What happens when I delete a file from my Dropbox account?

When you delete a file from Dropbox, it's no longer visible in any of the folders you see in your account. However, the file isn’t deleted until after your recovery window:

  • Dropbox Basic, Plus, and Family accounts can recover deleted files for 30 days
  • Dropbox Professional and team accounts can recover deleted files for 180 days

After this recovery window, all files will be deleted within 90 days in the normal course of operations. It may take several additional days to complete depending on the number of files selected for deletion.

Note: Files may be deleted before the end of your recovery window if they are part of a data disposition policy.

Not using Dropbox yet? See how Dropbox makes file recovery and history easy.

What happens when I permanently delete a file or folder?

When you permanently delete a file or folder, it’s no longer visible in any of your folders and you won’t be able to recover it. 

What happens when I delete a shared folder?

If you delete a file from a shared folder, any member of the folder can restore the file.

If you own the shared folder:

  • After you permanently delete it, the folder is deleted from the Dropbox accounts of all members and their access is permanently removed
  • If you want to leave members with a copy of the folder, you can just unshare it instead

If you don’t own the shared folder:

  • Permanently deleting it removes the folder from your Dropbox account
  • All other members of the folder still have access

Data destruction mechanisms

Dropbox uses a secure deletion process to delete data from our servers. Additionally, when a Dropbox storage disk has reached the end of its useful life or is damaged, we follow a decommissioning process that is designed to physically or logically destroy the disk to the point data cannot be recovered. Our third-party service providers also follow secure protection processes for media they control.

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