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I recently noticed that Dropbox is taking about 50-90% of my CPU for more than just a few seconds sometimes - mostly when downloading/syncing many or large files.

Still, I guess that even when syncing a lot of data, there's no reason to use that much CPU (perhaps network or disk..)

Any ideas or suggestions? How can I make Dropbox use less CPU?

(running on Ubuntu 12.04 on Lenovo X220 with SSD Drive)

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I think that is a bug and you should contact dropbox for that, I will install it on Ubuntu 12.10 for you to check that(downloaded from the site or the software centre?) –  Dr_Bunsen Oct 25 '12 at 18:22
    
The nautilus-dropboxextension downloads dropbox from their site. –  Uri Herrera Oct 25 '12 at 18:26
    
@UriHerrera I'm not sure I understood what you mean? –  yoav85 Oct 25 '12 at 22:12
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One thing I do is start dropbox with a niceness of 18. Perhaps this would help your situation too. –  Scott Wilson Apr 22 '13 at 18:28
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This question is referred to in Super User question Dropbox causes high CPU usage on Mac OS X 10.8.2 (Mountain Lion). –  Peter Mortensen Nov 24 '13 at 12:24
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Dropbox computes a hash of all files that it's going to sync, it uses it both to determine if they changed and to avoid uploading content that is already in their cloud (another customer has the same file).

Calculating hashes takes CPU power. It's usually noticeable at login.

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I see.. I guess that might be the reason - though it's still quite annoying sometimes! Thanks :) –  yoav85 Oct 26 '12 at 16:54
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Perhaps there is more to it than the problem of hashing.

One thing that I find strange is that with lsof | grep dropbox I do not see many open files under ~/Dropbox for the dropbox process.

What I did was to aptitude purge all packages related to dropbox, rm -r the 3 ~/.dropbo* folders (but not the ~/Dropbox folder), and then enable partner repositories and aptitude install nautilus-dropbox. Whether this procedure is problematic I do not know.

After a while (an hour?) with the new install and with dropbox CPU load I no longer see the load, so apparently the problem is solved. Perhaps the purging has helped or I just had a very large batch of files that needed updating.

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Thanks! I'll give it a try the next time something like this happens again. –  yoav85 Mar 20 '13 at 22:34
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