Dropbox is one of the most popular online cloud storage services. You simply place all of your files into the Dropbox folder on your computer and everything is automatically synced to their servers, ready for you to access anywhere and at any time.
Accidents do happen. If you’ve mistakenly removed a file from your Dropbox then you need not worry; there are ways to get it back. Although it may visibly be non-existent in the folder, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still there.
First of all, check that you don’t also have a copy of the file stored on your computer. It’s a simple check, but one that could prove useful if you just copied over the original file and didn’t touch it on your Dropbox since.
If that’s no good, then you’ll be pleased to know that Dropbox keeps a record of every change to your files for 30 days. As such, if you edit a file and then decide that it was better beforehand, you can use Dropbox to roll back to a previous version. We’re going to use this tool to recover your lost files and make them found!
Let’s get started. First of all, we’ll look at how to recover files when using the online site. Log in to your Dropbox account on their website. At the top you’ll see a button that says ‘Show deleted files’. Clicking this will make the relevant removed files appear in your file list, slightly greyed out and with the size listed as ‘deleted’. Hovering over a deleted file and then clicking the corresponding arrow on the far right will offer up a menu. From here, click ‘Undelete’ to restore the file. From here you can also select ‘Previous versions’ if you want to restore to an older version of the file.
Next, let’s look at restoring files from within Windows. Dropbox can only function if you have a connection to the internet. So, say you were working on a file within the Dropbox folder while offline, but then accidentally delete the file before you’re back online, the file won’t be synced to the Dropbox servers.
However, all is not necessarily lost. Dropbox keeps a cache your files within a hidden folder. To navigate there, open the ‘Run’ command and input '%HOMEPATH%\Dropbox\.dropbox.cache’ (or do this via Windows Explorer). To restore the files within, simply drag it into another folder on your computer.
Dropbox have a feature called Packrat which gives you unlimited deletion recovery and version history. As long as you have this feature, you’ll always be able to recover deleted files and not just be limited to 30 days. To get this feature, you have to upgrade to a paid Dropbox Pro account where you can enable the add-on from your account settings. Alternatively, those using Dropbox for Business will find that the Packrat feature is enabled by default for every user.
Hopefully this guide has helped you recover files that you thought were lost forever. Remember, it’s not sensible to use Dropbox as a primary backup solution – always use it in conjunction with something else, preferably offline.
Recover Lost Dropbox Files
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