My situation is that I work close to equally from home and from my workplace's office, and I'm attempting to set up two Ubuntu virtual machines that stay mostly synced with each other. I'm primarily concerned with syncing preferences and files, as I won't change software packages enough to justify attempting to sync that to.

My solution was to set up dropbox on both VMs, and create file links from my user home folder into the dropbox folder. The dropbox folder exists in a different directory, with appropriate file permissions, that's not contained by my user's home folder. My VMs are also the same ubuntu version (12.04 64 bit). As far as I can tell the syncing part works correctly.

My problem is that dropbox seems to be caught in some kind of recursive situation where it's constantly attempting to sync files that are constantly changing between the two machines. This is most obvious in the data use, as after having had dropbox installed and the VM running for about four days, I started the VM this morning and it's already used 1.5gb of bandwidth to sync a home folder that's only 440mb or so. Dropbox also runs 60% or more CPU use constantly.

My question that you guys can answer is what ubuntu related files and folders should I add to the dropbox ignore list so it's not constantly syncing files that change regularly, but are irrelevant to my needs? Is there an error/message log someplace that I should ignore or anything like that?

1 Answer 1


If you are using your home (~/) folder as your Dropbox folder, Dropbox is syncing all your dotfiles, which are hidden configuration files and folders, like ~/.bashrc and the like. This can make it slow because of the number of files and folders it syncs.

As far as I know, the only way to prevent Dropbox from syncing them is through DropboxIgnore.

A simpler option would be to just set your Dropbox folder to another location.

  • It turned out that dropbox was syncing some files that were specific to dropbox, and then once those files were synced to dropbox, dropbox changed the files, so it synced them again, and got caught in sort of a recursive infinite loop. I went with the simplest solution months ago to just use dropbox to sync some document folders and maintain software and settings concurrency manually. There's too many headaches otherwise.
    – Ken
    Dec 3, 2013 at 21:02

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