File A. Only File A would be visible to them, not the file path.
    • We strongly recommend reviewing your Team Folder’s subfolder structures and sharing before June 11 and updating as needed. This will ensure that confidential or sensitive subfolder names are not revealed to collaborators shared at that level.
    • The newly revealed folder paths will not be visible to external collaborators outside of the U-M Dropbox domain. They will only be visible to collaborators who have accounts within U-M Dropbox.
    • If you previously synced one of these affected subfolders to your desktop using Selective Sync in the Dropbox desktop app, it may no longer appear synced after the transition. If it has gone "missing," open your Selective Sync settings in the app, select the top-level Team Folder that contains the subfolder you have access to (as the Team Folder name should be visible to you now), and save your settings.
  • If you were previously shared on a subfolder within a Team Folder you don't have access to, the name of that subfolder may change.
    • Before June 11, your subfolder name would not update to reflect any changes to the name made by members of the Team Folder. (It would remain the same name as when it was first shared with you.)
    • After June 11, when a member of the Team Folder changes the subfolder's name, it will also change the name for you.
  • When using the Dropbox desktop app, the name will change from “Dropbox (University of Michigan)” to “University of Michigan Dropbox” in your file directory.
    • Windows Quick access links/Shortcuts and Mac aliases to files/folders may need to be reset.
    • On Windows, the old directory name may be kept as a hidden shortcut in your File Explorer after the change occurs. If you need to remove it from your view, simply right-click and remove it from the sidebar.
  • On June 11, you may encounter a sync error if:
    • You leave apps using files stored in Dropbox open on your desktop after midnight. Close all files and apps to allow Dropbox to resync.
      • Windows users: You may receive a locked file/folder error ("Can't sync Dropbox account") or the sync status may say "Updating Dropbox account" or "Upgrading database" if you have left things open. You should close the apps and files causing the error and click Try Again on the error message. If closing apps/files doesn't work, do NOT click Cancel! Contact the ITS Service Center for assistance.
    • You’re running an outdated version of the Dropbox desktop app. Ensure your app is updated to version 192 or later.

Additional Information

  • Dropbox calls the new file system the "team space model" and the previous system the "team folder model."
  • If you have downloaded and synced a large amount of data (GBs) locally to your desktop using the Dropbox desktop app, your resyncing may take several hours.
    • The workaround if you need to access these files in the meantime is to access them on the web (dropbox.umich.edu).
  • You should receive no notifications from Dropbox regarding this change. (You may receive in-app notifications after the update.)
  • When you click the Create button at the top of your All Files view, you will now need to select which folder you want to create the file or folder in.
  • Dropbox - Get started with the team space
  • Information regarding Dropbox API updates

Need additional information or assistance? Contact the ITS Service Center.

Print Article


Article ID: 11993
Fri 4/19/24 1:26 PM
Fri 6/14/24 3:52 PM