Dropbox Files Missing

by Michael on July 14, 2011 · 4 comments

Yesterday when I popped into my Dropbox to grab a file that I hadn’t needed in awhile, it wasn’t there. In fact, there were lots of files missing. Uh-oh. A number of these were critical files that would take forever to replace.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that this wasn’t simply a big chunk of folders. Yes, some entire folders were missing, but there were also sets of files nested deep within other folders. In other words, while I’m not above making mistakes, there’s simply no way that I could have accidentally deleted these files.

A quick check of the Dropbox events log revealed that these files were deleted back in early June. Weird. Especially since they weren’t in a shared folder, and I have physical control of the only computers that can access these files.

Was I hacked? Was this due to a Dropbox glitch of some sort? Or did I black out and go on a random file deleting rampage? Or is there another explanation entirely? I really don’t know.

What I do know is that I discovered this problem more than 30 days after it happened, which means that I wasn’t able to simply undelete the files. I could if I was a paying for the Packrat service, but I’m not. So… I’m out of luck. Or am I?

While my main online backup service (Backblaze) also only stores deleted files for 30 days, I remembered that one of my linked computers hadn’t been online since before the problem occurred. I was thus able to go into the yet-to-be-updated Dropbox folder on that computer and move snag at least some of the missing files.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Arnold August 11, 2012 at 2:35 am

Experiencing the same …
I stop using cloud shit today. Can use it for backups only.


Mark March 14, 2013 at 11:48 am

This is still happening, and trawling the web it seems a common issue and has been around for ages. I have lost all my files in all folders, last month. Having a terrible time contact Dropbox for support. Very painful lesson – DONT USE DROPBOX.


don lee May 8, 2013 at 11:50 pm

my dropbox folder missing under/above getting started

cannot download photo or attachment in e-mail


Jack June 6, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I found some of my Dropbox files were missing too. Most of the missed files seemed to occur in two situations: (1) When multiple level subfolders with long folder names and long file names are used, Dropbox is unable to handle it, and those files are not synced on my other computers. Later, files with long path names go missing. (2) After I changed the folder/file names to shorter ones in an attempt to avoid problem (1), the next day I found Dropbox showed both the old folders and the new folders (with changed names), but all files in those folders were gone!

I also read stories about Dropbox deleting files randomly from other postings.

This is just terrible. I will never use Dropbox again. But first I have to spend days reorganize and recover (if at all possible!) my files first. What a pain!


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