Box Sync 3.x Behavior, Limitations, and Recommendations



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1 Sync Behavior


1.1 How does Sync manage conflicts?
If two users both change a file concurrently, Box will first try to merge the changes if both are not edits (e.g. one user edits the file, another user renames the file). However, if both users edit the file, the first save will get uploaded, and the second save will generate a "Sync Conflict/Error" message and generate a “-copy of” version of the edited file.

1.2 What happens to my files if the admin deletes me from the enterprise?
Your files will remain on your desktop, but you will not be able to login to Sync.

1.3 What goes into the Sync Recycle Bin?
When files are deleted by Sync, they are placed in the Trash on the Mac and in the Sync Recycle Bin on Windows. Regardless of how a file is deleted, it will be available from Box’s trash available on the Box web site (

1.4 What are the differences between Mac and Windows Sync?
Mac Sync does not offer lock/unlock and shared link context menu options.

1.5 What happens when you delete a folder in "My Box Files"?
If it is a folder directly in “My Box Files”, it will be unsynced, deleted locally, but not deleted on Box. If it is a subfolder, it will be deleted locally and from Box.

1.6 Why were my files moved to the "Box Sync Issues" folder on the Desktop?
When you install the latest version of Box Sync, and if there was a problem with the older version finishing successfully. Sync will replicate the web folder structure on your local drive and will move all the files/folders which are not on the cloud to your desktop inside the "Box Sync Issues" folder. If you wish to upload them, just drag and drop these files back to Box documents and they will be uploaded to the Box cloud.

1.7 Files added to "Box Documents" were moved to the "Default Sync Folder"
Individual files added to the "Box Documents" Folder will be automatically organized in a "Default Sync Folder". You can move these files to another folder. To sync new files into into specific folders, just place them in the folder you want to upload to.

1.8 What is the difference between blue and orange Sync icons?
A blue, check-marked icon indicates that a file or folder has been successfully synced. An orange icon indicates that the file is in the process of being synced.


2 Limitations

2.1 File types blocked by Sync
The following file types are blocked and unsupported by Sync:

  • Temporary files and folders (.tmp and files/folders starting with ~ character)
  • System and hidden files
  • Windows shortcuts
  • Box WebDocs
  • Outlook PST files
  • QuickBook files
  • Google Docs/Spreadsheets

Note: Hidden folders will be synced. Hidden files are not synced.

Versions Affected: All

2.2 Long file paths
Windows does not allow file paths longer than 256 characters. For this reason, Box Sync for Windows will not download any files that result in a path length of more than 256 characters. To prevent this, we recommend moving folders on Box to limit deep folder hierarchies.

The full path of Microsoft Office documents includes the drive letter, and all characters and folder names up to and including the name of the document. The entire path cannot be longer than 242 characters in Word, or 218 characters in Excel.

Versions Affected: All Windows

2.3 Mac 32-bit
Box Sync for Mac is only supported on 64-bit Macs.
Versions Affected: Mac Sync v1.0+

2.4 Mac bundles
Many files on the Mac are stored as "bundles", which is a folder that OS X is able to interpret as a file. This includes many iWork files, Mac Apps, NIBs, and more. Box Sync will not upload these files to your account.

Roadmap: We plan to support this in the future.
Versions Affected: All Mac

2.5 Links & aliases
Links and aliases are not officially supported by Sync. For example, Cross referencing links in Excel documents would be broken upon syncing to a different computer.
Versions Affected: All

2.6 Characters blocked by Sync
Sync does not support files or folders that contain any of the following characters:
If you attempt to sync files or folders containing these characters, Box Sync will prompt you to rename the file or folder using the underscore character. In most cases, we recommend pushing the “Rename” button and accepting the renamed file or folder that Sync suggests.

Avoid using a period to begin or end file and folder names. Opening periods are reserved for system files on Mac. Trailing periods should be reserved to designate the beginning of the file extension on Windows. 
Versions Affected: All Sync

2.7 Hard Drive Formatting
For full sync functionality we recommend:

  • NTFS (Windows)
  • HFS+ (Mac)

FAT32 will work with limited functionality: actions such as moving files or folders, or renaming files and folders will not be supported.
Versions Affected: All

2.8 Box Permissions

Sync requires the "Editor" access type.  Folders that only have "Viewer" permission cannot be synced.
Mac files need to be set to both Read & Write privilege. Read-only files will not sync. Read-only files will occur when copying from a CD. Change them to Read & Write to allow them to sync.
Versions Affected: All Mac
2.9 Virtual Environments
Box offers virtual desktop support for Box Sync, however there are some known limitations. For more information, see Using Box in Virtual Environments.


3 Recommendations

3.1 Do not sync a large number of files and folders
Syncing a large number of files and folders can degrade your computer’s performance. For this reason, we do not allow users to exceed the limits below:

  • Optimum Performance: 10,000 files & folders maximum
  • Technical Limit: 40,000 files & folders maximum
  • All previous versions: No more than 10,000 files & folders

Roadmap: We plan to increase these numbers for future versions.
Versions Affected: All

3.2 Do not use Sync as a bulk migration tool
Sync is not optimized for migrating a large amount of data into Box (exceeding the recommended number of files set above). If you need to migrate from an existing file system with a lot of files, we recommend submitting a support request to learn about different available options depending on the size of your migration.
Versions Affected: All

3.3 Do not sync to external drives
We recommend only syncing to a local hard drive. Do not use Sync with flash drives, external hard drives, network drives, or any external media. Although this will work in some cases, there are known issues, and we do not recommend this configuration.
Versions Affected: All

3.4 Do not install on Windows or Mac Servers
Although some users have reported successfully installing Sync on Windows and Mac Servers, this configuration is not officially supported by Box. This includes all network drives (NAS, Windows server..)
Versions Affected: All

3.5 Do not restrict content creation
In the Box Admin Settings, it is possible to “Restrict content creation”, which will prevent users from creating first-level folders and files.

By enabling this setting, users will not be able to drag and drop files directly into “My Box Files”, which can cause confusion. For this reason, we recommend you do not enable this setting. For administrators who need to enable this setting, we recommend educating users that they will not be able to move files directly into “My Box Files”, and instead, they should move files into folders enabled for Sync inside “My Box Files”.
Versions Affected: All

3.6 Make major file structure adjustments through the web application
To avoid conflict errors, initiate major file tree reorganization and renaming from within the web application. If possible, restructuring should occur during times when synced items are not being edited.

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