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Dropbox removed a file on Android

Dropbox removed a file on Android

cjohnsonuk
Explorer | Level 3

I use drop box on my android phone and on my computers. Many years ago I set up a password manager app on my phone with a password DB file in a folder that my password manager could access and that drop box would sync across my devices so I always had a copy on multiple devices.  This file was on my phone in:  //storage/emulated/0/Android/data/com.dropbox.android/files/UXXXXXX/scratch/<foldername>/<passworddDBFile>

were UXXXXXX is an anonymised folder and <foldername>/<passwordDBFile> is the path in dropbox for my password DB file.

 

This worked successfully for many years.  For the last couple of years I've only accessed the password app from my phone as its easier to use the biometrics on my phone to unlock the DB file.

 

Today I logged in to dropbox web interface and found the online file had a last modified date of 13/3/2020 (ie not synchronised/updated for over year).  I updated the password DB on my phone by adding a new entry using my phone and confirmed the DB file mod date had updated using a file explorer on my phone.  I ran Dropbox app on my phone but still the online copy file modified date didn't update.

 

In preparation for creating a new file to sync moved the out-of-date online <passworddDBFile> to a backup folder in dropbox using the dropbox web interface and then went to my android device to make a backup of the file that was not synchronising but it no longer exists and there are no other subfolders there below/Android/data/com.dropbox.android/

 

The drop box app, instead of synchronising my files has deleted a file.

 

If it no longer synchronises files in this folder then it should not delete any either.

 

I've run a file recovery on the SD card out of the phone but its not found a deleted file but I think the path above points to the internal storage on the phone.

 

Can anyone suggest how to recover the file?

6 Replies 6

Re: Dropbox removed a file on Android

Lori
Dropboxer
Hi @cjohnsonuk, let's see what we can do here!

Can you access the Dropbox website and check your Deleted files page? 

What do you see there?

Also, if I were you, I'd check the Events page to see all of your files' activity there and also check for the missing file. 

Let me know what you find there.

Lori
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dropbox removed a file on Android

cjohnsonuk
Explorer | Level 3

Nothing relevant in Deleted

In the events there are just deletes and adds for the files I moved from the main directory into the archive folder for my backups.  I'm guessing a move is a combined 'add then delete'.  All the files have the date stamp from 3/2020, none have a date stamp of today.

Re: Dropbox removed a file on Android

cjohnsonuk
Explorer | Level 3

@lori

Did you have any other suggestions ??

Re: Dropbox removed a file on Android

Jay
Dropboxer
Hi @cjohnsonuk, it sounds like you tried to use the Dropbox mobile app to first offline the file and then use the direct local file location in your password app, similar to this thread.

After an update to the mobile app in 2020, this unintentional direct access was removed from the app, so it wouldn't be possible to access those files, nor have them sync to the Dropbox mobile app. We don't recommend users attempt to access the Dropbox app settings via the internal storage for security purposes and potential for corruption of the app or data deletion.

Unfortunately, since what you're describing isn't within the normal usage of the Dropbox mobile app, and that the file wasn't synced to the Dropbox site, it wouldn't be possible to recover the file via Dropbox.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dropbox removed a file on Android

cjohnsonuk
Explorer | Level 3

I'm just really annoyed about the deletion of the file.  OK, due to changes in how it works it no longer syncs, I can accept that, apps change, but there should be no reason for it to remove the file without first asking "Are you sure you want to delete this file that we used to sync for you and we know you're still using, this is a file that you've been using for 12 months and we've not synced or backed it up in that period? Are you really sure you don't want to back it up elsewhere first before we delete it?"

 

Not sure if this is still relevant but adding code to move these "unsynced" files to a location not managed by Dropbox  ( "my documents" or equivalent) rather than just deleting them could save a lot of other people a lot of issues. 

"Drop box has found files that are no longer managed by drop box nor synced. Would you like to move them somewhere safe??"

Re: Dropbox removed a file on Android

Jay
Dropboxer
I understand your frustration over this matter. 

Due to the way that the mobile app works, there wouldn't be a need to have notifications for changes in the internal file system in Android, since any actions related to Dropbox can only be done through the mobile app directly.

This behavior is similar to other Android apps, which don't ask about any files left in the file system when their app is updated or uninstalled.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful on this matter.

Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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