Why Dropbox Sucks! … and Lessons for SharePoint

If you’ve never heard of Dropbox, it’s an online storage facility for you to do backups and share docs with multiple devices and users.

One that deletes your files at random and then tries to tell you it’s your fault.

You get an icon on your desktop that tells you the activity on Dropbox, and last week I got about 20 pop ups in the space of a few minutes telling me that thousands of files were successfully deleted.  After I just spent 4 days uploading 15GB of data!  Needless to say, I dropped what I was doing to see what was going on as I was not deleting any files.  I checked all the users connected to my account, none of them had rights, nor had were they signed on in that time frame.  I tried to click anything to stop the deletion, but there is no such facility.

There is very conveniently, no email address to contact any Dropbox staff, you have to fill in an online form and they will get back to you.  “Don’t call us, we’ll call you type of thing”.  I frantically tried to get hold of them, but no call was forthcoming.  I started to trawl through my data to try and figure out what was being deleted.  It doesn’t tell you what’s being deleted or from where, only that “files” were deleted.  Have you tried to figure out at the drop of a hat what mission critical data is gone?

All the financials were still there as far as I could tell, and the user manuals, training material and schedules I spent years putting together.  And then last night, I went to my folder with my paid for images that I use for presentations when speaking at conferences.  The 800 high-res images that I spent thousands of Rands on over a year, were all gone. All of them.  I just went cold.

And so I contacted Dropbox again, but this time I also tweeted and wrote all over their Facebook wall.  Then I got a reply, a lovely generic thing that basically treats you like a 5 year old and tells you it’s your error.  Well dear Dropbox, it’s not my error, and I am not alone in my plight judging by what people say on your Facebook comments.  I guess then it was strategic that they don’t allow people to write on their wall, you can only comment on things they post.  They never reply to people’s comments either. Nice.

In the interim, I’ve managed to find the deleted files on Dropbox using advanced search, (mostly jpg’s funnily enough), and have started restoring them which is taking hours and hours. Found all my paid for images, but also found the images I used to prepare my annual MVP report, commissioned artwork, corporate identity files, and screenshots of site usage reports over years.  All deleted without my permission or knowledge. The search continues for what else is missing.

A twist comes in now though, in that once you move your documents out of Dropbox and back to your C-drive, it shows the files as deleted.  So now I have to figure out what was deleted randomly, and what was moved manually myself last night.  How long do you think it will take me to compare 15GB of data?  Thanks for nothing Dropbox.

I used to be a big fan of Dropbox, but the second I upgraded and forked out money, my data started getting deleted – now I won’t go near them with a 10 foot pole!

What’s the lesson here for SharePoint?  It is absolutely vital that your infrastructure is healthy, stable, secure and has backups and DR that have been tested!  If you are an IT Pro, and your SharePoint environment crashes and loses data randomly, are you going to be the one to try and explain it to business?  And then try and blame them in the process?  Do you think they’ll ever use SharePoint again if that happens?

So again I’m going to ask the question – how are you managing, governing and communicating SharePoint?  Are you being a Dropbox?

Perception can be a terrible thing.  If people perceive a product to be unstable in some way, right or wrong, they won’t use it.  There is no amount of money or motivation on earth that will ever convince me to use Dropbox ever again.  I don’t trust it, I don’t trust them, I don’t like their response, and they clearly do not care about their customers or their customers’ data.

And word gets round.  On Twitter I reached almost 7000 people in the space of a minute or two; there’s hundreds of thousands of people on their Facebook fan page that can read comments; and I’ll reach around 6000 people with my blog this month. It might not sound like a lot in the bigger scheme of things, but you know how fast bad news travels. If a business user has a perception that SharePoint is unstable, word will spread like wildfire and it will take you years to turn that tide around.

SharePoint, like Dropbox, is used mostly as a document repository.  It is one of the primary purposes of these tools – you are expected to have a 100% stable and secure environment.  What would be the point otherwise?

Epic fail Dropbox!  I want my money back!

PS : If you’re wondering why my stuff wasn’t in SharePoint in the first place, it’s because I can’t find a hosted solution that’s cost effective enough for 15GB of data, they all have too little space in the packages. Right now it’s distributed over a few sites with a maximum size limit of 3GB, not ideal, that’s why I thought Dropbox would be a good interim solution.  I’m still a small business so don’t need internal servers yet.  I’m busy moving to Office 365 which I hope will solve this issue.

86 responses to “Why Dropbox Sucks! … and Lessons for SharePoint”

  1. Kieran McKernan Avatar
    Kieran McKernan

    Am with you on this matter Veronique.Dropbox is an overrated repository.And to add to this paid up client’s annoyance it is faceless uncontactable company.I would not call Dropbox an organisation for it is far from being well organised except maybe in collecting money.Photo time sequence filled with errors.Pictues are placed in years when I did not possess a camera.Sadly,loved persons who have died are as living in years well past their funeral date!


  2. newbie123site Avatar

    I am a brand new user and hate it so much that I managed to get here by googling ” I hate dropbox.” Nuff said. I’ve watched my files hang and crash for two days and take seven hours to upload seven gigs of data (1/3 of total needed to upload). Now it won’t connect at all. People pay for this crap? It’s so bad that I finally dumped all my files to DVDs to mail to the person waiting. And I”m still waiting to connect. Probably not happening anytime soon.


  3. Rob Aldridge Avatar
    Rob Aldridge

    Thanks for the comment, it was great. I have 70 gigs of photos I need to transfer. Dropbox now has some strange, to me, format and won’t take information. One drive transfers about one third of the files for no apparent reason. I was going to try Google but have decided to buy a thumb drive and do it like a normal human being and not how the idiot savants in the software business want me to do it…I’m not a luddite, I’ve been fixing files, removing virus from people’s computers, changing files in games for kids etc for 2t yrs but I am so sick of having to, basically, relearn another app that is only slightly more functional (but usually worse) but is almost completely differant for no reason other than its fun for geek nerds that enjoy the minutia of coding and twerking what should be left alone. Anyway that was a great piece and I’m sorry it lost your files, it was a clincher for me though, I’m going to remove all three sync programs from my computer.


  4. Scott weaver Avatar
    Scott weaver

    Dropbox sucks it keeps magically deleting all of my crap off all of my stuff


  5. Andy Smart Avatar

    Tiny 2GB space and its sooooooooooooooooooooooooo sloooooooooooooooooooow AAAAAAGH! Cheers for the post. At least its not just me ranting 🙂


  6. Jay Avatar

    TWO reasons I hate Dropbox, it is one of the least intuitive programs I’ve ever seen, and when you have a problem, customer support is non-existent. Just hate them.


  7. Troy von Tussle Avatar
    Troy von Tussle

    I hate Drop Box and the lame and meek attitude with which everybody seems to go for it without any criticism.
    I too hate DB, for the simple reasons that it is NOT STRAIGHTFORWARD, NOT INTUITIVE, NOT USER-FRIENDLY, it takes away your sole autonomy over your devices and content. And, at the end of the day, after painstaking retrieval, you have to close down your account anyway, since it does all sorts of things, but none of them are of any use to you. Also, the thing that irritates me no end, and I am sprt of back to the beginning of my rant:

    Everybody incorporates it. When I am on my Mac, or my iPhone or iPad, I can, apparently, but not for real and only in the fantasy-land of Drop-Box and Apple, manage my files as and when and how I want. But, it is JUST NOT POSSIBLE. It does NOT do what you want it to do. It is NOT FLEXIBLE. It is NOT USEFULL or HELPFULL and, it causes you a lot of stress.

    Now, I do not use any cloudbased anything for permanent storage, and, for the transferring of large items, I use WE TRANSFER. Which is uncomplicated. As for storage, the good “old fashioned” HD will do nicely for me. And this way, I remain the sole executor of my content. DB is a fallacy, a waste of time, a waste of money, if you were dumb enough to buy their facilities in the first place, and, they are a pain in my big fat a**hole. The world is better off without them.


  8. Deez Avatar

    ITT endless user error


  9. Dana Avatar

    Horrible interface. Poorly designed all around. Don’t know why anyone likes DB.


  10. Liad Avatar

    I must say that I am also HIGHLY disappointed by dropbox and its service. Since I upgraded my account I encountered difficulties, received erroneous instructions from the support team that led to loss of valuable files, and was not properly and promptly treated after this mistake has been discovered. I lost over 40 hours of work due to dropbox’s mistake, got no compensation, and – to my great amazement – was not allowed to leave the service and get my money back. Who would have thought that a company that big would treat its users so badly. I sadly recommend all of you to look for other solutions…


  11. Afordable website hosting with cPanel Avatar

    Thanks for finally talking about >Why Dropbox Sucks! and Lessons for SharePoint | Views from Veronique <Loved it!


  12. Emily Kulish Avatar

    Dropbox’s folder sync is inherently not safe. It is convenient for remote access, but it does not have protection built-in, esp. when you have multiple people accessing to a shared folder. For business level protection, you need online backup service, dependent on whether you use your local drive as the main copy of your data, or use the cloud copy as the main copy. If you mainly use cloud-based storage, then you need Cloud-to-cloud backup:


    SharePoint is for business, but it is too complex and the cost is too high.

    Check out DriveHQ’s Cloud IT service, which has a very broad range of business features, including the WebDAV Drive Mapping feature for a price that is 10 times lower than Dropbox’s.


  13. bee Avatar

    Synching computer A. Appeared finished. Not many files needed updated. Then turn on computer B to synch. 80% of files starting deleting on computer B and Dropbox server. Why? Many of these files hadn’t been touched for a while. None of these files are shared with others. Computer A then starts re-synching, i.e. seeing that files are deleted and then deletes them locally. Logged out of Dropbox to stop this disaster. It appears that in the process of synching computer A, whatever keeps track of the file structure had not rebuilt itself. Anybody have this happen?


  14. NicS. Avatar

    Ive been trying CrashPlan and SharePlan from Code42. So smooth and nice, hope SharePlan get a public approach soon and not only for corporates and enterprises.


  15. recon77john Avatar

    My problem has been the opposite. I try to delete files from dropbox and they always reappear thus maxining out my dropbox.


  16. David Avatar

    You cannot delete files in Dropbox to make more space! I even contacted their alleged support and they were of NO help! All I receive is “You need to purchase more space”! DB should stand for Dung Box!!! I an deleting DungBox completely from my system!


  17. shilpa Avatar

    Nice writeup. i was always wondering where is my files vanishing and stopped using dropbox for saving my files.


  18. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Any time. I’m sure you’ll have better luck with SharePoint.


  19. Shirley Schmidt Avatar
    Shirley Schmidt

    I have always got good reviews about Dropbox and this is like a shocker. Anyway I am not a dropbox user and have signed up for a free SharePoint hosting solution recently with cloudappsportal.com to explore the SharePoint features more. In short, trying to play safe before plunging into anything big. Thanks for this article. It is an eye opener.


  20. Andrew S. Baker (ASB) Avatar
    Andrew S. Baker (ASB)

    Just remember that if you are sharing files with others, then *they* can delete those files, too. So, make sure you take extra precautions when sharing files with multiple users.

    Cloud storage is very flexible, but the more hands in the pot, the more potential chaos…

    I use cloud storage as primary fir done functions, and as backup for other functions, but either way, I have two copies of all the data I use…


  21. Ricardo Camps Avatar

    Hi Mike Koleszar,

    You are right about making this sync, I guess I will manage something like this here for some of my files. The problem is that with an external hard drive I just cant share it and work with others on the same folders. I used this cloud storage in order to share files and work together.

    My OS is Mac. There might be several options for backups, but I would need something with sharing.



  22. Mike Koleszar Avatar
    Mike Koleszar

    ricardocamps, I would not trust cloud backup software to touch your original data. For about $50, you can buy an inexpensive portable hard drive to sync data to. Then, you can use Dropbox to sync off of that data. If files get deleted, they are copies, so no harm is done. I’m not sure what OS you are using, but on Windows you can use a combination of SyncToy and the task scheduler.


  23. ricardocamps Avatar

    I Had the same Issue as You got here on dropbox. I got it TWICE. In different macs.
    It really sucks to have found that the files were deleted. At least I checked it. If I had not seen on time I might have lost all those files.

    Dropbox deletes at RANDOM.. This sucks.

    Anyone found a any solution to solve this problem? Or why does ti happens so?


  24. Mike Koleszar Avatar
    Mike Koleszar

    Horror stories like this reinforce the need to use caution with cloud file storage solutions. A safe bet is to sync your data to a second hard drive and then sync the data on the second drive to your cloud storage provider. Let the cloud service touch a copy of your data, not the original data. Using this approach I have not had any problems with Dropbox.


  25. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    I really don’t know babe, sorry to hear it.


  26. Luiza Avatar

    All my files disappeared last Monday. The history in Dropbox shows they were deleted by me (?) at same time (??).
    Question: How could I delete hundreds of files in different folders at exactly ame time???
    I think I have turned The Flash…


  27. Bob C Avatar
    Bob C

    I hate that it automatically begins sucking every last photo from the iphone as soon as it’s connected to my home computer like a giant leech that can’t be stopped, freezing up my computer’s processing speed to zero


  28. ricohflex Avatar

    If the data (images) are so important to you, it was a deadly mistake to trust ANY online storage to keep them.
    I don’t understand. Portable 2TB hard drives are so cheap nowadays.
    Why pay a company like Dropbox money EVERY month to store them? It does not make sense.

    I installed Dropbox out of curiosity. Then I realised Dropbox gave me only 2GB free. So stingy.
    I immediately uninstalled Dropbox. Just like you, I do not like Dropbox.

    I use Google Drive, Microsoft’s Skydrive and MyFiles-Shared.com.
    And a few very high capacity portable hard drives.


  29. Felicity Weight Avatar
    Felicity Weight

    I stupidly decided to use Dropbox so that I could access my documents from my phone, laptop and tablet.
    The instructions say to drag and drop onto the dropbox. I did that. It said…”moving files”. I only wanted to copy them. So I pressed cancel.
    As a result, all of my personal documents/photos/videos etc as well as my work stuff is not in the original location and I only have a bunch of empty folders in drop box.
    The technician at work has recovered some files onto an external hard drive. I now have 16434 files with scrambled names and have to sort through to see if I can find anything of value. So far, about 99% of the files I have looked at are corrupted and will not open.
    IT IS JUNK. There is no way to contact them except online help requests. I have done this twice and have had no response.
    As if my personal photos and special things mean anything to them!!!! They have their money!!!!!


  30. DropboxNightmare Avatar

    I am SO GLAD to hear that others HATE DROPBOX like me…My experience with dropbox has been a NIGHTMARE. I lost HUNDREDS of incredibly important documents, images, and files. I know for an ABSOLUTE FACT that I NEVER deleted them myself.

    Here’s what the AMAZINGLY patronizing and condescending FAQ says to the question, “Why did Dropbox delete my files?” :: “The short, but honest, answer is “mistakes happen.” Whether it was an accidental click of the mouse, a move instead of a copy, or just an unfamiliarity with how Dropbox works, the most common reason is that people accidentally remove files from the own Dropbox folder.”

    I JUST LOVE THIS! It’s all my fault, huh, Dropbox?? I understand that there might be some fixes, but really — as Veronique mentions, who the hell has time to sit around for hours mopping up nightmarish problems in the Dropbox system?! Seriously? And you want me to pay for it, too? I also noticed that DB offers a service called “Packrat” for restoring files that were lost beyond the 30 day limit……HUH?! You delete my files randomly, then make me PAY to restore them?!

    And then “Bryan” below says, “Been using Dropbox for over years now and never had any issues like you described. One bad experience shouldn’t warrant bad mouthing their service especially when they are known for their great service.”

    OK, let me get this straight: you are *defending* Dropbox?? RIght. Did you read all of the posts here about the horrible experiences that people have had with DB and you say, “they are known for their great service?!”

    HUH?! Who says they have “great service” Bryan? Dropbox?!

    I just cannot leave Dropbox fast enough. Seriously. Good riddance. Forever…..


  31. Sean Avatar

    Also Dropbox does not list file size. Annoying oversight.


  32. Sean Avatar

    I don’t understand why my clients always want to use Dropbox. It has a lot of design flaws and with so many other options it’s odd that they are still in business.


  33. Peter Wolf Avatar

    Dropbox sucks BIG TIME. My friend payed for the dropbox (10G) and invited me as /guest/editor, so I could upload, download and alter content on the supposed “shared cloud storage/10G”…but once installed it created a 10 G folder on my HDD…WT??? If this is the case then what is the point of an online cloud storage possibility?? And then the most idiotic of all…I had to PAY as well for 10G storage!! The so called dropbox customer service did not know anything of their own stupid service. They kept driveling about “it does not work this way because we do not want people to create unlimited free accounts , blah blah blah”….

    Pogoplug f.e. is making sense; you buy online storage space, let’s say 10G, invite anyone so those “anyone” can upload, download, alter ANYTHING from the 10G online storage device of the person that invited them. Should the online storage be empty , then f.e. 10 persons could up0load 1G of data to the online storage drive of the person that invited these same10 people.
    Dropbox does not make this possible…..I could NOT upload anythingh because “my storage capacity had been exceeded from my free account(?) WT? I was invited by my friend so why do I (!!!??) have to pay as well for 10G’s???

    Goodbye Dropbox!!


  34. Daniel Kuttner Avatar

    You can have your own “cloud” server drive. A 3TB WD drive costs $180 at Best buy. It hooks to your Ethernet input on your router and looks like a node on your network. You can access it remotely, give it password protection for various users to connect independently of one another, and access it from a phone or pad device. It’s kind of slow to load files on, but after that, so far, it’s been fine for me (1 week).

    Mine is called the WD Mybook Live. Others make similar products.


  35. George O'Donnell Avatar

    You do realize drop box is a syncing service right? That means if you move files out of dropbox folder to somewhere else on your computer it is SUPPOSED to delete those files from your online storage area. I don’t know what could have happened to your photos but I would not be surprised if it was related to you moving files about without really knowing how dropbox works.


  36. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Yep, everyone knows that, but seldom does that.


  37. Vince Avatar

    It’sa too bad, you should always have a backup to a backup I. E portable hard drive… Don’t depend on anything/anyone today, they don’t care about you, just money..


  38. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Yes you do have a point – but the problem by doing as you suggested means there will be zero collaboration going on for small businesses who can’t afford servers yet. Catch-22 the whole way. But I do think you’re right….


  39. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Thanks Andrew.


  40. Andrew S. Baker Avatar

    If you use cloud storage (and there are good reasons to consider it for many use cases), then just be sure to manage your own encryption outside of the cloud storage provider, or use a storage provider that facilitates encryption that is completely customer managed (like SpiderOak).

    Products like BoxCryptor and nCryptCloud give you the ability to encrypt your data before it gets to the cloud, so that the privacy policy of the cloud provider has far less of an impact on your actual privacy.

    -ASB: http://XeeMe.com/AndrewBaker


  41. matt Avatar


    With that being said, I will chime in that I used to use DropBox, over a year ago, and when they changed their privacy agreement back then that basically said, “We have the ability to view ANY file you save on our cloud if we feel that we need to.” and “We will gladly turn over your files to anyone in law enforcement or a government agency that simply asks for them.” At that point, I came to the stark realization that only *I* am able to make sure that my files are truly private, and only *I* have my own best interest at heart to fight any rogue government agency that feels my files are of interest to them. I realize that the younger generations think that ‘the cloud’ is all great and cool and convenient, but at what cost? With identity theft on a sharp rise and government agencies increasingly over-stepping their bounds to confiscate anything they want to have a peek at, the ONLY way to protect your files is NOT to use any cloud service and just invest some money in ultra-small and ultra-portable hard drives, even some of the newest 1TB USB flash drives that fit in the inner palm of your hand. Cloud storage = you’re just asking for trouble.


  42. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Thankfully yes! So sorry to hear of your experience. Why can’t they just fix it. Seriously.


  43. Mark Avatar

    Same thing has happened to me. All files in all my folders have been deleted. No idea why or how. very difficult to get a response/support. Very painful lesson learnt, which I share with everyone – Don’t use Dropbox. There are plenty of other ways of safely storing and sharing files in the cloud.


  44. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Your blog is more about the privacy of your content on Dropbox, but it does add to the argument that one would be wise to have a plan B for your stuff stored there.


  45. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Hehehe, we can only hope!! Cos sometimes it feels like we’re half way there! 🙂


  46. Barbara Meyer Avatar
    Barbara Meyer

    Man you are so right; I’ve searched for stuff in a variety of softwares. That’s why I think SkyNet from Terminator will never take over the world – too many glitches – too many human errors.

    On Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 9:57 AM, Views from Veronique wrote:

    > ** > Veronique Palmer commented: “Lol, and that’s the trick isn’t it – > finding them!! ;-))”


  47. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Lol, and that’s the trick isn’t it – finding them!! ;-))


  48. Barbara Meyer Avatar
    Barbara Meyer

    Yes, I found that out the hard way. Microsoft should have backup capabilities built right in (if you can find them)


  49. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    That’s a good idea – just don’t know how on earth we’ll be able to get that right using Office 365. I’ll have to do some research. Better safe than sorry!


  50. Barb Meyer Avatar

    Dwang being the key word here. At my former job we had data backup every night on external disk drives. You just had to remember to change the drive every night. No problemo. It was automatic. I think that’s really a good local way to handle the Cloud situation, because as everyone knows cumulus nimbus can change to ugly in less than a heartbeat.


  51. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Yes quite right. But have you tried to give feedback to these mega-platforms? They don’t care about our feedback. We’re products, not customers, according to Mark Zuckerberg. 😦 I’m glad they’re sorting out your stuff at least. And absolutely, just trusting online storage may not be smart! But what a mission to try maintain on and offline. That’s what I got online for in the first place. But again as you said, one decent storm and we’re buggered. I moved all my stuff to Office 365, so if Microsoft’s data centres tank, I’m totally in the dwang.


  52. Barbara Meyer Avatar
    Barbara Meyer

    DropBox guys finally got the stuff reloading; but it’s not a short process or really reliable. I always used to say to my boss that when you send stuff to the Cloud, you just don’t know where it really is or what’s happening to it. I think localized data backup is really smart in addition to online presence. Look at all of the poor folks in New York including our website provider. Their data centers are now under water. So about the DropBox fiasco, I’m lately thinking that if a person makes a large mistake, and others make the same mistake, maybe it’s not the people who are wrong, but the system or process that is wrong. In this case DropBox needs to reconsider locking the delete factor if they reside on your desktop – so that you can delete single files if you choose, but not all of your files, something like that.


  53. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Oh my hat Barb! What an awful story. I hope you’ve managed to get some stuff back hun. What a nightmare.


  54. Barb Meyer Avatar

    I deleted my desktop files last Friday, (we’re a MAC office), and somehow, all of my 9,000 files in DropBox also went. I emailed them 3 times to set the data back to Friday, and I still haven’t heard a thing. My boss won’t be happy, even though the files are still there, getting them one by one will take a really long time. I don’t like sending stuff to their Cloud, because you never know.


  55. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    I couldn’t agree with you more Lori….


  56. Lori Watts Avatar

    This happened to me, too! Luckily I had back ups on one computer, but what’s the point of Dropbox if you can’t count on the files being there?


  57. Brian Avatar

    I’m curious to know if you ever figured out how the files became deleted?


  58. Veronique Palmer Avatar

    Yeah it’s not great hey. You could maybe try Skydrive?


  59. Dana Avatar

    I have had nothing but problems with Dropbox. It is anything but intuitive. And just want to occasionally transfer files.


  60. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Thanks Eugene, I’m definitely going to check those out!


  61. Eugene Rosenfeld (@erosen03) Avatar

    That’s terrible. Few things are more frustrating when basic computing services like file management don’t go awry. If you don’t use SharePoint due to cost, you should check out my write-up on how hosting SharePoint yourself can be cheaper than cloud-hosted SharePoint:

    It’s based on a previous post I did showing how you can implement SharePoint for under $1,100 ($1,500 for better disaster recovery):

    Good luck with your files.


  62. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Yes, you’re right! That’s just as much of an issue, you have to delete the whole folder! Stupid. And what a pain in the butt to try and recover your stuff right? NOT an easy task in Dropbox. I promise you I feel your pain.

    I’ve moved on to Office 365 now. I am really hoping against hope that Microsoft’s service is more secure and reliable. It’s not quite as easy to add people though, but it does do a 100 times more tricks than Dropbox! 🙂 It’s very handy for geographically dispersed teams though – but it will require training for those not used to it. Still, I’ve got more than enough space and tons of options, so I’m happy to live with the downsides for now.

    Busy managing my small business via this. It takes a long time to get right!


  63. William Avatar

    I have had similar issues. My issue is that Dropbox allows you to “share” folders….but then you cant kick people out. Its anything but intuitive. Just had 151 items deleted by a “user” who I could not kick out. He did it (not maliciously) ….but to “free” space up on his Dropbox?

    I own several businesses. Its common for leadership to focus on the dollars….instead of making the product incrementally better.

    I am now in the process of recovering my files….and finding another solution. I will never recommend Dropbox …..but you can bet I will WARN people “of” Dropbox.

    Dropbox Report Card = F


  64. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Hi Phillip,

    I don’t have 2 servers no – just stuff on my c:drive and my external hard-drive.

    I have gone the Office 365 route and hoping to Heaven that Microsoft’s service is solid.



  65. Phillip Avatar

    Sorry about your DropBox experience. The only thing I would use DropBox for is to share non-critical files in a collaborative repository. Anything that needs to be actually backed up should be backed up in two geo-diverse locations. I noticed that you talked about internal servers, I would generally consider that a bad idea unless you also had servers in another area that those servers were backing up to. What happens when your building catches fire? So much for your backups. You can also do this incredibly frugally–easily under $100/mo for two cheap dedicated servers in two different data centers. Rsync with FTP or some kind of repository software will get you a long ways. Good luck in your search, DIY DropBox solutions are safer and much more satisfying to employ.


  66. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Hi Andrew,

    It’s great that you’ve had zero incident. I wasn’t so fortunate. I have gone the Office 365 route now, I’m hoping Microsoft’s servers will be more reliable.

    Thanks for the feedback on your good experience, it will help with people trying to decide I’m sure.



  67. Andrew S. Baker Avatar

    I’ve been a happy DropBox user for years now (up to 18GB of free space) and have never experienced anything like this. Well, almost never. I have 4 machines synch’d up with DropBox and one day some files were missing. I couldn’t figure out why, until I discovered that the AV software on one of the machines did not like a couple of my executables across zipped files, and proceeded to delete them.

    I was able to catch it within the 30 day window so that I could recover from the DropBox archive. I also backup my DropBox files outside of the DropBox tree, although I’ve never had to rely on this for anything so far.

    Finally, for file/folder comparisons, nothing beats “Beyond Compare”. Must have utility.

    None of this is to suggest that your issue wasn’t real, but I’ve been happy with them. You could check out SkyDrive or Box.com for more storage options. In any event, always back it up somewhere else. In that regard, I second the recommendations of Stuart.


  68. […] Obviously there are caveats to this recommendation of DropBox.  The firm’s recent introduction of DropBox for Teams notwithstanding, it is still very much geared toward the individual user and small businesses.  Enterprise customers will more likely need a more robust solution such as industry standard Microsoft SharePoint, or the recent cloud-based entrant Box.  And, as with any other wildly successful product, DropBox is not without its share of detractors. […]


  69. […] Obviously there are caveats to this recommendation of DropBox.  The firm’s recent introduction of DropBox for Teams notwithstanding, it is still very much geared toward the individual user and small businesses.  Enterprise customers will more likely need a more robust solution such as industry standard Microsoft SharePoint, or the recent cloud-based entrant Box.  And, as with any other wildly successful product, DropBox is not without its share of detractors. […]


  70. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Memburn :

    4. Your data, your apps. Complete control, complete privacy
    Only a credulous fool trusts their data to the cloud absolutely. The cloud is safe. But not 100% safe. Just ask the many who have suddenly discovered everything they had stored in their Drop Box, or MobileMe, or a host of other services when things just…vanished.



  71. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for your lovely sentiments. You obviously understand exactly what I was trying to convey – and I’m glad your data has been safe thus far. Yes you are most welcome to use this story anytime.

    As you can imagine, I’ve had to spend hours comparing my external hard drive backup, with what’s on my C drive now, vs what’s on Dropbox. It’s an insurmountable task. And as is the problem when data goes missing, you don’t realise it until you actually need that one document – and by then it’s too late. Who’s to decide whose data is more important, and that’s it’s ok to just delete random stuff right?

    Very frustrating, especially when you just cannot spare the hours and hours it will take to sort it out, and I only have about 2 weeks before the stuff is permanently deleted from Dropbox. Aaargh.



  72. Sean McDonough Avatar
    Sean McDonough


    First off, I’m *very* sorry to hear about the mess that’s been created and dumped in your lap. Like you, I upgraded to a Pro version of Dropbox after using the free version (quite successfully) for several months. I’m thankful that I’ve not run into any of the deleted file issues that you have, but your story is certainly a cautionary tale that’s going to have me paying attention to shared folders more often.
    I regularly write about and speak on SharePoint disaster recovery; if you don’t mind, I’d like to share your tale with folks in future presentations. As you might imagine, the infamous “Cloud” gets a lot of attention (rightfully so) when discussing DR, and it certainly can simplify and address many different conventional DR concerns. As I’m quick to caution people, though, it’s not a magic bullet that makes all problems go away; in fact, it creates a couple of new ones. Your story illustrates that point quite nicely.
    Thanks for sharing your story, and I truly hope that recovery of your files proceeds as quickly as it can 😦


  73. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Bryan I’m pleased you haven’t had any problems, but that hasn’t been my experience. We don’t know how many other people have had the same problem, but I’m not alone and I didn’t get any service.


  74. bryan Avatar

    Been using Dropbox for over years now and never had any issues like you described.

    One bad experience shouldnt warrant bad mouthing their service especially when they are known for their great service.


  75. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Hi Gordon, I used to be on Skydrive years ago, before they made it all sexy. It frustrated me in the old days, so I stopped using it too. Guess I’ll have to meander back over there for a bit as a double backup to my external hard drive. 25GB is more than enough for me. Least we know Microsoft won’t ever just delete our data. *She says trustingly* hehe.


  76. Gordon Shamway Avatar

    Hi Veronique…
    I’m really sorry to hear about your bad experience with Dropbox (even though I’m not surprised). I see Kim Ryan mentioned Microsoft SkyDrive. I LOVE SkyDrive as it comes with 25GB free storage (yes, 25GB for FREE) and has excellent security features. It is also very easy to share your files with other people and even provides integration with Office 2010 and Windows Phone.
    I’m always surprised about why people rave about Dropbox (and then discover it’s completely overrated), but they’ve not heard of SkyDrive. If you’re not familiar with SkyDrive, take a look for yourself at skydrive.live.com


  77. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Yes thankfully. I also loved the cross platform thing. But if it means I get random deletions that they can’t explain, it’s just not worth it for me you know. I upgraded to the full version cos it was so handy. I never dreamt this would happen. Oh well. 🙂


  78. Stuart Avatar

    At least you’ve got a backup of your images, silver lining 🙂

    I’m disappointed in the response you received, or lack thereof, from Dropbox – especially as a paying customer. I’m using the free version as my data is under 5GB, but if I were a paying customer I’d expect a certain level of care which you have apparently not received….poor show.

    I only use their service as I like the automatic synchronisation across different devices and platforms, something that I haven’t found other products do quite as well.


  79. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Hi Kim – yeah I discovered that bin too in the nick of time. But it doesn’t solve the issue that it happened in the first place. I’m going to stick to SharePoint on this. 🙂


  80. Kim Ryan Avatar
    Kim Ryan

    Hi Veronique, I had something similar happen with DropBox after moving some files on one of my machines. Fortunately DropBox had some kind of recycle bin on their website so I got them back that way. I still use DropBox, but I use SkyDrive mainly now. Also for compares, I use Beyond Compare (http://www.scootersoftware.com), an awesome tool. I hope you can get your files back. Good luck!


  81. veroniquepalmer Avatar

    Hi Stuart,

    I do have an external hard drive with weekly backups, but the time it’s taking to figure out what’s on the hard drive vs my C drive vs Dropbox is pure insanity – I have a ton of work to do. I learnt the hard way once before, I just trusted that a reliable name like theirs would be secure. Apparently not. :-S Such is life. Thanks for your thoughtful response, I hope everyone reads it cos it’s a very valid point.



  82. Stuart Avatar

    Hey Veronique, sorry to hear about the issues you’ve experienced with Dropbox. It’s never good when you think you’ve lost years worth of data and feel helpless to do anything about it.

    You mention in your post that it’s vital to have a disaster recovery process in place. I use Dropbox myself but don’t wholly rely on it. I make sure I back up my data to a location under my control, so in the unlikely event my cloud backup service evaporated at the same time as my hard drive failed I have a backup to fall back on, even if that is a week or days out of date. If the data you have is so vital to you, it would have been a good idea to have had a disaster recovery process in place and not have all your eggs in one basket. Unfortunately, the horse has already bolted from the proverbial stable…A lesson to anyone who hasn’t thought about their disaster recovery procedures.


  83. […] Why Dropbox Sucks! … and Lessons for SharePoint If you’ve never heard of Dropbox, it’s an online storage facility for you to do backups and share docs with multiple devices and users. One that deletes your files at random and then tries to tell you it’s your fault. … Continue reading → Read More… […]


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