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I have a critical bug to report about files going missing after using selective sync

I have a critical bug to report about files going missing after using selective sync

DonChipriani
Explorer | Level 4

I LOVE DROPBOX, IS MY FAVORITE CLOUD STORAGE BY FAR, AND I WAS CONSIDERING GOING PREMIUM.

 

BUT AS IT IS NOW, DROPBOX BY DESIGN IS A HIGH RISK OF DATA LOSS.  Please read below:

 

Well, there is a way to lose data with no warning and completely unexpected. 

 

Here are the steps to replicate it:

Dropbox was previosuly installed with all folders selected to sync. My computer, Mac Mini running Mac OSx Mojave was low on disk space. Therefor I took the following steps: 

   1.  Changed Dropbox setting to selective sync and unchecked most folders.

   2. Closed Dropbox shortly after. 

   3. Manually deleted the folders that were no longer selected to sync as I needed the space to get the computer to act more responsive.

   4. Later on I've restarted Dropbox. 

   5. Big surprise, Dropbox deletes those folders everywhere (dropbox, other computers...) - with no notice, no question asked - WHY? Note that those folders were no longer selected for sync. And why not ask the user what to do instead? - just like it does ask when dropbox is running when deleting files. And if you really insist of doing stuff like that with no question asked, then it would've been better somewhat to do the other way around, put them back, not delete - this would've still piss me off and waste my time, but at least I am not losing data. YOU NEED TO ADDRESS THIS! 

 

Luckily the issue was apparent as I had software that stopped working because of files dissapearing. So I recovered the files, thank you for having that option. But in other case this could have gone unnoticed for longer time, and recovery would have been no longer an option...

 

THE SOLUTION?

1. BEST is to ask the user what to do about it.

2. BETTER is to do nothing, just (re)sync the folders selected for sync. 

 

SCARRY THOUGHT, ANOTHER SCENARIO:

WHAT IF: something happens on a computer / device with the data,  hard drive, software or hardware failure, malware... Say you restart the computer, dropbox starts, does not see the data there anymore ... I suspect it would do the same, delete it everywhere else as well, no question asked. - in what world is that the right action to take? 

 

AS IT IS NOW, DROPBOX BY DESIGN IS A HIGH RISK A DATA LOSS.  PLEASE ADDRESS IT!

 

This is obviously an issue easy to miss on software testing. Well now, you know. Please fix it!

3 Replies 3

Re: I have a critical bug to report

Lusil
Dropboxer
Hello @DonChipriani, thanks for reaching out to us and I'm sorry to hear about your frustration. 

When you choose to selectively sync folders, you don't need to manually delete them, as the desktop app removes them from your hard drive for you. 

Since the folders were deleted before they got the chance to be selectively synced, the desktop app read that as an overall deletion once it ran again. 

You can recover them by following these steps, even in the case of hardware failure and your files are deleted. 

You can also have a look at this article on what to do in the case of corrupted or malware-affected files.

I also wanted to clarify that, since you stopped the desktop app from running before deleting the folders, any notification you'd receive would have been OS-based, as the Dropbox folder at that point is just a regular folder. 

However, would you like to receive a warning on how selective sync works in the future before closing the settings?

Let me know and I'll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!

Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: I have a critical bug to report

DonChipriani
Explorer | Level 4

I'm curious and somewhat concerned on what would happen in this scenario:

- I make a clone backup of the HDD with Dropbox installed 

- several month, a year ... passes ... Dropbox contents change of course

- for whatever reason, I need to boot on the clone backup made way back 

- what does Dropbox when it notices that files and folders are different in this case?  hmmm...

 

Re: I have a critical bug to report

Lusil
Dropboxer
If you're making a copy of the Dropbox folder, your Dropbox desktop app will not recognize it and so any files outside of your original Dropbox folder won't be updated.

You can have a look at this article though for more information on using symlinks, if you're interested. 

Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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