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Randomly deleted files and folders

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Randomly deleted files and folders

Anyone else experiencing files and folders being deleted from Dropbox without human intervention?

 

I know that I'm going to get the stock Dropbox answer here that it can't happen, but I can explicitly tell you it does.

 

What I saw was random deletions of over 10,000 files/folders in the space of less than 33 seconds. Even with the best will in the world - not to mention the fastest fingers - this just isn't possible. Especially considering that some complete folders, and in some cases just files within folders, disappeared at 13:30 BST yesterday, all within 33 seconds (according to the event log). 

 

The kicker is that the only person who has access to these files/folders is me - and I know for sure that I didn't delete them.

 

I guess there may be 2 explanations:

 

1) I entered a fugue state and decided to delete all my work on a number of cases

2) Something is happening with the Dropbox software that either Dropbox don't know about or can't fix

 

Been trying to get Dropbox support to assist, but got the usual default customer service answer of "it's not us it's you". Well, I know it's not me - so by extension it must be the software!

 

Next step is to request a refund of my yearly plan as I cannot have something that intervenes in my workflow like this and then wastes half a day (and counting) trying to figure out what's missing. I guess the only silver lining is that I have a Dropbox business account, so files are kept forever. Small benefit, but a good one at this stage.

 

So, after my long winded moan above, anyone have a resolution to stop Dropbox from deleting things from my folders? Or is it just time to move on to another provider?

 

Finally, don't let anyone from Dropbox tell you differently (especially the "Super Users") as I can categorically say it happens. They'll tell you it can't, but I know for a fact that it can.

 

Best of luck and hoping you don't fall foul of the same problems I've had.

 

 

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Solution
Dropboxer

Re: Randomly deleted files and folders

 
Hey Daz
 
Welcome to the Dropbox Community, let me send over some tips below regarding your inquiry and we’ll take it from there! 
 
 SKBJ s reply could point you towards the right direction, though you may need to dig deeper, depending on the behavior you’ve noticed. 
 
Firstly, as Dropbox syncs any files added to it, a virus or malicious software would get updated to all computers linked to the account accordingly. If the virus or malicious software is in a shared folder, shared folder members and computers may also be affected. That being said, I’d strongly recommend removing it as soon as possible, as it’ll definitely create more issues in the long run. 
 
Secondly, it recently came to attention that connecting or pointing external locations (i.e. Symlinking them) to your Dropbox folder might cause unexpected behavior, so it may appear to you as if files are randomly deleted. That being said, I’d advise you to have a look intro this as well, just as a possible scenario. 
 
Regardless of the cause, if you need further clarifications or you’d like your account reverted back to a particular point in time, my advice would be to reach out directly to our team, who’ll guide you through the necessary steps and actions you’d need to take, so as to revert back to normal operations. 
 
If you decide to go per my advice above, you may keep in mind that I’m always here to pursue a resolution, so please let me know a ticket ID I could reference in your next reply. 
 
I’m looking forward to hearing back from you on this discussion! 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

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58 Replies
Level 1

Random files being deleted

I see there are similar posts about this, and in some of them it's being put down to user error or the files being deleted by someone who shares a folder.

I just wanted to say that I've been using Dropbox for years, know how it works, and important work files that I would most CERTAINLY never have deleted recently disappeared from my Dropbox folder.

Also, I don't share my folders with anyone, so it's not that someone else is deleting them either.

Thankfully I was able to visit Dropbox via the website and undelete them. If not, I would have been in really serious trouble.

I just wanted to post this to show other people who are losing data that they are not alone.

I have to say that my confidence in Dropbox has taken a BIG knock.  I've now started backing up my Dropbox folder to DVD on a regular basis - which, in a way, defeats the whole point of Dropbox for me.

Super User II

Re: Random files being deleted

Dropbox cannot delete on its own. SOMETHING has to be doing it - see www.dropbox.com/help/969

 


@Risky A. wrote:

which, in a way, defeats the whole point of Dropbox for me.

Oh no, it really doesnt. Dropbox is NOT a backup tool and should never EVER be regarded as one. It is a syncing tool. 

You should ALWAYS have multiple backups in place - regardless if you have Dropbox or not. 


 


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Level 2

Re: Random files being deleted

I am having the same issue, have had dropbox for years and in the last 45 days my files start being randomly deleted. I don't have other users accessing the folders, so that is not the issue.

 

I keep opening tickets, but just keep getting sent links to the info I have already tried. Dropbox shows no deletion event, but the files are definitely missing. Anyone have an idea on how I can get my files back?

Super User II

Re: Random files being deleted

You can restore yourself via www.dropbox.com/help/296

In terms of the deletions have you noticed a pattern? File types? Location? Times? Days of week etc.?

 


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Level 2

Re: Random files being deleted

Hi.

I had similar occurrence and I have loads of questions... I am accessing Drobbox thru few Linux, android and one windows 10 machine. I had thousands files deleted from random locations including some client files which is really serious. It is unfortunate if I lose my own work files as it will set us back to the latest backup... which is few days old... but if I delete files belonging to clients that is a catastrophe as I could loose the customer. I only caught this because the number of deletions was so large 5000+ files maybe about 50GB and I got notification from DB. I have experienced lost files in DB before. At the time I taught maybe they were accidentally removed by someone or my kid got hold of the the keyboard and played with the delete key... we did not see them missing within the 30 day grace period so we lost some pics and documents... now I am not sure that was the case.

 

This time the files were deleted at the same moment from various different locations. they were also different types pics, PDFs, office files, text, code, binary simulation data, cad drawings etc. So most likely this was done by software (operating system, file browser (I use nautilus and file explorer) or malvare). Human could not have done it manually in the time given.

 

What is curious that I was not able to recover some of the data from deleted files which are supposed to remain there for 30 days but I did find that data from the backup few days ago... so not all missing data remained in the recovery folder. My concern is... did I recover all the lost data or is some of it still missing or is some of the data clients shared with me missing. Also according to DB deleted files page the oldest deletion happened week ago although I use DB folder for work about every day so there should be deletions for almost every day for the last 30 days. Do I see the deletion in recovery page if shared folder is deleted by someone else than me?

 

Can something delete the file permanently without logging in to DB web site with my credentials and click “delete permanently” button

 

Is there known reason for this type of behavior? Some bug, malvare, virus, sync problem or OS update????

 

Yours Hannes

 

Super User II

Re: Randomly deleted files and folders


currentcapital wrote:

I know that I'm going to get the stock Dropbox answer here that it can't happen, but I can explicitly tell you it does.


It doesn't. If files have been deleted, then either you, another process on your computer or another device linked to your account had to initiate it. Dropbox cannot delete your files without being told to.

 

Restore one of the files that was deleted, then look at the previous version history for that file. It will tell you where the deletion originated from (hover your cursor over the timestamp to the right). If it shows you or your computer as the one that deleted it, and you didn't do it, then something on your computer did.

 

If you're a Dropbox for Business customer, you have access to phone support. Have you called yet? The phone number and required PIN can be found in your admin console under Help.


Re: Randomly deleted files and folders

I know what I did or did not do, and thanks for the condescending reply. Have seen it other places in these forums. Very helpful.

Only process that could be doing this is a Dropbox process, so I guess in a way it is a process on my PC that's at fault.

Software bug in Dropbox then?
Level 3

Re: Randomly deleted files and folders

Wowee - I was just going to switch to drop box for business because my current software sugar sync has the same issue - but it seems to just pick a file here and there - so I have stuff missing that I didn't even know because I don't work on files continously - so something that both programs use in algorithm seems to be haywire - really doubt that computers randomly delete data - did you try to locate the initiating device / process - I am curious what the outcome was - the whole point is securing and syncing data - this seems to be exactly the opposite - I also keep another backup drive - but jeepers we should not have to... Now I really don't know what other service there is that doesn't have the same hiccup - have you found alternatives with more favorable reviews??? Hope you get it sorted. M

Re: Randomly deleted files and folders

Unfortunately haven't been able to isolate what the issue is. 

 

As I'm the only person with access to this particular set of documents, and that it has happened in such a localised area but in huge volume (i.e. 10,000 files!), it has to be something to do with Dropbox itself.

 

As is usually done by the "helpful" Super Users on the boards, it's nothing to do with the software (obviously) and it must be me with the fastest fingers deleting all these files.

 

Not found a substitute yet, but am actively looking. Will report back once I've got something which hopefully helps everyone else who is running into this problem.

 

Best of luck.

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