Known issues updated. Learn more




Complex restore question regarding a deleted shared folder

Explorer | Level 3

Apologies in advance for a long explanation. I see no other way to assure the details of my problem are understood. My wife and I both have Dropbox accounts.   We had a large amount of shared data.  About a month ago I had switched from a Plus account to Basic, and as a result Drobox alerted my I was over quota by about 5000%.  My wife has a Plus account, with no current space issues. 

In an attempt to resolve my over quota issue, on 3/16/19 I tried to remove a giant shared folder "XYZ", and thought that I was removing XYZ only from my computer hard drive (i.e. the sync'd version of XYZ on Dropbox.   XYZ had over 11,000 files inside subfolders, and over 120 GB in it.  To do the removal, I did a cut / paste operation in Windows Explorer, cutting the XYZ from Dropbox - which showed up as a folder in the Windows Explorer tree - and pasted XYZ onto an external hard drive.  That was a mistake obviously, because the actual XYZ Dropbox folder - not the local copy - was moved to the external drive.  The XYZ folder and its sub folders are no longer visible on Dropbox/files from either my account or my wife's account.  XYZ is available on the external drive, fortunately intact.  We wish to restore the XYZ folder at the very least to one of our accounts, and since my wife has the Plus account, it would seem to be the better option.  It's uncertain as to who the original ower of the XYZ folder was. Probably me, but we both had read/write access.   I can see relevant 'events' ( on the date I did the move of the XYZ folder. The sequence in chrono order:

  1. You removed your access to the shared folder XYZ
  2. You moved the folder XYZ
  3. You deleted the folder XYZ

I looked at Deleted items folder on Dropbox, although there are files and folders listed, none of them are the entire XYZ folder.   I can see two options for restoration. 

1) I went to the Files/Sharing and and I can see my XYZ folder there. In fact XYZ is the only folder listed.  It appears that I can 'add' it.  However if I do so wouldn't I be back to being over quota?

2) Alternatively, connect the external drive to my wife's Apple, have her upload the entire XYZ folder back up to her Dropbox Plus account, and re-share XYZ with me. That way I'm hoping we'd be able avoid my quota issue.  We've tried it already and it's been unreliable. For one, it's taking forever - like 30 seconds for a 2MB file.  Second, it has resulted in some empty sub folders. Third it has reported errors uploading some files, enough so that it would be a royal PITA to fix them one at a time.   There shoul be a more reliable faster way - perhaps copy XYZ from the external drive to a flash drive or to her PC drive, and then upload it to her Dropbox? 

So what is my best option? 

1 Reply

Re: Complex restore question

Hey there @BigE,
At first, it sounds like you temporarily removed your access to the shared folder, which would explain why you still see the option to add it back from the Sharing tab
In general though, if you don’t have the available space for the folder in question (in this case, 120 GB as you mention), you won’t be able to add it back or have it be shared with you, as storage space is not shared and the folder takes up space in both accounts. You can find more info about the space available and taken up in your account in your Plan tab
Furthermore, please note each file or folder that you upload through the website must be 50 GB or smaller. As such, for larger content, you can use the desktop or mobile apps, which don’t have a file size limit.
However, could you please ensure that the other user (your wife) that had access to the shared folder still has access to it by:
  1. Signing in to the website
  2. Going to Files.
  3. Looking through the list of folders and files for the shared folder in question. 
You can also search for it if you remember the name of the folder by following the steps outlined in this article
Thanks in advance!

Community Moderator @ Dropbox

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

Syncing and uploads

Have a question? Our Dropbox Community is here to help!

Post your question or search for an answer below.

Learn more about using the Community by reading our Community Guidelines.

Hi anonymous,

If you need more help you can log a ticket with our Support Team here (expected response time 24 hours), or contact us on Twitter or Facebook.

For more info on available support options, see this article.

If you found the answer to your question, please 'like' the post to say thanks to the user!

Complex restore question regarding a deleted shared folder
1 Reply
Solved! : See solution
Who's talking
Top contributors to this post