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Privacy and Usability Concerns With Windows 10 Desktop App

Explorer | Level 3

There are a million spots in the Dropbox app that are trying to be helpful but are ultimately annoying and lead to privacy concerns. I use my dropbox for both personal and business reasons. I have the folders already organized so that, when launching dropbox, information isn't immediately displayed that someone else shouldn't see. However, Dropbox makes it impossible to actually keep these things from being unintentionally exposed(someone looking over your shoulder, opening Dropbox while sharing the screen, etc).

1. How do we clear notifications? I have one notification. ONE. And it's six years old and related to a job I no longer work. There is literally no way of getting rid of this. There's no right click menu or any other way to interact with it.

2. Or better yet, how do we completely disable the entire system of notications? I don't need this. I don't even care about its existence. It's bizarre to me that you can only mute them for a maximum of one day.

3. How do I disable the "For you" highlights section? This is another feature that's both useless to me and spills out information(recently viewed files/folders) that I would not want other people to see.

4. The Recents section is nice, but needs a way to be cleared. Again, this potentially makes information visible that other people should not see.

5. How do I disable "Suggested Folders" on the new Windows 10 desktop app? This is, yet again, another place that's showing random folders that no one else needs to see.

6. How do I disable the large file previews in the Windows 10 desktop app so that clicking on a file doesn't show a large thumbnail?

In all honesty, all I need from a Dropbox app is file syncing and the ability to create a Dropbox link to that file. Everything else is fluff that's trying too hard to be helpful while spilling out potentially private information.

And before anyone says "Don't let other people use your computer!" or "Make sure your computer is password protected!" or "Make separate user accounts!", none of these things are going to prevent people from seeing something on my screen if I'm trying to show them something in person/via screen sharing.

4 Replies 4
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Re: Privacy and Usability Concerns With Windows 10 Desktop App

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hello @rossis - welcome to our Community and thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback - it's most appreciated.

At first, note that you can choose which notifications you'll receive by accessing the Dropbox Preferences and following the instructions on the following Help center article:

https://www.dropbox.com/help/files-folders/notified-changes

To remove specific notifications you already have in the notifications panel of the Dropbox desktop application, you can click the three dots at the upper right corner of the notification you'd like to remove, and then click remove. 

If you're referring to messages that display in the Notifications section, those cannot be manually deleted or removed, however you can click on the check mark beside a notification to mark it as read.

If you're not seeing this, please forward me a screenshot so I can have a further look into this. 

When it comes to your concern about 'Recents'  on your account, note that on the Dropbox homepage, it currently isn't possible to clear items in the Recents list but you can hide the whole 'Recent' section. 

On our mobile apps, you can hide your recent files by going to the Account tab, then tapping the gear icon on the top-right. You'll then see an option to "Hide Recents".

Last but not least, while it's true that there is not a way to remove individual components of the new Dropbox desktop experience, adjusting the settings as outlined below will allow you to use Dropbox just as you always have.  

You can update your Dropbox app preferences to open your Dropbox folder in File Explorer by default, instead of in the desktop app:

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in your system tray.
  2. Click your profile picture or initials in the upper right corner.
  3. Click Preferences….
  4. Click the dropdown next to “Open folders in:” and choose File Explorer

Once you have set your preferences as detailed above, you will not see the new Dropbox desktop app unless you click on the Dropbox app icon in Finder or File Explorer after Dropbox is already running in the Windows system tray.

You can find more details about the Dropbox desktop experience in this help center article: https://help.dropbox.com/installs-integrations/desktop/desktop-application-overview

I hope this helps to some extent while I'm always a post away if you have anything else to ask or add. 



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


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Re: Privacy and Usability Concerns With Windows 10 Desktop App

Explorer | Level 3

@Walter wrote:

If you're referring to messages that display in the Notifications section, those cannot be manually deleted or removed, however you can click on the check mark beside a notification to mark it as read.


Then there absolutely needs to be a way to clear notifications. Again, I have a six year old notification that is going to sit here forever and stare me in the face. It's absolutely useless information to me. I'd hate to be someone who has as notification with private information in there that they can't get rid of.

 


When it comes to your concern about 'Recents'  on your account, note that on the Dropbox homepage, it currently isn't possible to clear items in the Recents list but you can hide the whole 'Recent' section. 

 

On our mobile apps, you can hide your recent files by going to the Account tab, then tapping the gear icon on the top-right. You'll then see an option to "Hide Recents".

This thread is specifically about the Windows 10 desktop app. I don't see any obvious way of hiding the "recents" section in the desktop app.

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Re: Privacy and Usability Concerns With Windows 10 Desktop App

Super User II
Super User II

@rossis wrote:

In all honesty, all I need from a Dropbox app is file syncing and the ability to create a Dropbox link to that file. Everything else is fluff that's trying too hard to be helpful while spilling out potentially private information.


Then don't open the app.

Seriously, no snark intended. If all you need is syncing and link creation, you never need to go near the Dropbox app. Install it, turn off desktop notifications so there are no popups, hide the Dropbox icon with the rest of your unused system tray icons, and forget about it. Work directly from the Dropbox folder in Explorer. Right-click files or folders directly to create links. You never need to go to the Dropbox app, and it won't open unless you open it.

The only time I go to the app is to test a feature or find the specific location of a feature or setting while I'm helping someone. I don't use any of the fluff, as you called it, and I never see the app unless I intentionally open it. It's simply ticked away, out of sight.

The likelihood of Dropbox changing the app to address all of your concerns is, well, let's face it... it's not going to happen. Ever since they started changing the app several years ago, Dropbox has been driving towards a more user-friendly interface, which means adding fluff that the more advanced users don't need or necessarily want. They have to program for the masses, not the minority.

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Re: Privacy and Usability Concerns With Windows 10 Desktop App

Explorer | Level 3

I already hide and try to avoid using the actual Dropbox app as much as possible. This doesn't eleviate my concerns, nor is "don't use the app" the correct answer for people who actually *do* use the app for some of its intended features. I'm far from the first person to complain about these things on this forum.

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