Monday, September 29, 2014

Carbonite's coloured dots stop working after installing Dropbox

Last night I spent a long time with a very helpful guy from Carbonite's chat service (a major improvement over what they had a few years ago) because I have just installed a new subscription of Carbonite on my new Lenovo Z50 Windows 8.1 laptop, and the coloured dots weren't showing. I had also noticed that some of the dots had stopped working on my old Windows Vista laptop.
It turns out the problem lies with DropBox. Or Microsoft. Or something. Dropbox has a whole bunch of overlay icons that it uses, and these tend to crowd out any other programs, like Google Drive or Carbonite. Frankly, I don't care about Dropbox's little icons, but I do rely on Carbonite's coloured dots to tell me what files still need to be backed up. So after uninstalling Dropbox and doing a reboot, the dot problem went away. But I need Dropbox and Carbonite.
I was reading a Dropbox helpdesk article "Why aren't my Dropbox icon overlays appearing correctly?" when I found the answer. There is a Windows registry key called "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers" that stores the details of programs wanting to use Shell Icon Overlays, the technical term for Carbonite's coloured dots. If you are technically minded and brave, exit from Dropbox, delete the 8 Dropbox entries in this registry key, and start Dropbox again. This fixes the problem, at least until Dropbox updates itself with a new version.
I'm not surprised that the Carbonite tech support people didn't suggest this, but I'm not entirely sure that "uninstall Dropbox" is good advice either. But if you don't mind fiddling with your registry keys, you may want to give it a try. It works on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012.


Chris Peck said...

Deleting the registry entries worked perfectly to get the Carbonite colored dots working. Thank you for figuring this one out.

Terri Grover said...

Wow, this worked perfectly, and I did not have to exit DropBox at all. Funny thing is, I never even saw any DropBox overlays in the first place. Thanks!

Christopher Mendla said...

I tried this and not dots. I haven't rebooted so perhaps that is the problem.

I do have some other entries in that key


and 6 for Gdrive such a GDriveSharedEditOverlay

Apparently, this was a good tool from Microsoft until companies actually started using it. My main concern is getting the Carbonite dots working.

Donn Edwards said...

I don't recall if I rebooted but that's often a good idea once you make registry changes.

Rich Aurora said...

I can confirm this fixed the problem on a Windows 10 Pro system today. The machine was originally Windows 8 and was upgraded to 10.

I have been running Carbonite and Dropbox concurrently for a few years, and it has been several months since I went through the Windows 10 upgrade. I've never had a problem until this week when my Carbonite icons simply disappeared. But after deleting the dropbox registry entries as suggested by this blog, they are back after a reboot.

Not sure why the conflict chose now to arise.

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