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Re: Why does Dropbox insist on renaming my files?

Why does Dropbox insist on renaming my files?

Collaborator | Level 8
Go to solution

2020: "Stop renaming my files! (on auto phone upload)" by @BoxyBeat


Dropbox response was: "interesting indeed". Then they are like; let us learn what you have uncovered that we still don't know. Like, let's go out there and jump through the hoops together to confirm if the files are named based on when the files are created (recording starts) or when they are last modified (recording stops). What difference does it make? Just stop renaming people's files!?


They go on to explain that this is the expected behavior... duh! They never explain why this is, even though the author specifically requested an explanation from Dropbox as to "why" this is.


They said they moved the question to the "Share an idea" section.


They closed the question for further comments so that anyone who feels the same way about this Dropbox misbehavior can start their own discussion about it, like I'm doing right now, and we can all pretend that no one really wants this "feature", because the discussion activity is low and no one is voting.


They even go as far as closing supposedly "shared ideas" for lack of support by other members of the community of users, before it even has a chance to reach the right team at Dropbox, Inc. With so many filters along the way, I would be surprised if any Dropbox features is ever a direct result of user input. Dropbox has its own fixed ideas of how to do things, and that's how it's going to stay. Like it and use it, or don't like it and move on to using something else.


This is the example of a shared idea that has been closed due to lack of support.


2021: "Stop renaming files" by @Pete3000


Allow such ideas to stay open for a good while and see what happens. You will never get enough votes if you keep closing ideas and keep closing discussions. You will always blame it on lack of interest by other users, and users will keep creating new topics for the same old discussions, and keep sharing the same old ideas without it ever being forwarded to the right team at Dropbox, Inc. It's so obvious right now that you are genuinely not interested in what we users have to say or what we think of your apps and services. Not when you keep shutting us off, closing our topics of discussion and keep closing our "shared" ideas before they can gather enough votes and traction, and before they ever reach the right team. You're doing this on purpose. And that's OK. It's your product and your service. I just wanted to call you out and let you know that I can see through your charade and I don't agree with your practices.


So let us have it... why are you changing the names of our files? And more importantly, why are you not allowing us to decide for ourselves if we want your app to change the name of our files or not?


There is a way to set up naming conventions with Dropbox, but it does not apply to the mobile app and camera uploads. It applies only to the web and the desktop app (the option links back to the web for setting it up, there is no interface for it within the desktop app itself).


"How to use naming conventions in Dropbox"


Despite this advanced and elaborate way to exactly specify how to name and organize files in Dropbox (as long as you're not using the mobile app), and despite having several preset naming rules to choose from, having no rule at all is not a selectable rule or option.


I am very disappointed with Dropbox right now. It feels like with each passing year I have less and less reason to use Dropbox. You have already reduced the number of devices allowed to sync from 5 to 3 (if I remember correctly) on the free plan. I wouldn't actually mind getting a premium plan if you did things a little differently and you got rid of the excess bulk you have invented in recent years like Paper, Transfer, Vault, Spaces, and what not, the list keeps growing. Dropbox has moved well beyond what used to be its core business idea, and it's far from working ideally, and I don't want to be paying for the things I don't intend to use.

21 Replies 21

Collaborator | Level 8

@JosephCat wrote:

Interesting.  Perhaps I only added folder _other_ than the default DCIM recently and just don't remember doing it.  The logs on my system only go back three days, so that's not helpful.  🤔  Perhaps I was syncing other device folders automatically and then added them to the automatic camera upload, too.  That would explain the duplicates and name changes.

EDIT: There does not seem to be a selective sync for mobile, so that theory is out.

As I noted in my previous comment, files can take many turns throughout their lifetime, before they reach their final resting place, in a cold storage (unless they are deleted). The same file can easily get out of sync if you work on multiple copies on multiple devices. Using Camera Upload is just one of several ways to transfer or copy files from device A to device B. Should those files ever be transferred back to device A, now with altered file names, then of course you're going to have duplicates! But if the Camera Upload feature of Dropbox app had not altered those file names during "camera upload" (transfer), your operating system would have most likely detected the error in your attempt and that you already have files with the same file names on the system. It would have prompted you to make a decision to either overwrite existing files, or skip the files you're trying to transfer or copy in, or to allow for the duplication to happen (usually with a "(2)" appended to the file name). As a result of Camera Upload altering file names during upload, this checking mechanism fails, on pretty much every operating system including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.


In other words, keeping file names consistent throughout their lifetime, is very important. For your own sanity, and to save time, by avoiding having to deal with duplicate files as a result of not having a strict naming convention. Dropbox has a strict naming convention alright, but they have one that they impose on you, whenever you use the Camera Upload feature. This is why I stopped using Dropbox altogether. I did try to persuade them to consider changing this, or at very least letting users decide for themselves if they want to alter file names upon using Camera Upload feature, or not to. But they have stiffly decided not to listen in on what I and others before me have said and complained about in other posts that they downplayed as irrelevant and closed due to inactivity.


However, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by selective sync, but you should be able to selectively upload files from a mobile device to Dropbox. For example when you select a few pictures and a folder that contains PDF documents, and you upload that manually, the file names will be preserved. It's only the Camera Upload feature that automatically and periodically uploads picture files only, that alters file names (on the files as uploaded, not the source files). I don't have Dropbox installed anymore, so I can't verify this, but that's how I remember it.

M S.1
Collaborator | Level 9

Yeah....  I gave up with my issues.  They are photo related as well and issues users have been crying for for years.  I bet many left, as will I whenever another good cross platform sync materializes that handles photos better along with other integration.  Dropbox is happy to just wait for a competitor to poach their users rather than get in front of it.  And yes, the farce of user input 🙄.


Did you know that you CAN NOT choose to exclude photos from a particular folder from your photo gallery?  Did you know you used to be able to?  So many other broken promises regarding Carousel integration.


Dropbox.  Advertised as a great place for photos when it's the worst for photos.

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