Mac OS

Couldn’t start Dropbox: How to fix and reinstall Dropbox

Dropbox allows you to upload and transfer files to the cloud, and share them as well. Dropbox also makes backing up and synchronization of docs, photos, videos, and other files to the cloud storage and allows access to them from any device, no matter where you are. With advanced sharing features, it’s easy to share docs and send files to family, friends, and co-workers. Uninstalling the Dropbox desktop app will not delete your Dropbox account or remove the Dropbox folder from your hard drive. Here are some Mac-related contents: How to make a screenshot on a mac device, how to stop Zoom App from launching automatically at startup on Mac, how to convert images from PNG to JPG on WordPress, Windows, and Mac, and how to stop apps from launching automatically upon startup on Mac.

The Dropbox icon will appear on your menu bar if the Dropbox desktop app is running correctly on your PC. If the Dropbox icon disappears, this could mean that the desktop app is inactive and not running on your device. Depending on why this is so, we can can launch the application again or reinstall Dropbox. 
- But in this troubleshooting guide, we will have to do a bit more because the home folder was renamed in this guide "How to change the name of your macOS user account and home folder" thereby making it impossible for Dropbox to access the Dropbox root folder.

The following error occurred due to renaming the home folder as discussed above. This error could also occur when you migrate your data and settings from a different device to another. Regardless of the root cause, uninstalling and reinstalling Dropbox will not help in resolving this issue. To fix this issue, kindly follow the steps below.

"couldn't start Dropbox" error message

Even when you remove the Dropbox folder as shown in the image below from your hard drive and reinstall Dropbox, this same “Couldn’t start Dropbox” error in the figure above will still come up. To resolve this issue, follow the steps below. You may need to alter the command below if the Dropbox folder is not in the default location.


Uninstall Dropdox App

To uninstall and remove the Dropbox app from your system correctly, run the following commands. This will surely uninstall the desktop app from your computer.

rm -rf ~/.dropbox-dist
rm -rf /var/lib/dropbox
rm -rf ~/.dropbox*
Run these commands to uninstall Dropbox

Download Dropbox App

Next, we will have to reinstall Dropbox. Head to the following URL “” and have Dropbox download. Once installed, you’ll have the Dropbox desktop app in your menu bar on Mac, and a Dropbox folder on your computer. Any changes you make to the Dropbox application are automatically synced to your account on

Download Dropbox

Install Dropbox App

Once you have downloaded it, you should be able to find the DropboxInstaller.dmg in your Mac’s Downloads location defined. Open the file to start your Dropbox download app as shown below. Double-click on the Dropbox icon in the installer window

Install Dropbox

As you can see below, DropBox is being downloaded.

Dropbox installer in progress

Following that, a warning sign will appear, as displayed below, cautioning you that Dropbox is an application downloaded from the internet:
– To proceed, click on “Open” to start the installation process

Click on Open

to Dropbox App

Upon installation, Dropbox requires you to sign in. If you do not already have a Dropbox account, you could sign-up (create) a new account.
– I have an account already, therefore, I will be signing in on the fly.

Sign in to Dropbox

Double-check Dropbox file Location

Click on the Advanced settings to open the Window up, as you can see below, this is the new “home folder” I have renamed in this guide. This was the root cause of this issue which we fixed with the steps discussed here.
– Click on next to continue

Check Dropbox file location

Make files Local

I will be selecting thee first option to make the files local. This will allow me to address Dropbox files offline.

Click on make file local and continue

Deselect Back up options

I do not want to backup any of the following folders to DropBox, therefore, I will deselect them. To proceed, click on OK to continue.

deselect backup options and continue

Yes, click on “Continue to Dropbox”. This confirms the previously deselected folder will not be backed up to Dropbox

Click on "Continue to Dropbox"

Now that the Dropbox desktop app installation is complete, the icon will now be available on your mac menu. Upon your Dropbox account setup, the dropbox folder will appear as a special Dropbox folder on your Mac. Therefore, any file or folder placed inside that folder is automatically replicated (synced) to the cloud.

I hope you found this blog post on How to fix couldn’t start Dropbox helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.

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1 year ago

This worked for me to make DB icon appear on my Mac menu bar from an old post on dropbox user board

” I went to Login Items in my user settings and deleted Dropbox, closed and saved it, then reopened Login Items and added it again. After rebooting, the Dropbox icon was back on my menu bar.”

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