cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Announcements
Update: Find information on Dropbox support during COVID-19 here
Close

Dropbox files & folders

Get in sync with the Dropbox Community. Our users can answer all of your questions on files and folders. Join a discussion or start your own.

cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Highlighted

Moving folders caused mysterious deletion of files elsewhere

Helpful | Level 5

On Saturday afternoon I moved several folders around in my Dropbox. All appeared to be well, although as usual it all took ages to sync.

Yesterday I was alarmed to observe that 300+ files had disappeared from a completely different folder, unaccountably. I was able to find the relevant entry in www.dropbox.com/events, and restored the files successfully.

The folders I moved were a mixture of local and online only, the deleted files were all online only and were some of the most recently added to Dropbox before the folder move (it is possible they had not yet finished uploading before the move, in case that is relevant). The mysterious element was that all the deleted files had shortish names (23-27 characters not counting the extension), although not all such files were affected. (Filenames in the relevant folder vary very much in length, which is one reason why I am totally convinced I did not do the deletion myself by mistake - it would have been almost impossible to accidentally delete 300+ files out of over 3,000 while only choosing files with names between 23 and 26 characters in length.)

Any ideas what happened here? It feels like a bug.

4 Replies 4
Highlighted

Re: Moving folders caused mysterious deletion of files elsewhere

Dropboxer
Dropboxer
Hey @MandyShaw, to my mind the file name shouldn’t be the only common attribute of the deleted files, so if I were in your shoes, I’d continue digging deeper for the cause of the deletions, as it looks like this is located elsewhere. For that reason, I’d advise checking out Jay’s thorough article here, which breaks down the various ways your files are susceptible to deletion(-s) Mandy. 
 
Once you have a look at his suggestions & pointers, please feel free to touch base with me here & I’ll do my best to address any further concerns you may have. Thanks again for getting in touch on the Community & happy Dropboxing until we talk again! 

 


Jane
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support

 

Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Best Answer' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

Highlighted

Re: Moving folders caused mysterious deletion of files elsewhere

Helpful | Level 5

Hi Jane, I have done a bit more investigation and have realised that, although I did not explicitly delete any of the files, I did have a disk space problem at about the relevant time & (in a panic) cleared out some of .dropbox.cache. I suspect this is the root of the problem. Could you please point me at some documentation that explains how .dropbox.cache is used in a Smart Sync environment, or how I can limit the amount of space used by .dropbox.cache, so that I can avoid such mistakes in future. Thanks.

Highlighted

Re: Moving folders caused mysterious deletion of files elsewhere

Super User II
Super User II

The .dropbox.cache folder is used during the sync process to store chunked files as they're uploaded/downloaded. It's also used to temporarily store files deleted elsewhere (Dropbox website, another device, etc.) so that they can be quickly recovered in the event of an accidential deletion. Such files are stored for approximately three days before being purged from cache.

There's no way to control the size of the cache folder. You can delete the content within it, but if Dropbox is in the middle of syncing files, it will need to start over again.

Highlighted

Re: Moving folders caused mysterious deletion of files elsewhere

Helpful | Level 5

Thanks Rich, but that makes it sound as if .dropbox.cache content is useful but not essential. It doesn't explain why, in my case, clearing .dropbox.cache appears to have caused 300+ of my Dropbox files to be deleted. Any ideas why that might have happened (in a Smart Sync context)? Or do you think perhaps the .dropbox.cache processing had a problem with disk space running out, thus causing some sort of corruption when it couldn't create or populate a temporary file successfully? (It didn't, as I expected, stop trying when storage got below a particular level.)

Polls
Do you know how to organize your files and folders?
We have created a guide on folder best practice, so you can get organized now check it out here.

Work Smarter with Dropbox

The way we work is changing. Share and discover new ways to work smarter with Dropbox in our community.

Sound good? Let's get started.
Who's talking

Top contributors to this post

What do Dropbox user levels mean?
Need more support?