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Deleted files reappear, but with 0 file size

New member | Level 2

I have a slightly different problem that others I was able to find.

I have Dropbox installed on my work laptop, personal laptop, and phone. That's it. No files/folders are shared - this is just my personal file space. Until this week, everything worked fine and as expected.

Starting a couple days ago, I noticed the following behavior when deleting files:

  1. Deleting files from my work laptop results in the files being deletd across personal laptop, phone, and Dropbox web as expected. No issues.
  2. Deleting files from personal laptop, phone, or Dropbox web initially results in deletion everywhere as expected. But within 5-10 seconds the files will return to all devices, except with zero file size and obviously unable to open. Checking version history on Dropbox web shows that my work laptop is re-adding the blank files.
  3. Deleting the files again results in the same loop - work laptop will keep re-adding them. The only way to keep them deleted is to initiate the deletion from my work laptop.
  4. Sometimes, if for example my personal laptop is off/disconnected while this is occurring, when it turns back on it will try to sync back to Dropbox and I guess re-add the same file but this time with data. This results in a BSOD on my work laptop, which can only be resolved by rebooting, killing the Dropbox process before it syncs, and then manually deleting the files in question across all devices before allowing Dropbox to restart sync.
  5. Adding files to Dropbox from any device works as expected.
  6. Moving files/folders within Dropbox sometimes results in the behavior described in #2 and #3, but not always.

The above occurs with all file types I've tried, single files vs. multiple files, files in Dropbox root folder or subfolders, etc. I have already done a complete reinstall of Dropbox on both laptops, including completely deleting all files during the uninstall, deleting any remaining Dropbox program files, and then reinstalling and allowing everything to re-download from Dropbox cloud.

I've had my corporate IT examine my work laptop. They also identified the problem as how Dropbox is syncing but couldn't figure out exactly what was happening. They ended up doing a general update of the machine (windows/bios/driver updates) and did another clean reinstall of Dropbox, but the behavior still exists.

Any ideas? For now I'm just working with Dropbox paused on my work laptop as I can't risk BSOD like this; but this also means a big chunk of my usual workflow is disrupted.

5 Replies

Re: Deleted files reappear, but with 0 file size

Dropboxer

Hi there @gooselee, thanks for reaching out to us about this and for the detailed post! 

From your description, it sounds like your work computer may have an app running that's using the a file. 

For this reason, you can try temporarily quitting or disabling a few apps until you see that the issue is resolved. The last app that you closed when the issue no longer occurred may be the one performing this action.

Let me know how it goes!


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


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Re: Deleted files reappear, but with 0 file size

New member | Level 2

I attempted this with my work IT and got the same results (they also closed off several background processes). The behavior also occurred immediately after reboot, before any apps/programs were running.

It could of course be another process that we did not turn off in our testing. Are there certain types of programs/processes that would cause the zero filesize issue in particular?

If it were just a backup program restoring the file altogether, that would kind of make sense. The weird part to me is that something is putting the file back, but not restoring the data with it as well.

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Re: Deleted files reappear, but with 0 file size

Dropboxer

Although I can't pin-point exactly what the cause may be, do give it a try and if nothing comes up, don't hesitate to give me a nudge. 

Thanks in advance, @gooselee!


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


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Re: Deleted files reappear, but with 0 file size

New member | Level 2

Hi,

Sorry if I was unclear. What I'm saying is we did try closing all applications/programs as well as stopping many nonessential processes, and we could not isolate anything that resolved the issue.

I'm happy to go back to corporate IT with suggestions on other types of processes to try stopping, but they have basically told me that they think it's a Dropbox issue, which is why I'm posting here. I also suspect they will be unwilling to suspend/remove certain processes that deal with our internal data security.

If this means my work applications are now incompatable for Dropbox, that would just mean I can no longer use Dropbox, which would be sad.

 

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Re: Deleted files reappear, but with 0 file size

Dropboxer

I'd be more than happy to look into this a bit more in depth with you, @gooseleegrinning face with smiling eyes

I've sent you a ticket to the email address associated with your Community profile, so when you have the chance, please check your inbox for my message. 

Looking forward to hearing back from you!


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


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Deleted files reappear, but with 0 file size
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