How to solve the Dropbox filesystem monitoring issue

Once Dropbox throws you an error that reads “Unable to monitor filesystem. Please run: echo 100000 | sudo tee /proc/sys/fs/inotify/max_user_watches and restart Dropbox to correct the problem.” you’d better adjust settings in a system config file, to keep changes after reboot.

Open system config (as superuser, of course) in your favorite text editor

$ sudo vi /etc/sysctl.conf

add just one line of code to the end of the file:

fs.inotify.max_user_watches = 1048576

save the file (Shift-ZZ, if you are new to Vi), and reboot computer to apply settings and restart Dropbox.

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Published on February 04, 2011 (about 9 years ago)

Article tags: dropbox, linux

Comments (12)


over 8 years ago

Instead of rebooting you might want to try this (after editing the file):
sudo sysctl -p
sudo dropbox stop
sudo dropbox start


almost 8 years ago

merci pour l'astuce
thank you for your tips


over 7 years ago

Thank you, this was very helpul ;)


over 7 years ago

TKS :)


over 7 years ago

¡Gracias por el dato! Thanks for the tip!


about 7 years ago

Starquake's comment was mostly correct, but I had to run "dropbox start" without the sudo in Ubuntu. This prompted my user password.

Running it with sudo seemed to start Dropbox without the normal settings for my user and gave a "Dropbox isn't running!" warning as well.

Luis Abarca

about 7 years ago

Thanks for the info and the "sudo sysctl -p" command


over 6 years ago

I'm just wondering how did you come with that specific number 1048576? is there any significance to it?

Paul Philippov

over 6 years ago

No significance, just a nerdy stuff. 1048576 is (2^10)^2 or 1024x1024. You can change it to any other number that will work for your system. Dropbox suggests 100000.

Hari Swaminathan

over 6 years ago

Thanks for the Help..


over 1 year ago

Thanks for this, it solved my issue !!


over 1 year ago

It didn't solve my problem. I'm trying to remote to my linux host at a2 hosting. When I open /etc/sysctl.conf file, I saw two duplicated lines, so removed one line and then added a zero to the limit, then rebooted, but then I got the same error message back. Tried to run sudo sysctl -p and get access denied. I'm stuck. Any idea?