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URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Explorer | Level 4

We've just had an entire folder of around 30GB of folders and files delete itself from our Dropbox without us having done anything. Obviously we can restore the deleted files, but we need to know why this has happened. We're synced across a few machines with the same account. But we would not manually delete anything in that folder. Why has it all deleted itself?

11 Replies 11
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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @DAVID M.1, thanks for posting today!

I’m glad to hear you were able to recover your files from the deletion.

In order to narrow down what happened, you can check the version history of one of the deleted files to see which user and machine deleted the files.

Hope this helps!


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


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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Explorer | Level 4

Hi David:  may I ask which build of DropBox you are using? We've been having this issue for a while and constantly restoring from the online interface, or retrieving the items from the recycle bins on individual computers (especially considering they were never deleted in the first place) is troubling, time consuming, and not really an acceptable solution. I'm curious if this is a DropBox issue, or one of the associated Win10 problems that were revealed to the public yesterday, or something else entirely. I've now had 3 different, highly trained IT professionals look at the 3 computers we use the DropBox Desktop application on (all with DB pro licenses, all of the computers have plenty of space, so that isn't the issue either), and basically no solution yet.  I am at my wits end over here. I'm hopeful that it's not DropBox at all. The articles about the Win10 issues released yesteday were troubling and simultaneously promising.  But I am not a techie person so I might just be reading hope into a dead end because I can't take anymore loss of time.

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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Explorer | Level 4

Hi, we use dropbox on Macs so its not the same problem as with Windows.

The version we have is 90.4.307. Weve actually traced the problem to one machine that was writing to a dropbox folder on a usb drive. A couple of times this usb drive disconnected from the Mac and at that point dropbox started deleting folders and files. This seems like a bug to me as if dropbox cant find the folder it should just ignore it and not start deleting files at random!

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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Explorer | Level 4

Thanks for replying!  We are using the same build but obviously not for Macs. We do often use external drives for various reasons so I will watch and see if there is any correlation between when we use a USB drive and the timing of the mysterious file deletion.  Regardless, it should not occur, ever.  We should be able to use USB drives without DropBox deciding to delete several hundred files. 

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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Super User II
Super User II

@DAVID M.1 wrote:

This seems like a bug to me as if dropbox cant find the folder it should just ignore it and not start deleting files at random!


And that is why Dropbox is not supported on external, network or removable media. While the Dropbox app is usually Ok at detecting when the Dropbox folder has gone missing, it's entirely possible for it to start deleting content before it comes to that realization.

If you value your data, do not put Dropbox on an external drive. If you have no choice, ensure you have proper backups in place and make sure the Dropbox app is never running while the drive is disconnected.

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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @DAVID M.1, to continue from where @Rich left off, my article here specifically mentions the potential ways of losing data when having your data stored on an external drive.

You mentioned that the drive disconnects from the machine, so the Dropbox desktop application just does its job and sees that the folder is deleted. Due to this, it starts to delete the files on the account, because the expected behavior is to not have the folder on an external drive.


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


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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Explorer | Level 4

To clarify, I copy files to external drives for a number of reasons not related to backing up files outside of DrobBox, but is it always a COPY, and not a cut and paste onto the USB or other portable drive. If the data doesn't necessitate that much space, we still burn it to a CD using the same procedure: copy/paste. It's often not entire folders, but individual files (the contents of the folders).  Just like you might copy the contents of a folder within DropBox and create a second folder with identical contents, you're not removing any data from file one, you're crating a new set in a second place.  I'm unclear why the destination of copied only files would somehow cause the deletion of the original. Converserly, we also receive a lot of flash drives and encrypted CDs with data on them that we have to upload to DropBox, place in the correct folder, and rename the file.  We've had some glitches where after my employee completes that process, the sync shows complete, and within hours or a week, it's like she never did it and all of the uploaded files are missing.  Same applies to scans of paper docs: we scan directly from a scanner connected via USB and save scanned docs directly to the correct DropBox folder.  Recently, she spent 2 days scanning a bankers box of old docs individually, naming and saving them correctly, only to find that not only were the files she scanned missing, the entire master DropBox folder for that client was moved into a folder that did not previously exist (a shortcut almost, that just adds another click to get to the Client's actual folder of docs).  I restored her scans manually, but there are just so many instances of these weird things happening and we cannnot discern a pattern. We do upload files from the scanner and external drives, and we do copy files from the DropBox desktop app to USB drives, but we are not running the DropBox system externally and none of what we do should cause spontaneous file deletion.

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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Super User II
Super User II

Have you checked the version history for one of the deleted files yet? It will tell you where the deletion is occuring, which should help you narrow it down.

Dropbox is not capable of just deleting files on its own without being told to do so by some external action.

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Re: URGENT: Entire folder of files deleted

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @amgpllc, the Dropbox system and app can only be installed on the local drive. However, the Dropbox folder can be located anywhere else.

Could you clarify if your actual Dropbox folder is located on the external drive, or on the internal computer drive? You can confirm the exact location from here.

Since the two issues you mentioned occurred from the same colleague, what is their setup of the Dropbox folder? Regarding the bank scans, were they added into an alias of the Dropbox folder? Are the files added into a shared folder?


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


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