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Dropbox Bug Restores Long-Deleted Files to Users

Think your deleted files are gone for good? Dropbox’s recent bug proved this to be false. Dropbox was able to retrieve files that users deleted years ago.

Many of us believe that once we’ve deleted a file, it’s difficult (or even impossible) to retrieve it. Sure, we can look in the trash, but after a period of time, the file will be irretrievable from there, too. But the popular file storage website, Dropbox — a useful system that is highly recommended — shows that you’ll never know when ancient history will crop back up.

Dropbox proved that once a file is deleted — even a file that was deleted years ago, is in fact — not always lost. Instead, Dropbox users recently got a serious blast from the past when files they had deleted as long ago as 2009 returned to their Dropbox accounts.

Read More: The Benefits of Dropbox for Your Android

Certainly, the return of these files was a surprise to users. Like many other programs, Dropbox hangs onto users’ deleted files for 30 days in case users make mistakes in deleting the documents. After that, the files return to the Internet ether, never to be found again.

At first, users and Dropbox employees didn’t know what was going on. Users worried that their accounts had been hacked again, like they were in 2012. If you’ll recall, 68 million Dropbox users had their emails and passwords hacked five years ago. With these new files returned to their accounts, users worried that their information had, again, been breached.

Luckily, the retrieved files didn’t have anything to do with hacking. Dropbox hadn’t really been deleting users’ files after 30 days. Instead, a bug had been preventing the final purge of these files for nearly eight years. Astonishing, right? How is it possible for a bug to manipulate a website unnoticed for that length of time? According to a Dropbox employee who posted on the forum discussing the returned files, the company was attempting to fix the bug when they mistakenly returned the files and folders back to users’ accounts. No hackers were involved, the employee said; it was simply the company’s mistake.

Going forward, Dropbox promises to permanently remove deleted files from their server 60 days after users delete them, instead of the current 30 days. If you were affected by the Dropbox file returns, you may be excited to see some of your old files again. Nonetheless, if you had deleted files returned to you that you don’t want to keep, you should be able to delete them for good this time — they won’t be returned to you. Additionally, your quotas won’t be affected by the returned files, either.