It’s really understandably unfortunate for you if you deleted files which now are important to you. Thankfully, Dropbox offers a real lot of helpful features and ways to better assist its users in relation to these disastrous cases.
The first thing that you can do to help yourself out is to clarify the situation where you are in. You may ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the file deleted? Was it more than 30 days already?
- Was the file simply overwritten, moved, renamed, or permanently deleted?
- How many files do I want to recover?
- Are the files inside a shared folder?
- Are you using the Packrat feature?
- Are you sure you really uploaded the file or at least have it synced properly from a device?
Each question here may get different solutions, so it’s good that you know what exactly do you require and what situation are you really in.
Dropbox, by default, has a recovery time frame of 30 days for each and every file. This means that files deleted within that span of days will be perfectly recoverable, and the other goes around if the deletion occurred more than 30 days. Listed below are the steps on how to recover deleted files the easiest way:
- After logging to your Dropbox account online, simply click on the trash icon found just above the blue action bar. This will include all deleted files on the list of files and folders you currently have. Deleted files are shown in grey color.
- Select the file or folder that you want to restore by clicking on the appropriate row. If it is a folder, clicking the title of the folder will show its contents.
- Click on the Restore link found on the blue action bar.
If the file is overwritten, which means that a newer version sits on the original or older version, you can simply restore its previous version. To do so:
- Click on the row of the file that you want to check previous versions of.
On the blue action bar above the list, click More, and then select Previous versions. This will lead you to another page.
As you can see, within the new page you will be informed as to what events took place on that specific file. You will know which device modified or deleted the older version, and you will know who (if shared) did so.
- Select the version that you want to restore by clicking on the appropriate radio button.
- Click the Restore button.
Note that you can only restore previous versions of files but not the parent folder.
If the file is moved, you really have to remember or locate where the file or folder was moved.
If the file is renamed, you can use the restore previous versions feature. However, you first have to select a file that seems closest to the file you are looking for.
If the file is permanently deleted, there’s no way you could recover it on the Dropbox platform. You may want to use a recovery software on your desktop if the file is sync to that device, or you may delve into the cache folder of Dropbox on your PC. By default, Dropbox stores all permanently deleted files in its local cache folder for up to three days, and chances are you can still recover your files there. To do so:
- Open My Computer from your desktop.
- Enter the following directory into the address/navigation bar: %HOMEPATH%\Dropbox\.dropbox.cache
- Find the file or folder that you want to recover and move it to another directory.
If you so happen not to remember anything about deleting a file, and you just found it lost, chances are your file has corrupted on your local system, has been put into a vault by your antivirus software, somebody has tampered your files, you have moved the local file to another local directory (making Dropbox think you have deleted it from the local Dropbox folder),or if the folder is shared, you have been removed from the shared folder.
If chances happen that you once deleted a large number of files and then decided to recover all of them back to place, you can utilise the Events feature to file a request of recovery.
- Going online to Dropbox, select the Events tab found on the left of the page.
- Locate the event where you have deleted the files (it usually says “You deleted XXXX files” followed by the time of occurrence.
- Click on the link(s) that come along with the event, and copy the URL of each link to a notepad for reference.
- Submit the link by filing a help request form in www.dropbox.com/support?form=1.
If you are looking for a file that you suppose was once a part of a shared folder, the big chance is that the folder is no longer shared. To regain access to that file, you may want to rejoin to that folder by going to the past folders under the Sharing page. If you cannot locate the folder on the said page, you may be banned from that folder, or that folder was never really there.
If you have the Packrat feature, you are lucky to enjoy recovery of files even if the file has been deleted the time you created your account. Simply show the deleted files on your Dropbox, and restore the files or folders you want to recover.
The worst thing to happen is that, the file was never really there. You may have disguised the event that the file was really synced, when in fact, the sync feature might have failed on that particular file, or the connection was lost while syncing was taking place. Always remember that Dropbox will not tamper, modify, or remove any of your files or folders unless given the permission or authority to.