How to fix broken nautilus-dropbox icon in ubuntu 18.04 GNOME-Flashback in top Panel?

See screenshot below:

image for Dropbox Nautilus bug


3 Answers 3


To sum up:

  1. Run

    dropbox stop && env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start
  2. Click on Dropbox icon after it starts up. Go to the "Preferences" and uncheck "Start Dropbox on system startup" (to prevent dropbox from changing the startup command after reboot.)

  3. Go to Applications > Preferences > Startup Applications, if Dropbox is already there click on Edit, and if not click on Add.

    Name: Dropbox
    Command: env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start
    Comment: Sync your files across computers and to the web

  4. Run

    gedit ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop

    replace Exec=dropbox start -i with

    Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start


  1. Run

    sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

    replace Exec=dropbox start -i with

    Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start
  • 1
    Prettified the formatting of your answer.
    – N0rbert
    May 1, 2018 at 20:59
  • After doing these steps, the dropbox icon came back, but if I left or right click on the icon, I just get an emptry menu. I'm running xubuntu 18.04.
    – user26866
    Aug 15, 2018 at 18:27

I can confirm it on clean Ubuntu 18.04 LTS install with GNOME FlashBack session, so I installed only GNOME Panel new package and Nautilus Dropbox plug-in

sudo apt-get install gnome-panel nautilus-dropbox

After installing of nautilus-dropbox I have logged-in to my Dropbox account.

Then after rebooting system I get the same image as OP, so I reported bug 1767665.

It may be fixed locally as @Alberts Muktupāvels (muktupavels) suggested on launchpad.
I shorten method to just two simple lines:

mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart/
cp  /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop
sed -i "s/dropbox start -i/env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i/" ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop

The first finds Exec line dropbox start -i in it and changes it to env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start (it forces dropbox to "use" Unity desktop even if we are using GNOME), the second creates user XDG-autostart directory, the third line copies XDG-autostart desktop-file to user XDG-autostart directory.

Afterwards Dropbox menu is in place and works as expected.

  • I edited both question and answer (see above). Voted to reopen.
    – N0rbert
    May 1, 2018 at 17:17
  • I suggest that 1. dropbox stop && env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start 2. Go to the settings in dropbox after it starts up and select to not start at startup. 3. Add or edit the start up application for dropbox with the command "env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start"
    – Vijay
    May 1, 2018 at 20:27
  • 1
    I tested my approach on clean installation of 18.04 LTS. It just works. So I prefer KISS principle here :)
    – N0rbert
    May 1, 2018 at 20:31

Current recommended solution - install dropbox ubuntu software center, not .deb

Remove everything

dropbox stop
dropbox status  # Should report "not running"
rm -rf ~/.dropbox-dist
rm -rf /var/lib/dropbox
rm -rf ~/.dropbox*
sudo apt-get remove nautilus-dropbox
sudo apt-get remove dropbox
rm /etc/apt/source.d/dropbox


Install dropbox from ubuntu software store

sudo apt-get install dropbox


  • I try it and get: "Package dropbox is not available, but is referred to by another package. This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or is only available from another source E: Package 'dropbox' has no installation candidate " Jul 7, 2020 at 19:18
  • The package you want is now called nautilus-dropbox.
    – shmu
    Jun 21, 2022 at 12:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .