Reminder: Dropbox Shouldn’t Be Your Sole Backup For Your Files

Reminder: Dropbox Shouldn’t Be Your Sole Backup For Your Files

It might seem like Dropbox (or other online file syncing and sharing services, like Google Drive or OneDrive), are an ideal backup solution, but a recent horror story of someone losing all their photos on Dropbox is an excellent reminder: You can’t rely on just one backup method.

Jan Curn tells his photo disaster story on Medium. After turning on “selective sync” (which is meant to keep files on Dropbox but not on your hard drive) for thousands of her photos and videos to try to save space on her computer, the Dropbox sync client crashed, so he killed the app and restarted his computer. Two months later, he discovered all of those files were permanently deleted and unrecoverable, since Dropbox only keeps files in the recycling bin for 30 days. They were the only copies of years worth of photos.

Dropbox is ideal for syncing files across systems, but because it only keeps deleted files for 30 days, it’s not ideal as a backup solution. Other online storage and syncing solutions are similar: It’s too easy to make a change in your files that permanently loses your data. You’re better off using both a file syncing tool, like Dropbox, and an online backup service, like CrashPlan (which holds on to your files even if your drive is disconnected or it’s been deleted from your system).

Practise the 3-2-1 system of backing up and you’ll (hopefully) avoid file loss tragedies like Curn sadly is facing.

How a bug in Dropbox permanently deleted my 8000 photos [Medium]


  • It horrifies me when I hear people saying they use Dropbox & Co. for backups.
    This misunderstanding of synchronization versus backups is widespread.
    Cloud storage can be great for backups if there’s software creating/storing actual backup files in there, but when it’s just synchronization, it’s dangerous.

  • I use multiple external drives as well as online backup such as dropbox. One external drive stays at my place and the other one at work or parents place. Using Dropbox as your sole backup plan is just as bad as having one hard drive to keep everything.

  • Crashplan. Deleted files hang around for as long as you want. No brainer to set up and pretty damn reliable.

    Also, cloud is not a backup.

  • I love DropBox and have used it for years both personally and in a business environment. The biggest challenge that they face is they provide a service that is easily replicated by any number of companies, including powerful ones like Google , Amazon and Microsoft. The services are a dime a dozen right now and they way I see it, there are two things that can set a company apart: 1) tight integration with multiple platforms and 2) lots of storage space. Dropbox is doing a great job on the integration front. But right now, they are getting pressure on the storage space issue. So right now I am making the switch to a product by Barracuda called Copy. They start you out with 20GB of space (more than I have on DropBox after years) and with referrals of 5GB a pop it can go up quickly from there. Check it out at

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