After installing Dropbox in Xubuntu 14.04/16.04, you may discover that the panel indicator icon for Dropbox does not load properly. You’ll know you have this problem if a red circle with a red slash through it appears in place of the Dropbox icon in the indicator panel. The following three steps ensure proper functioning—a full repair in under three minutes!

1. Create a local user’s copy of the Dropbox desktop file (if it does not already exist).

Determine whether a local user copy of the Dropbox desktop file already exists:

ls ~/.local/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

If no such file exists, then copy the global user copy to the local user’s folder:

cp /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/

2. Edit the local user’s copy of the Dropbox desktop file.

It is better to edit the local copy (~/.local/share/...) than the global copy (/usr/share/...), since future upgrades to Dropbox might modify the global copy, whereas the local copy will remain in the customized form that you desire.

Open the local user’s file with your favorite text editor (e.g., Nano):

nano ~/.local/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

Replace this line ...

Exec=dropbox start -i

... with these two lines (i.e., insert a hash tag to de-activate the original line and then add a second line):

#Exec=dropbox start -i

Exec=env DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS="" dropbox start -

Save the file and exit the text editor.

3. Adjust the session startup configuration to ensure that Dropbox reloads properly each time the user logs in.

Copy the modified local user’s desktop file into the user’s autostart folder (which also effectively replaces any existing autostart desktop file for Dropbox with the new configuration from Step 2):

cp ~/.local/share/applications/dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop

Log out and log back in for the changes to take effect.


Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the founding president of Into Your Hands LLC and the author of several books, including Rediscovering the American Republic (2 vols.) and Debating Evolution before Darwinism. He lives with his wife Marie and their homeschooled children in Casper, Wyoming, where he serves as Academic Dean at Luther Classical College. He previously taught American history, history of science, and bioethics at Bethany Lutheran College, 2003–2023 He also serves as President of the Hausvater Project, which mentors Christian parents. For more information, visit

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