Files are missing, have reappeared, or been corrupted. Why doesn't Dropbox look right?

There are a number of possible causes of missing or corrupted files. The fastest way for us to assist with missing files is for you to carefully read this article.

Note: Often "missing" files aren't missing at all—they've just been moved. Dropbox usually logs the move of a file as both a deletion (from its original location) and an addition (to its new location).

If you move or rename files, you may receive a Deleted files notification. However, you may miss the notification that the files were added elsewhere. If you (or a shared-folder member) moved your "missing" files, you can simply begin accessing them again in the new location. No recovery is needed.

If your files are missing, or something else is wrong, select the Quick link that best describes what's happening in your Dropbox. You'll then learn what to do next.

Sections in this article:

I can't find a file or folder, but I don't think I deleted it

There can be several reasons why a file or folder might go missing. If the file was in a shared folder, another member of the folder may have accidentally deleted it. Or it may have simply gotten moved to another folder in your Dropbox.

Whatever the reason, Dropbox keeps a log of everything that happens in your account, and you can use this log both to find out what happened and to recover missing files. There are a couple of ways to investigate:

Use the search bar:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click into the Search bar at the top of the page, and enter some keywords that apply to your missing file or folder.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the search results page—deleted files will appear here.
  4. Locate the log entry for the deletion of your file or folder, and hover the mouse pointer over this entry. Click the Restore button that appears to the right.
  • Note: Restorations can take time if there are a large number of files to restore

Not finding your missing files? Try using the Deleted Files page.

Use the Deleted Files page:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click Deleted Files in the left sidebar.
  3. Scan the page, looking for the deleted file or folder you'd like to recover.
  4. If you find your file or folder, hover the mouse pointer over the file listing, and click  (ellipsis icon) that appears on the right.
  5. Click the Restore button.
  • Note: Restorations can take time if there are a large number of files to restore

Still not finding your missing files? Try using the Events page.

Use the Events page:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Navigate to dropbox.com/events.
  3. Scan the page, looking for any deletions that might relate to the missing file or folder. These actions include additions, edits, deletions, renames, or moves.
    • If your file was renamed or moved, you will be able to see the new file name or its new location
    • If your file was deleted, hover the mouse pointer over the file listing, and click the Restore button that appears on the right
    • Not seeing the Restore button? Follow these steps to get help restoring your files
  • Note: Restorations can take time if there are a large number of files to restore

I'm not finding my missing file using any of the methods above—what should I do?

If you're not finding any record of a moved, renamed, or deleted file, consider these other possibilities:

I'm still having trouble. Take me back to the top of the article so I can start over.

I—or somebody I share folders with—deleted something, and I want it back

If you know for a fact that you deleted a file—or that someone you share a folder with deleted it—you can do a couple of things to get it back. You'll know that you or a shared-folder member deleted a file if:

  • You received an email notifying you of a large number of deletions from your Dropbox account
  • You've already visited the events page and found a listing for your missing file or folder
  • You recall deleting the file or folder, or a shared-folder member told you they deleted it

To restore deleted files, you can search inside the folder that you know the file was deleted from using the search bar, the Events page, or the Deleted Files page. By limiting the search you can more quickly find what occurred in your specific shared folder.

Use the search bar:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click the Search bar at the top of the page, and enter some keywords that apply to your missing file or folder.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the search results page—deleted files will appear here.
  4. Locate the log entry for the deletion of your file or folder, and hover the mouse pointer over this entry. Click the Restore button that appears to the right.

Not seeing the Restore button? Follow these steps to get help restoring your files.

  • Note: Restorations can take time if there are a large number of files to restore

Not finding your missing files? Try using the Events page.

Use the Events page:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Navigate to dropbox.com/events.
  3. If the event you're looking for occurred in a shared folder, click the All dropdown and select the shared folder you'd like to roll back
  4. If the event you're looking for did not occur in a shared folder, scan for the event where the files you want to recover were deleted, click  (ellipsis icon), and then click Restore.
  5. Scroll through the page, looking for any deletions that might relate to the missing file or folder.

Not finding your missing files? Try using the Deleted Files page.

Use the Deleted Files page:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click Deleted Files in the left sidebar.
    • If the event you're looking for occurred in a shared folder, click the All dropdown and select the shared folder you'd like to roll back
    • If the event you're looking for did not occur in a shared folder, scan for the event where the files you want to recover were deleted, click  (ellipsis icon), and then click Restore
  3. Scroll through the page, looking for any deletions that might relate to the missing file or folder.

I'm not finding my missing file using any of the methods above—what should I do?

If you're not finding any record of a moved, renamed, or deleted file, consider these other possibilities:

I'm still having trouble, and my issue isn't related to a shared folder. Take me back to the top of the article so I can start over.

My Dropbox is a mess, and I want to revert all or part of it back in time

If there are too many issues with the files in your Dropbox, you can roll your entire account, or certain shared folders, back to a specific moment. You can think of this rollback as a kind of time machine: once finished, your entire Dropbox—or a specific shared folder in it—will look exactly as it was before the issues began.

To do this, you'll need to work with a Dropbox support agent. But first, you'll save a lot of time by carefully reading the section below, and providing exactly the requested info in your support ticket.

Provide a Dropbox support agent with the needed info to perform an account rollback:

When we perform a rollback, you will have several options. You can choose to revert:

  • One shared folder
  • Multiple shared folders
  • Files that are not shared
  • Your entire Dropbox account

Whichever option you choose, performing a rollback means that your account—or the selected shared folder(s)—will be reverted to the exact state it was in prior to the deletion event. Any changes made after that point will be overwritten. It may be useful to make a copy outside of your Dropbox of any files you have recently edited so that you don't lose important changes.

Once you have made copies of any recently edited files, you'll need to get in touch with Dropbox support and provide an event link.

I'm still having trouble, and my issue isn't related to an account rollback. Take me back to the top of the article so I can start over.

My Dropbox files have been encrypted by a virus malware

If a virus or malware infects one of the devices you have connected to your Dropbox, it may also infect the files in your Dropbox. Specifically, the virus may encrypt your files, making them inaccessible. This can be scary, but we're usually able to help in these cases.

If your Dropbox files have been encrypted due to a virus or malware, your Dropbox account—and any infected shared folders—will likely need to be rolled back to a specific point in time before the encryption happened. This is the best way to fix all encrypted files. A Dropbox support agent can help with this, but you'll first need to do one very important thing:

  • Have the malware removed from your computer, so that restored files aren't encrypted again after the rollback

Once you have had your device cleaned of the virus or malware, follow these steps to assist a support agent in performing a rollback.

  • Note: Unsharing shared folders, or unlinking devices from the Dropbox desktop application, can further complicate this process. Please do not take either of these actions. If you already have, let the Dropbox support agent you're working with know.

I'm still having trouble, and my issue isn't related to a virus malware. Take me back to the top of the article so I can start over.

A bunch of old files suddenly reappeared

Though rare, occasionally old or deleted files will reappear in your Dropbox. If this is the case, we can roll back your account to the point before this event occurred, or undo the individual addition events.

I'm still having trouble, and my issue isn't related to reappearing files. Take me back to the top of the article so I can start over.

I use Dropbox on a Samsung device, and I'm seeing lots of deletions

Samsung created a deep Dropbox integration for their devices that allows access to all documents in your Dropbox account from a special DocumentSync folder on your phone. This DocumentSync feature allows you to add, edit, and delete any files that appear in this folder, and these modifications will show up both on your phone and in Dropbox.

If you use Dropbox on a Samsung device, and you see a large number of individual file deletion events, it is possible that this DocumentSync feature is the cause. While Dropbox did not build DocumentSync, we can help you restore files to your Dropbox if you encounter issues with this feature.

Restore files deleted due to DocumentSync:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Navigate to dropbox.com/events.
  3. Note the earliest date you first saw these deletions (the "beginning" date), and the last date you saw these deletions (the "ending" date).
  4. Go to the Dropbox support page, and follow this path to email us the deletion dates: File recoveryUndo a large number of changes to files and foldersUndo a large number of changes.
    • In your support ticket, please provide the "beginning" and "ending" dates of the deletions, as well as a written okay for our support agent to perform a restoration on your behalf

Disable DocumentSync:

If you continue to have trouble with DocumentSync, you can temporarily or permanently disable it. DocumentSync is different from the Dropbox application on your phone, so disabling the feature will not impact the Dropbox app performance in any way. To disable DocumentSync:

  1. Tap your device's menu button.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Cloud.
  4. Tap Documents or DocumentSync (this will vary slightly by device version).
  5. Toggle this to the Off position.

Note: You can also disable this app from dropbox.com. To do so:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Navigate to the account security page.
  3. Find your Samsung device beneath the Apps linked section.
  4. Click the X beside the name of your Samsung device.

I'm still having trouble. Take me back to the top of the article so I can start over.

A final note on restoring missing files and folders

If you have tried some or all of the above methods and still are not able to restore missing files or folders, you can try contacting us. However, please note that the vast majority of issues with missing files are explained in one of the five scenarios discussed in this article. And, as we said at the start, in each case some action is required on the part of you—the Dropbox customer—to complete the recovery. Following one of the detailed instruction sets above will save you time and get you to the best—and fastest—resolution possible.

Why did my files go missing—did Dropbox do this?

There are various reasons why files can go missing, as detailed in the troubleshooting sections above. However, it's important to note that Dropbox will not delete or remove your files on its own. Even if you go over your storage limit, nothing is deleted. In this case syncing simply stops, and will resume once you bring your account back under its storage limit.

The application monitors changes that occur in your Dropbox and syncs any edits, additions, or deletions. If a file isn't where you expect it to be, please know that Dropbox will never add, edit, move, or delete files on its own. The vast majority of the time, missing files are due to one of the following:

  • Purposeful or accidental file or folder deletions
  • Purposeful or accidental file moves or renames
  • Events on a linked computer, mobile device, or on dropbox.com
  • Events in a shared folder, or the removal of a shared folder
  • Events in a team folder
  • Events an admin of a Dropbox Business or Dropbox Enterprise team took on your behalf

That said, there are a few other causes of deleted or missing files:

  • Hard disk problems, including bad disks, or disks that are not ready when the Dropbox program runs. If Dropbox doesn't see known files when it starts, it will assume you removed them while Dropbox wasn't running.
  • Antivirus software that quarantines files. These programs can remove or block access to files.
  • Disk scanning software (for example, backup software) that locks out Dropbox and makes it appear as if files are missing.
  • Programs that modify files in your Home folder, which usually includes the Dropbox folder. Some audio and image management software programs do this.
  • Multiple linked computers with the same name. Perhaps you gave your PC to someone else to use, and they deleted some files. If this PC has the same name as your new computer, you might not realize a second PC is in the picture. If the computer is linked to your account, then you can see the last used IP address for it on your Security page.

Learn how to recover older versions of a file.

I received an email about an inactive Dropbox account—what do I need to do?

Did this article answer your question?

We’re sorry to hear that. Let us know how we can improve:

Thanks for your feedback!

Community answers

    Other ways to get help

    Community

    Twitter support

    Guided help