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Dropbox has conflicted copies, how do I know which is really correct?

Community Member

I'm running Version 5.1 from the web store and currently use Dropbox syncing between two Macs. I had disabled Dropbox temporarily on my MacBookPro to troubleshoot an unrelated issue and just re-enabled it this morning. I had not changed 1Password syncing during this time so it was still "syncing" to the still-existing Dropbox folder on my Mac.

Because I'd had trouble with Dropbox conflicts in the past, I checked inside the keychain bundle after re-enabling it and I see I have 7 MacBookPro conflicted copies. Six claim to have been modified on Mar 14 at 10:14 PM. The seventh conflict is the contents.js file, modified a minute earlier.

Since I can't tell what entries these conflicts are, I can't be sure which copy is correct. It's possible that I did make changes on the MacBookPro while Dropbox was disabled and thus those are the more current versions. That's unlikely -- having the same timestamp makes me doubt I made the changes -- but I don't want to delete those until I can be sure.

But if I don't clean those up, won't the conflicted copies always be used by the 1Password app on the MacBookPro while the other Mac uses the other copy, thus never really being in sync?

The 1Password app itself does not show any conflicts. Do I trust it over Dropbox and just delete the conflicted copies? I really wish I could tell what entries those files contain.


  • littlebobbytableslittlebobbytables
    1Password Alumni

    Hi @jtucker,

    Don't worry about it :smile: When we added Dropbox syncing to 1Password we accounted for how Dropbox handles conflicts and we react accordingly. A conflict file exists when the timestamps mean Dropbox can't confidently say one of two files is the correct one to keep. As you know it keeps both, leaving one with the correct filename and the other detailing the conflict. 1Password knows this too so what it does is it compares both files and records everything which differs between the two. If you delete the conflict files 1Password can't do this.

    What I do is I have a smart folder (saved search) set to detect if conflict fields are present. As it's a smart folder it dynamically updates itself meaning you just need to periodically peek and see if anything has gained a conflict field.

    To create a smart folder you would want to bring up the search options which you can do using the keyboard shortcut ⌃⌥⌘F. In there you would want to set the Search field to All Items and then the next line to Conflict fields are present, the following screenshot should give you an idea.

    If you save that it will appear in the folders category and you can use it whenever you want to check for conflicts over the entire vault.

    I'd have get confirmation from a dev but I believe 1Password will tidy up the conflict files itself, certainly they're deleted on a regular basis when they happen (I was doing testing and forcing conflicts).

    If you have any follow up questions please do ask :smile:

  • jtuckerjtucker
    Community Member

    Thanks, I had set up just such a smart folder a year or so ago for that very reason. I think the problem I was having recently was that folder did not show conflicts though looking through the bundle on Dropbox I did see a number of conflicted copies. Those conflicted copies a year or so ago seemed to actually cause problems -- where one device with its conflicted copy wasn't using the updated version of that login. It was awhile ago, so I could be mistaken. I had quit using Dropbox for awhile but decided to go back to it recently and was looking in the bundle for conflicts because of the older issue I thought I had.

  • littlebobbytableslittlebobbytables
    1Password Alumni

    Hi @jtucker,

    Reproducing isn't easy but I have this suspicion it is possible to create a situation where due to the encrypted nature of the files, Dropbox will see a conflict where there isn't one and it's only once they files are decrypted that you can tell. Now I could be wrong in that but it's just this feeling I have in the back of my head.

    Another possibility is once the two versions of the item are decrypted, the internal timestamps that only 1Password can see are sufficient for 1Password to handle the conflict without raising it further. We only generate conflict sections in an item if we need to but we do air on the side of caution as the user can always remove a conflict section while it's harder to recreate something that was removed (especially the whacky passwords we encourage you to use).

    Thankfully it's rare but sometimes Dropbox can get messed up and the easiest way forward is to throw away the existing .agilkeychain and start over. Even so, a Smart Folder for conflicts is one I keep around too just so I can keep an eye on 1Password and my vault. Given you don't have to do anything after it's saved it's a good idea.

    If you have any troubles with Dropbox do drop us a line :smile:

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