Delete files or folders in Dropbox

If you no longer need a file or folder, you can delete it from your Dropbox account. You can recover deleted files or folders up to 30 days (or 120 if you have a Professional or Business account) after a file is deleted. To make sure a file can't be recovered, you can permanently delete it.

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How to delete files or folders

To delete files or folders on dropbox.com:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click "" (ellipsis) beside the file's name.
  3. Click Delete.

To delete files or folders on the desktop app:

To remove a file from your Dropbox, drag-and-drop it somewhere out of your Dropbox folder. To delete the file, drag the file or folder to your Recycle Bin or Trash.

How to permanently delete files or folders

If you permanently delete a file, you can't recover it later. Only the owner of a shared folder, or the person who originally uploaded a file that nobody else has edited, can permanently delete a file. Any files that appear in gray were previously deleted and can still be either recovered or permanently deleted.

A note before you begin:

If you’re permanently deleting a file or folder that used to live in another location in your Dropbox, you’ll also need to permanently delete it from that previous location as well.

For example, imagine you have a file called “marketing plan_2018.” Now imagine that this file currently lives in a folder called “Marketing,” but used to live in a folder called “Strategy.” To permanently delete this file from Dropbox, you’ll need to permanently delete it from both the “Marketing” folder and the “Strategy” folder.

If you’re not sure about the previous locations of a file or folder, use the search bar on dropbox.com to find each one. Then follow the steps below to permanently delete from each location.

To permanently delete files using the file browser on dropbox.com:

  1. If you haven't already, delete the files you want to permanently delete.
  2. From the file browser, click the trash can icon to show deleted files.
  3. Once you find the file or folder you’d like to permanently delete, hover your mouse pointer over the file or folder name, and check the checkbox that appears.
  4. Click Permanently delete.
  5. Click Permanently delete in the pop up that appears.

Note: If you don’t see the option to permanently delete files, your admin may have disabled the ability to permanently delete files. Contact your team admin for help.

To permanently delete files using the deleted files page on dropbox.com:

  1. If you haven't already, delete the files you want to permanently delete.
  2. Open the Deleted files page on dropbox.com.
  3. Once you find the file or folder you’d like to permanently delete, hover your mouse pointer over the file or folder name, and check the checkbox that appears.
  4. Click Permanently delete.
  5. Click Permanently delete in the pop up that appears.

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, their files are not affected by your deletion.

How to permanently delete shared folders

To permanently delete a shared folder, use the same steps as permanently deleting files or folders

If you own the folder, permanently deleting it removes the shared folder from the Dropbox accounts of all members of the folder and their access is permanently removed. If you want to leave members with a copy of the folder, unshare it instead.

If you don’t own the folder, it is removed from your Dropbox account and you can’t access it. All other members of the folder still have access.

Note: If you’re a member of a Dropbox Business team, you can’t permanently delete team content that others have edited. Only Dropbox Business admins can permanently delete team content.

Notes about permanently deleting files

Deleted and permanently deleted files don't count against your storage quota. Permanently deleting files after they have already been deleted doesn't free any more space in your Dropbox.

For Dropbox Basic (free) and Plus users, deleted files are permanently deleted after 30 days. If you have a Dropbox Professional or Business account, files are permanently deleted after 120 days.

If you move a file, then permanently delete it, the version of that file from its previous location will appear in the deleted files page. You can then permanently delete this version.

How to clear the 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. When permanently deleting a shared folder you own, other members may still be able to access the content through their cache until it is cleared.

"Too many files to permanently delete" error

Dropbox limits the number of files you can permanently delete at one time. If you see an error that says "Too many files to permanently delete," you need to permanently delete files in smaller groups.

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