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Re: Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

James Kuzman
Explorer | Level 3

A web search revealed that this issue has come up now and then for many years, but I couldn't find anything recent, so I opted to start a new thread. 

 

My iMac was running slowly this morning. Activity Monitor indicated Dropbox was syncing - some 11,000+ files. I thought perhaps it was just re-indexing for some reason and didn't think much more about it until I went looking for some files in my sync folder (on an external drive) and couldn't find them. That's when I noticed entire folders missing as well. 

 

I logged in online and the files and folders were missing there as well. 

 

I used the "Restore Deleted Files" feature and got everything back. According to the "Events" log, I deleted these folders and files myself earlier this morning. I am 1000% sure I absolutely did not do so. 

 

I have been using Dropbox for years as a "belt and suspenders" approach so that my content is safe in the cloud (or so I thought) and locally accessible across multiple devices, but now I realize that with Smart Sync enabled, it is NOT a backup plan at all. It is a syncing service, period. 

 

I have no idea how this happened but I am in the process of figuring out how to truly back up my data to the cloud. 

 

Any thoughts? 

 

Jim

 

 

7 Replies 7

Re: Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

Mark
Super User II

Hi @James Kuzman 

Is your Dropbox on an external drive by any chance? 


 


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Re: Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

Jay
Dropboxer
Hi @James Kuzman, thanks for joining the Community!

As you've mentioned, the Dropbox service is primarily for syncing files, and isn't a true backup service, since deletions will sync to multiple devices. 

When you saw the event for the deleted files, was it from the same machine you're using, or another device on your account? Generally, for very large events, the deletion date and time according to Dropbox would be later than the actual deletion, since it takes longer to process the entire deletion on the servers.

Do you have any apps or services that could access and delete these files? As @Mark added, was the Dropbox folder located on an external drive?

Any other info or screenshots would be helpful!

Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

James Kuzman
Explorer | Level 3

Thanks, @Jay and @Mark

 

My sync'ed Dropbox drive is indeed an external Thunderbolt drive connected to my iMac. 

 

When I saw the event for the deleted files, it simply said that "you deleted these files", though depending upon the actual time that happened, I was either eating my muffin or asleep 🙂 I was not at my Mac at the time, nor was I using Dropbox on any other connected device. The Mac was powered up but asleep with no one logged on in any case, and no one else has access to my Dropbox account. Unfortunately, I'm not sure which device initiated the deletion. 

 

One thing I stumbled upon when scouring the various threads here was an apparent known issue with Samsung Galaxy phones. I recently switched from an iPhone to a Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G and installed the Dropbox app on that device; that was about 3 weeks ago. Though I've never actively used the Dropbox app on that device, I did have it configured so that my photos in the Gallery app automatically upload to Dropbox for backup. I've since deleted the Dropbox app in an abundance of caution there as I really don't need it on the phone. 

 

I'm afraid I don't have any screenshots to share.

 

Right now, I'm grateful for the ability to restore deleted files and enduring what is estimated to be a 2-day re-sync process to get everything back to the external drive. 

 

Thanks again, 

 

Jim

 

 

Re: Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

Jay
Dropboxer
Do you see the missing files on the deleted files page? You can recover the files from there, and then once done the files will sync back to your devices. 

Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

James Kuzman
Explorer | Level 3
I did yesterday and was able to recover them. They are currently in the process of re-syncing.

Re: Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

Josh13
Explorer | Level 3
If you connect your drop box to your computer and you delete files from there chances are they are also going to remove from your Dropbox browser view.

Re: Dropbox Deleting Files On Its Own

James Kuzman
Explorer | Level 3
@Josh13 - Indeed, I fully expect that removing files from the drive will also remove them from the cloud storage provided they are in synced folders, and vice versa.

The issue here is that I didn't delete anything at all. The files were removed without my input, meaning one of four things happened so far as I can tell:

1) Someone accessed my account (I was hacked).
2) A connected device was somehow compromised (virus or malware).
3) A connected device malfunctioned as a result of a bug or other issue.
4) There is a bug in the Dropbox software or a compromise in their security.

So far, I have no evidence it was 1 or 2.

Jim
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