Dropbox squashes desktop client bug, offers free Pro upgrade to those who lost files

Those who rely on Dropbox to store their personal files may have lost some of their data. The service has experienced some issues regarding a bug in older versions of its available desktop apps. This bug deleted files uploaded by affected users who activated the Selective Sync feature, leading some to find they'd lost a large amount of files.

Should users shut down (or restart) the affected clients while Selective Sync was active, they would find the feature not being able to locate a portion of the files uploaded to the cloud. The good news is Dropbox has been busy working to restore files where possible and releasing updated versions of the desktop apps. Dropbox has also implemented some extra safeguards to help prevent this kind of mass deletion from occurring once again in the future.

Should you be one of the select few who have been affected by this bug, Dropbox has been reaching out to customers via email with an apology and offer for a year's worth of Dropbox Pro for free.

Let us know if you've been affected in the comments. Also, do you rely solely on cloud-based services for backing up files?

Source: Hacker News, via: Engadget

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • OneDrive all the way!
  • Same. Failed to have any major issue thus far. :-)
  • Try OneDrive on OSX, it's horrible
  • Hurray !! For once, Microsoft giving priority to windows over other OS'
  • And no client on linux
  • Ahhh, used to stacking synching folders on Ubuntu One + Skydrive + Dropbox + Box. Something weird to do when i am bored.
  • I use it on OSX, no issues at all
  • Problem is OSX! Change to Windows then! It's like some people take on iTunes; which is crap in Windows, so their solution is to get a MAC? Yeah right!
  • Even though the browser?
  • Yup ;)
  • +1520 deleted DropBox account after switching to far better 1drive
  • One drive is not like dropbox.
  • How's it different?
  •   The biggest difference for me is that OneDrive doesn't do versioning of any files outside of the Office formats. On Dropbox, every version of every file is saved for 30 days (or, since I'm a grandfathered user of their "Packrat" feature, forever). This is huge for my personal use case, where I'm often tweaking code and occasionally goof...in that case, I can just restore back to any saved version and be on my way. On OneDrive, only the most recent version of your file is saved in the cloud (excepting Office documents)...in my case, if I goofed up my project and it saved to OneDrive, I'm in for a world of hurt! I legitimately like OneDrive and it has come a LONG way in the past couple of years, but Dropbox is who'll continue getting my money for now.
  • I am annoyed with Dropbox not having a Windows Phone client, I know there are other programs out there, but its so much easier for me to have onedrive (since its loaded and logged in for me)...I am about done with dropbox...glad it works for you   btw, lifehacker says onedrive can do versioning of files.. http://lifehacker.com/how-does-the-new-onedrive-compare-to-other-cloud-s...   never tried it personally
  • Cloudmesh pro works pretty good.
  • I didn't know about the versioning with dropbox, doesn't surprise me they have always been the leader in syncing stuff between devices. Although I will say, it does appear to me when I alter files on my OneDrive, it looks to me like the old version goes to the OneDrive recycle bin. I could be wrong but I think it dies because every time I do something to a file the old copy ends up in the recycle bin.
  • I bought a raspberry pi and installed owncloud. I'm a bit too distrusting of cloud services right now so I prefer to make my own, plus I get as much storage as I want. Now if only there was a windows phone app for it. I may actually make one myself, but I kinda suck at web APIs so it'll take a while. But aside from all that, if you don't want to roll your own cloud, I do think onedrive is the way to go.
  • Except you loose the resilience that commercial cloud back ups offer. Your HDD sharts itself you loose all your data from your cloud unless of course you have a back up solution for it which in turn becomes convoluted, messy and an unnecessary expense. I think instead of focusing on building an API for your own cloud, how about an API that leverages encryption on an existing cloud. Let them pay for the hard drives, power, wordy about backing up and them all they see is encrypted blobs as your API is encrypting the data before it leaves your device :)
  • Should one really be so stupid to go (Pro) on a service, that looses ones data?
  • That's quite the observation. "Dude. Like, we fucked up. Here, have more of our service on us." I'd opt for compensation in another form.
  • Conversely one might say surely lightning doesn't strike twice and they'd have learnt from it and become better for it? Can't really call it either way, such is the nature of IT.
  • Don't they keep your data on a backup server in case of such issues.
  • Like a restaurant that offers you a free meal because you didn't like their service or quality.
  • E.Snowden said : "If you care about your privacy, AVOID dropbox".
  • OneDrive is the best
  • If you care about privacy you should avoid all cloud systems not just dropbox.
  • No sensitive data should ever be stored on cloud servers. However, I have no problem saving pictures to OneDrive and Dropbox because I don't consider my photos to be private.
  • Not quite, no sensitive data should be stored plain jane on cloud servers. If you manage the crypto (so say you have a key that you encrypt everything AES before it goes to the cloud) and store encrypted blobs in the cloud that are useless to someone even if you gave them the password than it's not all that bad. What sucks is that none of the cloud providers are encrypting user data (AFAIK). Google might be now as I see chrome encrypts all your synced stuff....but defs OneDrive, Dropbix, iCloud are all plain jane which is a bit sucky aa you have to crypto yaself first.
  • This. It's a well known fact that Microsoft actively scans any and all files uploaded to its service for "adult content," and quickly removes them if detected. While I understand Microsoft's intentions (they don't want their site becoming a pr0n sharing free for all), it nonetheless means all uploaded files are being actively scanned, and even private collections you have zero intentions of sharing are still subject to this, and therefore flagged for removal.
  • To clarify, it is not "adult content"...   The service scans INCOMING files for anything that is potentially illegal.  Since they are the hosting provider, they would be LIABLE most places in the world for allowing ILLEGAL photos to be stored.   So if you have Child Porn or other content that would be illegal in your country/region, yes it will be flagged before it is encrypted and stored.   As for Adult Content, several years ago, there was a policy that "adult content" was not allowed.  However, this policy was changed in 2011/2012. 
      (You can Bing/Google these things and when the policies changed and why they exist.) The only content that is not allowed or pulled now is 'illegal content".  
  • Not quite, I've got *homemade* videos on my one drive :) bit yes they are there unencrypted and if I share them and someone complains I will loose them no doubt.
  • If you care about privacy, live off the grid
  • Yes I too saw the video...ge says avoid, dropbox, google, and facebook if your arr really concerned with privacy.
  • it is fine, unless you are wanted or upload your naked dancing pictures!! you are good to go.
  • OneDrive is truly One of its kind. Way more organized and simpler to use
  • No, it's not. OneDrive is cheaper and integrate better with Windows Phone and Office, but it's not "more organized and simpler to use" than Dropbox.
  • One drive.. Everytime.. Everywhere..
  • Yup
  • Box is better, it has passcode on WP.
  • I really wish OneDrive offers 1TB space for lifetime to all WP users without loosing any single file. Can a man get amen on this? ;)
  • Desires can reach infinity...
    But I'm with ya
  • All I need is Awoman
  • Amen
  • Hahaha
  • OneDrive+1. Not only because of one Microsoft experience but also because of lack of support from dropbox on windows phone. Really disappointed at their attitude. Even Baidu cloud offers windows phone client
  • Bricked my Lumia 1020 few months back which successfully brought back to life by our local Nokia Care  Center. Glad that "Auto" settings for both photos+videos are on. Everything's fine on my OneDrive even ny OneNote files :)
  • I thought windows phone version arrived
  • Dropbox. iCloud. OneDrive. Fuck these... Hard drives FTW!
  • Amen to that...LMAO
  • Unless you have two local copies in your house and it burns down....if you set one up off site and no one can access it, yeah its much better
  • Good article Rich. Nothing for me to complain about today :).
    As for your final question; I would never rely solely on one backup system for reasons such as this. I am looking to invest in Office 365 (with 1TB of cloud storage) in the near future - and as such, will be looking to mirror my backup drive to OneDrive. All of my files, everywhere....and an all important backup at home for those just in case moments!
  • OneDrive dropbox apple whatever, all the same, vulnerable and targeted. They are ideally useful for remote file access and sharing but always keep important files backed up on your own physical drives, always, and keep private files on secure drives, backup always, don't get lulled into laziness and carelessness by the cloud.
  • Nothing is 100% safe in digital space. Flashdrives dvds clouds. Everything's same. All of them can be hacked and can result in loss of data.
  • Lame. Crapbox
  • I read somewhere, where a guy used unlimited storage of Facebook as backup. All that was needed for him was to make a profile with zero friends and turn everything private and only me. He even wrote a code to automatic sync his computer hard drive files to Facebook, the only downside was the photos were compressed and thus were stored in lower resolution. Speak of jugaad, this guy defined it.
  • Doable but only good for pics and vids and as you say the compression trade off, not to mention the copyright scans on videos etc.....just too much hoohah....its like unlimited off milk for life.....no thanks. I reckon you'd be better of creating something that spanned data across multiple cloud providers, so keep a local index file that defines which parts of what file are on what cloud provider. Might not be unlimited but given the number of cloud storgae providers could be a big number.
  • So, your not placing all your eggs in one basket, instead on several but what if one of them is like dropbox :/ Anyway, good idea, will try it out.
  • Yea that is true, depending on how you spread your content determines how you spread the risk. If you're breaking up the files and storing different bits on different providers then yea even if one provider only has a problem you may loose a piece of every file ao may corrupt all your data I suppose. But in the flipside, storing whole files sporadically /randomly over a variety of providers means if one provider goes down you loose only a portion of your data. I guess the best would be to in essence create a mirrored raid spanning multiple providers. You couldn't really go wrong then! So create a client that simultaneously uploads to Google drive AND OneDrive for example. That would be neat!
  • How would you know if you were affected? Did the selective sync delete the files from each of the computers the account was synced to? What are the specific details of the "bug's" issue. I'll do my research elsewhere but this article and string of comments seems to be missing the important details?
    Best Wishes
  • OneDrive
  • Yeah after getting 30GB for free I'm going nowhere else. ^_^
  • I  was one of those affected and I haven't been notified. :(
  • First of all this is why i was so skeptic about cloud service thing. This is why i loved Windows mobile so much, I liked everything stored on my SD card and if i lose files it will be my fault, not some service. But then Windows Phone 7 came along and SkyDrive with it. Yes I was still skeptic but i said to myself "Let's give it a try". Today I own a WP8 device and 30GB of OneDrive (yeah i know some have more, lol), but i am still not 100% convinced in this cloud service, but i am getting there. But seeing all those fails with iCloud, now with DropBox, my love for OneDrive just getting bigger and I am more and more convinced that OneDrive is the way to go.  About DropBox giving this DropBox Pro package for the affected users is stupid cuz it's just for 1 year. It should be free for life for those affected users, just sayin'. :)
  • Yea defs, free for one year is about as good as getting slapped in the face with a wet fish. After that year then what.....ya stuck with a full bix you can't add too or whatever......it's just a neat way fir them to entrap customers really. If it were a genuine offering it would be lifetime I agree.
  • Haven't used Dropbox since Microsoft made the 25GB promotion ... Funny, been thinking about deleting my dropbox account,
  • The only reason I use dropbox (5GB) is for 1Password. The rest is Onedrive all the way.
  • OneDrive is really good....but I remember when it wasn't. I remember that live mesh thing or whatever it was. There was no syncing or whatever, it was basically just upload little files to some dumb storage. Dropbox was way ahead of the game when it came to cloud syncing across devices. I personally used Dropbox (think they gave me 2 gb for free back then) untill eventually SkyDrive caught up with a Sync client in Windows 7 I believe it was. Now OneDrive eclipses Dropbox and owning a WP, an Xbox One etc it is a no brainer. My only gripes are:
    * Desktop syncing client is soooooo effing slow!!!!
    * No user controllable encryption. Like for goodness sake just take googles lead and have a seperate "syncing" password which creates the encryption key to crypto all ya stuffs. So you have your normal password for your Auth stuff....then you have your Syncing password which is used to crypto your stuff. This is what google chrome does and this is what needs to happen across the cloud, all vendors not just OneDrive :)
  • Can totes put a truecrypt container on OneDrive, mount it as a drive on your machine and it will sync seamlessly p.s. :) much to the NSA's dismay of course....hence why Truecrypt as a project is no more.
  • Drop box is still good.....onedrive failed to upload my 100 files in one time....
  • Dropbox may drop but OneDrive will not...
  • With all the issues Azure has been having I wouldn't be so sure of that :p
  • Edward Snowden said avoid dropbox,google,facebook
  • Dropbox must hire some pretty horrible programmers... or have awful QA... between this and the now countless security issues they've had, I'm much less than impressed.  I certainly wouldn't trust them with important data.