How Does Box Handle and Resolve Conflicts?

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Box has built a robust file conflict management for Box Sync and Box Edit. At a high level, this is how it works:

  1. Joe opens a file "Financial Report.xlsx" in his Box Sync folder.
  2. At the same time, Sally opens the same "Financial Report.xlsx" file in her Box Sync folder
  3. Joe makes some changes and saves the file, which gets uploaded to Box.
  4. Sally also edits the file. Instead of overwriting Joe’s changes, her changes get saved separately as a copy, which preserves both Joe’s and Sally’s updates

It doesn't matter how close Sally and Joe's changes are spaced apart; Even if they're just a nanosecond apart, both edits will be safe. If you're curious how, we have a more technical explanation about how Box avoids race conditions. (definition). This new conflict detection will help preserve all edits and versions of files, while keeping the Box Sync client streamlined and running fast. Box has implemented the same conflict management system with Box Edit.

As Box Sync and Box Edit evolve, Box will continue to investigate making desktop collaboration frictionless. Described below is how it works for a PC user and a Mac user.

File Conflicts with Box Edit and Sync on PCs

When a conflict is detected on save because a file is locked, a message is displayed to the user.

If the file is not locked but has been changed since editing began and Box detects a conflict, the user is notified of that conflict.

Box Edit does this as well.

If a file was locked and can’t sync changes, the Box Sync folder will indicate any folders or files that aren’t fully synced. This occurs with a failed upload because the file is locked on Box. The icon, instead of being blue (synced) or orange (syncing), is a grey icon with a white line through it (error).

An un-synced file has the grey icon with a white line through it.

If you click the Box icon in the system tray, you can see the sync options, which includes when there are errors syncing.

 

Clicking ‘Error syncing [X] file…’ will pull up the list of files that won’t sync, including any files that are locked.

When this occurs, users can right-click on the folder that has conflicts and navigate to Box Sync to get to the option to ‘View on Box’.

 

A locked file will have a lock icon on the left of it, providing details on the user that locked the file and when if it is hovered over.

Documents with conflicts will either be appended with a number or email address in parentheses.

 

Box’s software is diligent in identifying errors with Box Edit and Box Sync but does not merge the changes between two conflicting documents.

File Conflicts with Box Edit and Sync on Mac

When a conflict is detected on save because a file is locked, a message is displayed to the user.

If the file is not locked but has been changed since editing began and detects a conflict, the user is notified of a conflict.

Box Edit does this as well.

If a file was locked and can’t sync changes, the Box Sync folder will indicate any folders or files that aren’t fully synced. This occurs with a failed upload because the file is locked on Box. The icon, instead of being blue (synced) or orange (syncing), is a grey icon with a white line through it (error).

An un-synced file has the grey icon with a white line through it.

If you click the Box icon in menu bar, you can see the sync options, which includes when there are errors syncing.

Clicking ‘Error syncing [X] file…’ will pull up the list of files that won’t sync, including any files that are locked.

When this occurs, users go to the options on the folder that has conflicts and navigate to Box Sync to get to the option to ‘View on Box’.

A locked file will have a lock icon to the left of it, providing details on the user that locked the file and when if it is hovered over.

Documents with conflicts will either be appended with a number or email address in parentheses.

Box’s software is diligent in identifying errors with Box Edit and Box Sync but does not merge the changes between two conflicting documents.

 

 

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