02 Dec

DropBox High I/O Issue

DropBox is a miracle, allowing you to share files and keeping all your files up to date without the need to install a file server. This problem happened when I tried to install DropBox on a Windows Vista laptop – an old Dell Inspiration 620. The symptoms reported by the user were slow application response times since DropBox was installed.

I had a look and the machine had a few gigs of disk space but DropBox was stuck reporting ‘Downloading 10 files….’ though it never seemed to do anything.

I had a look at the Resource Monitor application and sure enough DropBox had really high read/writes and the hard disk was running at 100%.

We decided to clean up some disk space and managed to free 9GB by deleting an old installation of Google Desktop. Within minutes the 9GB had disappeared.

It seemed that DropBox was downloading files and trying to write them to the disk but was failing due to a low disk space threshold within the application (there was at least some disk space left on the device so it wasn’t a physical limit). Given the laptop only had 110GB disk I turned on FileCompression which freed up another 10GB before I left for the day. When I came in DropBox had gone to its usual low disk I/O state, hard drive had 3GB free and the system was responsive again.

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