How to Restore Files in Dropbox

Dropbox logoMany people use Dropbox to store their files in the cloud.  It’s great for accessing your files from multiple devices.  However, it’s also good for recovering deleted or changed files.

Imagine you’re a graphic designer and store all your files on your hard drive.  Any edits you make to files are going to be permanent, because your hard drive doesn’t have an “undo” button.  Not so with Dropbox.

All files stored in Dropbox have a 30 day version history.  This means if you accidentally delete a file, or you want to undo an edit to a family photo, you can do so within 30 days.

Here’s how to do it.

How to Recover a Deleted File

  1. Login to your account on
  2. Click the Show deleted files button at the top of your account screen.
    Click the Dropbox Trash icon
  3. Find the file you want to recover, then right click and select Restore.
    Right click and select Restore
  4. Confirm you want to restore the file (or select a previous version).
    Confirm you want to recover the file
  5. Success!  The file will be automatically restored to your desktop.
    Your file has been restored

You can select multiple items to restore by using the Shift key.  Click on the first file, hold Shift, then click on the last item.  Then click Restore.  You can select nonconsecutive files by using the Ctrl key.  Click on each file individually while holding the Ctrl key to select (or deselect) them.

How to Restore a Previous Version of a File

  1. Login to your account.
  2. Right click and select Previous Versions on the file you wish to restore a previous version of.
    Right click and select Previous Versions
  3. Select the version.  You can use the timestamp and file size to help figure out which one to restore.
    Select a previous version
  4. Click Restore.  The version will be automatically restored to your desktop.

Restore from Windows File Explorer (easiest option)

  1. Right click on the file you want to recover a previous version of.
  2. Select Restore previous versions from the context menu.
    Right click the file in Windows

The web interface will launch.  Select a version, then click Restore.

Restore from Mobile App?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to restore files with the Dropbox mobile app (at least not yet).  You’ll have to log in through a web browser.

Also keep in mind that Dropbox Pro users get access to the Packrat feature for $3.99/month.  This lets you recover an infinite number of file versions from any point in time.  So if you’re constantly restoring files, it might be worth it to upgrade.

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of He enjoys attending music festivals, whitewater kayaking on the American River, and board game nights in his free time.

Geoff Akerlund