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Recover deleted files

Table of contents

Undo a deletion event

  1. Sign in to the Dropbox website.
  2. Click Deleted files in the left sidebar.
  3. If the event you're looking for occurred in a shared folder, select the shared folder from the pull-down menu at the top of the page.
  4. Select the shared folder from the pull-down menu.
  5. Locate the deleted files you want to recover, hover over the event, and click (ellipsis icon). Then click Restore, or click on the event to see what files were deleted.

Note: Restorations can take time if there's a large number of files to restore.

Recover select files or folders

You can recover any file or folder deleted in the last 30 days from the Dropbox website (or longer, if you have a Dropbox Business account, or a Dropbox Pro account with Extended Version History).

  1. Click the trash can icon near the search box at the top of the file browser.
    Show deleted files button
    The Show deleted files and Restore buttons on the Dropbox website
  2. All deleted files and folders will appear in the list in gray. Select the deleted file or folder you want to recover by clicking the empty space to the right of its name.

    • Hint: You can select multiple files or folders at once by pressing the shift (PC) or command (Mac) key as you click
  3. Click the Restore button from the bar at the top of the file browser.

Did you delete a shared folder? You can add it back to your Dropbox.

Keeping a year of data with Extended Version History

If recovering files becomes a recurring issue, you can upgrade your account to include the Extended Version History feature, which allows you to revert to a previous file version or recover a deleted file at any time within a year of an edit or deletion made after your purchase. Learn more about Extended Version History.

Note: Permanently deleted files are not recoverable with Extended Version History. Learn more about deleting files.

I deleted a shared folder—will that affect other members of it?

Deleting a shared folder in Dropbox only affects your account. When you delete a shared folder, you leave it. Leaving a shared folder by deleting it takes that folder out of your account, but others will keep their access. You can add the folder back to your Dropbox at any time. However, deleting individual files from a shared folder will remove them for all members of the shared folder.

For our advanced users

Restoring a missing file from cache

If you've lost a file, please try to locate and restore the file using the steps described above. However, if you still can't find or open a lost file, you may be able to recover it from your Dropbox cache in an emergency.

Dropbox keeps a hidden collection, or cache, of your files as backup storage. Files in the cache folder are stored there often after they are moved or deleted after syncing. If you can't find your file using all other practical methods, you can try to recover the file from Dropbox cache as a last resort. The Dropbox cache will keep your files for up to three days after they have been moved or deleted.

The Dropbox cache folder is hidden in your Dropbox application settings. To rescue a file from your Dropbox cache, follow these instructions:

Restore from cache on a Mac

  1. Open the Finder and select Go to folder... from the Go menu (or press Shift-Command-G)
  2. A dialog box should appear. Now copy and paste the following line into the box and press the Return key:
  3. This will take you directly to the Dropbox cache folder

    The Go to folder... dialog in the Mac OS X Finder
  4. Recover your lost file by dragging it out of the Dropbox cache folder.

Restore from cache on Linux

  1. Open a new Terminal window.
  2. Copy and paste the following command to move to the Dropbox cache directory:
    cd ~/Dropbox/.dropbox.cache
  3. List the contents of the cache directory (ls -l) to find your lost file.

Recover your lost file by moving (mv) the desired file somewhere safe.

Restore from cache on Windows

  1. Open a new Windows Explorer window by clicking on the Start menu and selecting My Computer.
  2. Copy and paste the following code into the location bar at the top of the window and press Enter:
  3. This will take you directly to the Dropbox cache folder in your Application Data folder.

    The Dropbox cache folder from Windows Explorer
  4. Recover your lost file by dragging it out of the Dropbox cache folder.

If the file is not in the Dropbox cache folder and doesn't show up as a deleted file on the website, then the file is most likely and unfortunately lost. Please note that Dropbox will never move or delete a file unless told to do so by the user. In most cases, lost files are simply misplaced or unwittingly removed by other users with access to a computer's Dropbox.