Ubuntu: Dropbox icon is not working Xubuntu 14.04 LTS 64


A few hours ago the dropbox icon in Xubuntu 14.04 stopped working. The icon is black with a red slashed zero. I cannot click on it to bring up the dropbox menu. I believe there was an update right before this happened. I reinstalled then purged dropbox. I even deleted all associated files and hidden folders and after I installed it again. Still, the icon is not working. Tried to stop and start the service... again nothing.


Just got this bug on my Xubuntu 15.10, broken icon and no way to open the menu. I think the bug is connected to Dropbox starting to use "indicator area" for their tray icon instead of "notification area" and the sudo-fix just happens to work because of some environment variables are not in use with sudo sessions.

At least for me this problem can be fixed by running:

dropbox stop && DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS="" dropbox start  

This seems to move the icon back to "notification area" which fixes both icon and menu. This way the daemon runs as a normal user and not as root.

EDIT: If you create your own startup script for Dropbox based on this fix, remember to disable the default startup script with "dropbox autostart n" command (Thank StockBreak for this one, saved me some time this morning).

EDIT2: ...and for some reason I still had to remove the autostart setting from Dropbox GUI (click icon >> Preferences >> Start Dropbox on system startup). Hope it stays off after this one.

EDIT: To implement this fix in a script that run every time session starts, try this solution: https://askubuntu.com/a/795864/496493


A new workaround, proposed by File C., is "dbus-launch dropbox start -i".

The following adaptations are reported by users to work at least on the Linux distributions Fedora, Gentoo, Kubuntu, Linux Mint, openSUSE, Slackware, Ubuntu, Xubuntu... and the desktop environments Cinnamon, KDE 4, KDE 5, Mate, Unity, Xfce...

This new dbus-launch workaround seems to work a little faster, with more reliability, and in more cases than the previous DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS workaround.

As command line:

dropbox stop && dbus-launch dropbox start  

Or as a shell script file:

#!/bin/bash    dropbox stop && dbus-launch dropbox start  


Unlike the solution proposed by kk78, the following method solves the problem once and for all:

  1. Close Dropbox.

  2. Open /usr/bin/dropbox file with a text editor (as an admin). For example, in the terminal run

    gksudo gedit /usr/bin/dropbox  
  3. Create a new line after import os and add the following:

    os.environ['DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS'] = ""  
  4. Save and restart

Now Dropbox will work fine:

Gif tutorial


Thanks to kk78's solution I made this complete workaround (see also my other post):

I copied* my desktop entry:

cp ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop  

Changed the entry like this (please notice the env word):

[Desktop Entry]  Name=Dropbox  GenericName=File Synchronizer  Comment=Sync your files across computers and to the web  #Exec=dropbox start -i  Exec=env DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS="" dropbox start -i  Terminal=false  Type=Application  Icon=dropbox  Categories=Network;FileTransfer;  StartupNotify=false  

And disabled Dropbox's autostart:

dropbox autostart n  

* you cannot just edit it because Dropbox replaces the file every time you log in.


[This is my deprecated early answer, now kept to research this and related bugs; for newer and better workarounds, without the file ownership change/recovery inconvenience of sudo, see kk78's answer instead, or the command line "dropbox stop && dbus-launch dropbox start" in another answer]

This Dropbox tray icon bug seems to be related to permissions.

Until it gets fixed, a temporary workaround from the command line (Konsole, Terminal, etc.), which is working these days for users of Xubuntu, Linux Mint, etc.:

dropbox stop  sudo dropbox start  


About the "sudo", running Dropbox as root overcomes the permission bug, and the tray icon works again correctly.

However, it has the small secondary effect of having a few files in the hidden folder ~/.dropbox/ owned by root now instead of the user (as you can see with e.g. a file manager such as Dolphin), and therefore the root password is requested when starting Dropbox.

This is ok as a temporary workaround to get the Dropbox tray icon fully working on Linux until the bug is hopefully fixed by a next update, but if the fix doesn't restore the correct permissions, in that hypothetical case a quick solution after the bug fix will be:

sudo dropbox stop  sudo chown -R USER:GROUP /home/USER/.dropbox  dropbox start  

Of course, replacing USER and GROUP. For example, if you are co-creator of Unix, UTF-8, Go language, etc. ;) it would be something like:

sudo chown -R ken:ken /home/ken/.dropbox  


Sorry, I've just seen something that makes this temporary workaround still workable but less convenient: Not only those few already mentioned files in the hidden ~/.dropbox folder get owned by root, also the files downloaded from the Dropbox servers to the Dropbox folder (usually ~/Dropbox) on the computer running Dropbox as root.

So, I'm still using this workaround until the bug fix, but if we want to use it we have to apply the permissions recovery line also to the Dropbox folder, at least when we want to edit our downloaded documents. For example:

sudo chown -R USER:GROUP /home/USER/Dropbox  

To save time, and to apply it when we start the computer, we can include it in a simple shell script, e.g. a dropbox.sh text file with the executable property, that we can run from the command line or by mouse click:

#!/bin/bash    dropbox stop  sudo dropbox start  sudo chown -R USER:GROUP /home/USER/Dropbox  

Simple alternative workaround:

Instead of all the previous procedures, if dealing with file ownership changes and recoveries, etc. is too inconvenient, the simplest alternative is probably to just wait for the Dropbox bug fix without using the icon, and simply check the Dropbox status from time to time using the command line:

dropbox status  

The result, if Dropbox is running, most of the time will be: "Up to date".

Later, probably you can use the up arrow to quickly run this line again from a small command line window that you can keep open.

See additional command line help by just typing:


As already suggested, to stop using the other workaround (sudo), recover normal file ownership, and start running Dropbox again as normal user instead of root, use just one time (replacing USER and GROUP):

sudo dropbox stop  sudo chown -R USER:GROUP /home/USER/Dropbox  sudo chown -R USER:GROUP /home/USER/.dropbox  sudo chown -R USER:GROUP /home/USER/.dbus  dropbox start  

New update:

See kk78's answer to this question, with a much better workaround than mine, and with Dropbox tray icon as normal user, not root. It works at least for Xubuntu and Linux Mint.

It can also be used as a shell script:

#!/bin/bash    dropbox stop && DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS="" dropbox start  


Instead of staying on an older version or fiddling with other aspects, I have decided to use this script instead of the little icon. It puts the output from the command dropbox status directly in your panel. However, when it is syncing or up to date there is a little check mark or syncing character.

Install the Generic Monitor by pasting the following in terminal:

sudo apt-get install xfce4-genmon-plugin  

Set the following script to run using the Generic Monitor panel plugin. I went without a Label and set it to run every five seconds.

#!/bin/bash    status=$(dropbox status)  if [ "$status" = "Up to date" ]; then      echo "âœ""  elif [[ "$status" == "Syncing"* ]] || [[ "$status" == "Indexing"* ]]  || [[ "$status" == "Downloading"* ]]; then      echo "⟲"  else      echo "$status"  fi  

You'll need to run the following so it does not show a password prompt (which can be disregarded anyways) on login:

sudo chown -R USER:GROUP ~/.dropbox  

USER:GROUP is normally just your username twice.

When I need to change a setting I will just launch Dropbox with sudo to change my settings. As documented on this page launching with sudo enables the little icon and menu to appear.

Additionally you can echo out your own Dropbox icon or image if you prefer that. If your Dropbox command line is not working, you can download the Dropbox python script here. (In my case I am not using the *.py extension for the Dropbox python script name.)


I modified the ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd script as follows and rebooted and got the icon back.  Since this file gets overwritten by updates I think I won't have to undo anything if they fix the problem on the next update.

#!/bin/sh  export DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=""  PAR=$(dirname "$(readlink -f "$0")")  exec "$PAR/dropbox-lnx.x86-3.14.7/dropboxd" "$@"  

Update: When I tried this on my laptop it didn't work at first. I realized I was having the same problem I had with 'Copy' where the XFCE4 session saving was starting dropbox before the official startup file was executed. I modified my ~/.profile file to erase any *.state and *session* files in ~./cache/sessions

rm -f /home/jhm/.cache/sessions/*.state  rm -f /home/jhm/.cache/sessions/*session*  

Update #2: So now using version 3.18.1 the problem is still there. I know because , as I predicted, the ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd script was overwritten with every update causing the problem to return each time. The fix above works reliably on Xubuntu 14.04 boot provided session restoring does not directly launch the binary:


Using "System/Session and Startup", under the "Session" tab I can see that the binary is visible and would be restarted if I didn't delete the *session and *state files.

As an experiment, I tried using Upstart to launch Dropbox before session tracking started. First I created the /home/jhm/.init folder, then a file called dropbox.conf was added to it containing:

description "Dropbox"  start on desktop-start  expect daemon  exec /usr/bin/dropbox start  

I use this method on my Dell Laptop Xubuntu 14.04, and the program is now hidden from session tracking, so I don't need to delete files.

Since dbus-launch creates a new private DBUS session bus, DropBox will never find the appindicator service as it will be the only process on that bus (other than DBUS), so thats about the same as export DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS="" Both solutions cause DropBox to fallback to the system tray API. This is called a 'Notification Area' in XFCE Panel Items tab. Be sure it hasn't been removed from the panel.

Using d-feet and dbus-monitor, I found the problem was DropBox failing to implement the 'Menu' interfaces on the non-existant '/MenuBar' DBUS path. DBUS fans can explore org.kde.StatusNotifierWatcher with d-feet to find out more. Since the dropbox binary is responsible for supporting those interfaces, there is nothing to do but wait for the next update. BTW, all needed QT5.5 libs are included with the program. No need to download development packages.

I also found that only the GUI dialog seem to reliably keep the startup file from reinstalling. Once 'Start DropBox on system startup' was unchecked, it stayed that way.


I run the same OS, Xubuntu 14.04 x64, and am seeing this icon which is unresponsive to clicks (no menu):

Dropbox icon on Xfce4-Panel

Release notes for 3.14.5 (which arrived as of 9 Feb 2016 and was installed on my machine) state that Dropbox has been updated to use Qt 5.5 on Linux.

Running the following gives the Qt version on my machine:

~$ qmake -v  QMake version 3.0  Using Qt version 5.2.1 in /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu  

So, I upgraded to Qt 5.5 using the instructions from here.

These are the steps I took:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:beineri/opt-qt551-trusty  sudo apt-get update  sudo apt-get install qt-latest qtcreator-latest  

I then set the following in ~/.bashrc and restarted the session:

export QT_SELECT=opt-qt55  

I verified I have Qt 5.5 now installed:

~$ qmake -v  QMake version 3.0  Using Qt version 5.5.1 in /opt/qt55/lib  

Then, reinstall Dropbox and restart your session:

sudo apt-get remove dropbox  sudo apt-get install nautilus-dropbox  

Unfortunately, this didn't work, and the tray icon appeared the same.

Then, I wondered if removing the Indicator Plugin from the Xfce4-panel would work.

  1. Remove Indicator Plugin
  2. ~? dropbox stop && dropbox start

Then, suddenly, a wild dropbox icon appears in the Notification Panel!

Dropbox icon appears

It seems that the Dropbox icon likes residing in the Notification Panel, but not the Indicator Plugin.

But... I like the Indicator Plugin, as it gives me email alerts and volume level control. So, I re-added it to the panel. So far, so good.

But, after re-starting the session, I get this bullshit again:

Dropbox icon on Xfce4-Panel

So, now I'm stuck. I don't know how to make the Dropbox icon appear in the Notification Panel instead of the Indicator Panel, and I'm sure has hell not going to repeat these steps every time I log in!


This fixes it.

On the Dropbox menu go to Preferences. Deselect "Start Dropbox on system startup"

Go to Session and Startup > Application Autostart and add the following startup item:

bash -c 'export DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS="" && dropbox start -i'  

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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