How do I delete files from Dropbox on my computer?

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Delete files as you normally would on computers, phones, and tablets, and they will be deleted online too. You can also delete files from the Dropbox website, and they'll be removed from all the computers, phones, and tablets attached to your Dropbox account. Deleted files will not count against your account's overall storage quota.

If you want to restore any deleted files, keep in mind that Dropbox saves a history of all deleted and earlier versions of files for 30 days for all Dropbox accounts. If you purchase the Packrat add-on for your account, Dropbox will save your files for as long as you have the feature.

Remove a file from the desktop application

Removing a file from your Dropbox is as simple as dragging and dropping it somewhere out of your Dropbox folder. If you'd like to delete it, drag the file or folder to your Windows Recycle Bin.

On the Dropbox website Delete a file using the Dropbox website

  1. Sign in to the Dropbox website
  2. Click on the file row to the right of the file's name to select it. (Clicking on the file name or icon will open the file as a preview)
  3. Press Delete from the blue action bar across the top of the file browser

    The delete button from the Dropbox website

Permanently delete files

Deleted files can also be permanently deleted from your Dropbox. You might want to permanently delete a file if it contains sensitive information, like an old tax return, or if you simply don’t want to see the file any more, like your aunt's awful-tasting fruitcake recipe. Deleted files can be permanently removed from your Dropbox by taking the following steps:

On the Dropbox website Permanently delete files via the Dropbox website

  1. If you haven't already, delete the files you want to permanently delete using the steps above
  2. From the file browser, click the Show deleted files button
    The show deleted files and permanently delete buttons
    Show deleted files displays which files can be permanently deleted from the website

    Any files that appear in gray were previously deleted and can still be either undeleted or permanently deleted
  3. Once you find the file/folder you’d like to permanently delete, click on the icon to select the file and press Permanently delete from the blue action bar at the top of the file browser

Please be careful! You will never be able to recover a permanently deleted file (which may not be a bad thing if we're talking about fruitcake).

As we explain in our Privacy Policy, it may take some time for a file to be purged completely from our system after a permanent deletion. Also, if other Dropbox users have the same files as the ones you permanently delete, we keep their files around after your deletion.

For our advanced users

Clearing your cache

The Dropbox desktop application keeps a cache in your Dropbox folder for files and folders you move and delete. The cache is cleared automatically every three days. If you need to delete sensitive files immediately or need to clear up the space, you can manually clear your cache by following the steps in this Help Center article.

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