With over 700 million registered users, Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage service providers in the world. This service offers smooth synchronization between different devices and a seamless data backup functionality. Business users can even enjoy its secure file sharing and unique collaboration features that make running the business as smooth as it can get. Still, even though it has such exceptional features, you can lose files from your Dropbox account. After all, it only takes one mistake for important files to disappear, never to be seen again. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to recover deleted files from Dropbox.
Therefore, in this article, we will demonstrate share five methods to easily recover deleted or overwritten files from Dropbox. Let’s get down to the business.
1. Restore Erased Files from Dropbox Trash Bin
Every Dropbox account comes with a “Deleted Files” folder, which works the same way as the Trash Bin of the Mac or the Recycle Bin of a Windows PC. When you accidentally delete a file from your Dropbox account, the app doesn’t delete the file permanently. Instead, the deleted file moves to the “Deleted Files” folder and stays there for 30 days. (The file can stay there for more than 30 days depending on your Dropbox subscription.)
Therefore, whenever you accidentally delete a Dropbox file, you should visit this folder first. Here’s how you can use the Trash Bin of Dropbox to restore your lost files:
- Visit your Dropbox account page and click on the “Files” option in the left panel.
- Click on the “Deleted Files” option. This will show all the files and folders that are available in the “Deleted Files” folder.
- Look for the files or folders you want to restore and select them all.
- Click on the “Restore” button to move the files back to their original location in Dropbox.
Important Note: This method won’t work if the file you are looking for has already been wiped out from the “Deleted Files” folder.
2. Recover Deleted Files via Dropbox Rewind
Viruses and ransomware attacks are some of the biggest threats to your precious data. Not even the most secure cloud storage services, such as Dropbox and OneDrive, are completely immune to these threats. As a result, whenever these cyberattacks penetrate the security of the cloud services, you might end up losing many of your precious files. That’s why Dropbox created a special feature—Dropbox Rewind. This feature allows the users to restore the Dropbox folders or even the entire account to a previous state. It will undo any changes such as file names, edits, and everything other changes, rewinding them.
In simple words, you can reverse any action you have taken in your whole account. Additionally, if you’re the main user of the Dropbox account, you can recover it and undo the accidental file deletions. Here’s how you can do it:
- Go to your Dropbox account and click on the “Files” option in the left panel.
- Now, click on the “Rewind Dropbox” located on the right side of your screen to rewind your entire Dropbox account. If you want to rewind a single folder, go to that folder and click on the “Rewind this folder” option.
- Next, click on the “Get Started” button. This will open a graph that will show the day-to-day activities of the folder.
- Choose a day from the graph by clicking on it. Make sure you pick a day before your files are wiped out.
- Click on the “Continue” option.
- In the “Fine Tune” window, use the blue line to undo the changes depending on which files you want to recover.
- Click on the “Continue” option and then click on the “Rewind” button. It might take a few minutes for the rewinding process to complete. Once it’s complete, you will receive a notification via your email.
There it is. Once the rewinding process is complete, you can recover the Dropbox files you deleted.
3. Utilize Version History to Recover Dropbox Files
Whenever you make a change in your Dropbox files, this cloud storage service takes snapshots of the changes. This allows it to save different versions of all the files stored in it. Therefore, if you want to undo any recent changes and revert your files to previous versions, you can do so using Dropbox’s File Version History function this way:
- Open your Dropbox account, and click on the “Files” option.
- Now, select the file you want to restore to a previous version and click on its checkbox that is on the right side of the file.
- Next, click on the “Three dots” option on the left of the file, and choose the “Version history” option.
- Go through the available versions and review them. Once you’re done, select the version you want to restore.
- Click on the “Restore” to restore the file to the version of your choice.
Important Note: If you have a Dropbox Basic, Family, or Plus account, the available file versions will stretch to the last 30 days. If you have a Professional or Business subscription to Dropbox, you can restore an older version of the file made within the last 180 days.
4. Rescue Deleted Files Using Dropbox Cache
Dropbox often stores files in its Cache folder. Whenever you delete a file from your Dropbox’s local account, the files stay in that folder for up to three days before being entirely wiped out from your computer’s hard disk drive. Thus, you can recover deleted files from the local Dropbox folders by accessing the Cache folder.
Opening the Cache Folder on a Windows PC
Follow these instructions to recover deleted Dropbox files from Cache on Windows:
- Open the “File Explorer” window by clicking on the File Explorer logo in the taskbar.
- Now, copy this exact line: %HOMEPATH%\Dropbox\.dropbox.cache
- After that, paste the line you have just copied in the “Location bar” of the File Explorer window and press the “Enter” key.
- The cache folder of Dropbox should open on your computer. If it does not, you have to enable “show hidden files and folders”. Check if the folder has the desired files and move them to other folders.
Accessing Cache Folder on a Mac
Do this to open Mac’s Cache folder for Dropbox:
- Open your Mac and navigate to Finder → Go → Go to folder. A new empty box will show up.
- Copy this line from here: ~/Dropbox/.dropbox.cache
- Paste the line you copied to the empty box, then select “Go to folder.”
- Press the “Return” key to open the Dropbox cache folder on Mac. Check if the file you want to restore is here. If it is, move it to a folder of your choice.
5. Use Data Recovery Software for Dropbox Files
If none of the earlier methods worked, it’s time to use a professional data recovery application to restore the Dropbox files. Every time you store a file in Dropbox, the file is also saved in the local Dropbox folder in your computer’s internal storage. Therefore, when you lose it from a local folder of Dropbox, you also lose it from your hard disk drive. That’s why using data restoration software is an effective method. Ensure that it comes from a renowned company, and has a lot of positive reviews coming from real users. Then:
- Download, install, and open the data recovery software on your computer, and select the storage device and the Dropbox local folder as your target to run the scan.
- Click on the “Search for lost data” or “Scan” option, so the application can start searching for recoverable files.
- Once the scan is complete, the application will show you all the recoverable files that were deleted from the Dropbox local folder. Look for the files you want to recover and select them.
- Click on the “Recover” button.
- Select a folder where you want to download the chosen files and click on the “OK” button.
Now, your chosen Dropbox files will be downloaded to the selected folders.
Dropbox Personal vs. Business: How Does It Affect File Recovery?
Dropbox offers many types of subscription plans for every individual and business, so they can select one suitable to their unique needs. If you’re subscribing to the Dropbox Personal plans, you can only restore the versions of files and folders that were made within the last 30 days. Also, erased files remain in the Trash Bin only for 30 days before they get wiped out automatically.
Moreover, the Dropbox Family and Plus subscribers can enjoy up to 30-day history rewind. However, the Rewind feature isn’t available for the users with the Basic (the free account plan) Dropbox subscription. The Business account subscribers enjoy better features because businesses often deal with a massive amount of data. Hence, Dropbox Professional, Advanced, and Standard account users can recover file and folder versions created within the last 180 days. The files deleted from such a Dropbox account also stay in the Trash and can be rewinded for the same period.