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

Updated Mar 14, 2024

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 Standard accounts can recover deleted files for 180 days.
  • Team Advanced and Enterprise accounts can recover deleted files for 365 days.
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Important: Standard file recovery periods and options don’t apply to files deleted directly from the Send and track feature. Deleting a file from Send and track is permanent, and any associated metadata or data analytics can’t be recovered once the file is deleted.

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 the deletion depending on the number of files selected for deletion.
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Note: Files may be deleted before the end of your recovery window if they are part of a data disposition policy.

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 can't recover it. 

What happens when I delete a shared folder?

When 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 can't be recovered. Our third-party service providers also follow secure protection processes for media they control.

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

What happens when I delete a Send and track file?

Deleting file copies in Send and track is permanent. Any metadata and data analytics associated with that file can’t be recovered, even if the source file is left intact. Deleting a file in Send and track won’t affect the source files in your Dropbox account, local drive, OneDrive, Google Drive, or the “Send and track” folder. 
Deleting file copies from the “Send and track” folder automatically removes the file stored in Send and track, along with any associated metadata and analytics. Restoring the file copy restores the Send and track file and its data. 

Files located in the “Send and track” folder take up storage space and count towards your storage limit.
Deleting the original file from your Dropbox account automatically removes it, and any associated metadata and analytics, from Send and track as well. Restoring the original file restores the Send and track file and its data.
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