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Guide on How to Restore a Previous Version of a File in Dropbox

Dropbox, one of the very first file hosting platforms, is a great way to store documents and files in the cloud without worrying if they get lost. Moreover, while working online, there is a great chance that you are updating the same files over and over again.

But, what if you made a mistake or if you would like to revisit a previous version of your file? Read along and find out what’s possible and how you can do it!

Can I restore a previous version of a file in Dropbox?

With Dropbox, you can work on a file on your computer (using the Dropbox directory), and when you decide to save it, it will automatically be updated in Dropbox as well.

Dropbox keeps snapshots of all changes made to a file in your Dropbox account and logs them within your version history. There are different options depending on which plan you’re using:

  • Basic, Plus, and Family accounts have access and the ability to restore versions of a file made within the last 30 days. 
  • Professional and Business accounts can restore versions of a file made within the last 180 days. 

How to restore a previous version of a single file in Dropbox

To find and restore an older version of a file, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
01 dropbox home
  1. Hover over the name of the file and click ““.
02 dropbox hover file
  1. Click Activity > Version history.
03 dropbox version history
  1. Hover over the version you’d like to restore and click Restore.
04 dropbox file restore version
  1. Confirm you want to restore this version.
05 dropbox file confirm restore

And that’s how you restore a previous version of a file. Please note that the file you had will be replaced by the version you chose to restore, and its name will stay the same. If you want to find the latest version (before the recovery), you can visit the version history again and find all the different versions of the file:

06 dropbox file restored version

How to restore a previous version of all files in Dropbox

There are cases where you might need to restore a previous version for multiple files. For this case, Dropbox introduced the Rewind feature.

Please note that Dropbox Rewind is a tool only available to users on Dropbox Plus, Family, Professional, and Business plans.

Dropbox Rewind is a tool that lets you undo a large number of changes at once. Let’s say a virus infected your computer and encrypted all of your files. Thankfully, Dropbox Rewind is there to undo all of these changes and return your files to a previous version where they are not encrypted. 

The tool can be used either for your whole account or a specific folder. How to use the Dropbox Rewind tool on a specific folder is explained below.

To use the tool for your whole account and restore a previous version of all files:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com and click “…” next to Create.
07 dropbox hover account
  1. Click Rewind this folder.
08 dropbox rewind account
  1. Click Get started and select a day on the graph where you want your account to be reverted to. Click Continue.
  2. Find the time that your account should be reverted to, and click the blue line below it. Click Continue and Rewind.

As soon as the Rewind process is complete, you will receive an email to confirm this action, and you can find the account to be exactly what it was at the selected time.

Why can’t I restore previous versions of files in Dropbox?

But what if you cannot restore a previous version of a file? This can be  because of various reasons, for example:

  • The file you need to restore sits outside of your Dropbox folder on your computer.
  • The version you want to restore is beyond the 30-day limit of Basic, Plus, and Family accounts.
  • The version you want to restore is beyond the 180-day limit for Professional and Business accounts.
  • The version you want to restore was not properly synced with Dropbox.

The above are only some of the most common examples of why you might not be able to restore a previous version of a file, and there might also be other reasons.

What can I do if I cannot restore previous versions of files in Dropbox?

In the case, you cannot restore previous versions of files in Dropbox or you want to enhance your versioning capabilities, you can use a 3rd party tool to create a backup file.

For example, by using Coupler.io, you can create extra backups of CSV and Excel files and have them stored for version purposes in Google Drive, OneDrive, or BigQuery. 

Related Posts

How to restore a previous version of a document in Dropbox

Let’s see in action how you can use Coupler.io for versioning and backup of CSV and Excel data. As cloud storage for your backup copies, you can use Google Drive or OneDrive. We’ve already blogged about syncing Dropbox to Google Drive, so let’s connect Dropbox to Excel on OneDrive this time. 

Note: For this, you’ll need to add an Excel file to your OneDrive folder or choose an existing one during the setup. This way, you can have a secure backup and ensure your two cloud storage folders are in sync. You can now feel safe that your data will not be lost or corrupted.

Sign up to Coupler.io using your Google or Microsoft account and click +Add new importer. Then select Dropbox as a source and Excel as a destination. Click Proceed.

9 dropbox excel source and destination

Check out also the Dropbox and Google Sheets integration.

Change the title of your importer and complete the following steps: 

Configure a source – Dropbox

  • Connect your Dropbox account.
  • In your Dropbox folder, select a CSV or Excel file to load data from. If you’re syncing an Excel file, you’ll also need to specify a sheet with the data to be exported. Optionally, you can select a range in your Excel sheet.

Note: You can select multiple files, but they will be merged into a single view to an Excel file on OneDrive. If you want to backup multiple files separately, you’ll need to create a separate Dropbox to Excel integration for each of them. Fortunately, this can be done easily by copying the existing integration and editing the key parameters.

Here is what a source configuration may look like:

1 source setup

Let’s go to the next step.

Configure a destination – Excel on OneDrive

  • Connect your Microsoft account.
  • On your OneDrive, select an Excel workbook and a worksheet to load data from Dropbox. You can create a new sheet by typing in a new name.

Note: Optionally, you can change the first cell where the data will be loaded and the import mode. Read Coupler.io documentation for more on this.

10 dropbox to excel destination
  • Change the import mode from replace to append and toggle on the Last updated column. This is required to track historical data changes in your backup copy.
11 dropbox to excel append mode

Configure a schedule

  • Toggle on the Automatic data refresh and configure the schedule for your automatic backup:
    • Interval
    • Days of week
    • Time preferences
    • Time zone
12.Coupler.io schedule

Once the setup is done, click Save and Run. You can check out the import results by clicking the View Results button. Here is what the backup file looks like:

12 dropbox backup append more

Now, if you need to restore the lost or damaged data, you can easily get it. For huge volumes of data, you may also be interested in syncing Dropbox to BigQuery

Can I restore a Dropbox folder to a previous version?

When you want to restore a specific folder to a previous version, the process is exactly the same as restoring the whole account and using the Rewind tool:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the folder you need to restore to a previous version.
  3. Click “…”
  4. Click Activity > Rewind this folder
10 dropbox rewind this folder

Then you can follow the same process to select a date and time for the Rewind to take place, and that’s it! Your folder is now restored to the previous version of your choice.

What is the best way to restore files in Dropbox?

Cloud storage services are here to help you access your data from anywhere in the world without having to carry a USB drive every time. Moreover, these services provide an extra layer of security so your files are not lost.

We’ve explained how you can restore previous versions of your files, recover any lost information, or undo any mistakes. But what’s the best way to restore files, you may ask?

Well, the best way is the one that makes you feel safer. We suggest keeping all your files in your preferred cloud service (in this case, Dropbox) while taking all the necessary steps to automatically interconnect your various storage destinations (local or cloud services) and keeping multiple copies of important files.

This way, you can ensure that you won’t lose any valuable files while not having to always make copies of them.

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