Site error @ login screen each time an app requires an update

Steps to reproduce

  1. An app that I have currently installed and active has a new update.

Expected behaviour

Should not break the site but just show that there is an available update in market place.

Actual behaviour

Unable to login to the site and get the following error:
“It looks like your instance may host many files and/or users. To ensure a smooth upgrade process, please use the command line updater (occ upgrade)”

Server configuration

Operating system: Ubuntu 20

Web server: Apache

Database: Mysql

PHP version: Latest (7 I believe)

ownCloud version: 10.8.0

Each time a new app update is released I get the above mentioned error. I’m unable to login to my site and have to disable all apps until I figure out which one has an update. When it’s been disabled I am able to update the app in market place and then re-enable the app and then can log in to the site.

Any thoughts what might be causing this?


I wasn’t aware of this message, and I don’t know what thresholds might trigger it.

How do you disable the apps when you can’t log in? I assume you don’t have shell access to run occ upgrade.

Is this a docker setup or a dedicated server one?

I do have shell access. I disable the apps using command line occ command. Running the OCC upgrade via command line does nothing. It just says that my instance of owncloud is up to date. Should it also be attempting to upgrade apps? Is there a way to force occ upgrade to update apps as well?

This is on my own ubuntu 20 server.

Maybe you have the same issue as in the thread:

The main problem is, that you might have doublets of apps, installed in both, apps and apps-external. As the first location is not writable, the updater installs a second, newer instance in apps-external. So update-check finds the outdated app, but the updater itself checks the more recent app, which doesn’t require updating, And so on…

I think this is meanwhile a known bug, and hope it will be fixed soon.

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I can confirm that I do have a few of the same apps in both locations (apps & app-external) If I delete the duplicates out of the apps folder would that solve my problem?

Maybe yes, but I wouldn’t do that.

This is my personal way to clean up that app mess. I’ve applied the procedure to all of my ownCloud instances up to now without any problem.

Keep in mind, that only core apps that came with the official release tarball belong to the apps directory. As I’m never using the “complete” tarball, my apps directory contains

  • comments
  • configreport
  • dav
  • encryption
  • external
  • federatedfilesharing
  • federation
  • files
  • files_external
  • files_mediaviewer
  • files_sharing
  • files_trashbin
  • files_versions
  • firstrunwizard
  • market
  • notifications
  • provisioning_api
  • systemtags
  • updatenotification
  • user_external

If one of these apps ever got an update, they were installed as doublet in apps-external. Good candidates beside others are:

  • files_mediaviewer
  • market

To get rid of the doublets:

  • Enable maintenance mode

For each doublet

  • Remove the outdated app from apps folder
  • Move the doublet app from apps-external to apps


  • Disable maintenance mode

Maybe it would be helpful, restart the web server etc. I didn’t care on this.

Unfortunately, you have to repeat this, whenever one of these core apps gets an update. At least until that app mess issue gets resolved.



Thank you. Moving the Apps out of the apps-external folder into the apps folder appears to have solved the problem.

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