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Dropbox: How to restore a previous version of a file

Files in Drop box are backed up continuously. That is, every time you save a file in the dropbox folder, it is copied to the web site for safekeeping. Moreover, the old versions of the file are kept for 30 days.

This allows you to restore files to an older version. Of course, you would want to make sure it's the correct version before you replace the current one! The steps below explain how to do this.  In this example, we're restoring a previous version of the file "Vilna.doc".
NB: Dropbox also allows you to restore files or folder which have been deleted or lost, but this will be covered elsewhere.

Restoring a previous version of a file

  • In "My Computer", locate the file which you want to replace with a previous version.
  • RI|GHT-click on it and choose Dropbox=>View previous versions (as in the screenshot below).
Restore previous version

  • You will see list of dates and times when the file was changed, as well as some more information and importantly, a Preview column. Locate the version of the file most likely to have the correct version and tick the button on the left to mark it.
  • Now click on the "Preview" button (the magnifying class) to download a temporary version and preview it.
List of previous versions - choose to preview
TIP: The setup for downloading a file and opening it differ from one computer to the next. Some will do this entirely automatically, others will require you to save the file and open it yourself. On your computer, you will get a "Save As" window. Save the file in an easy-to-find place (e.g. the Desktop) and give it a distinctive name (e.g. add TEMP to it, so it becomes "Vilna TEMP.doc"). Now locate the file in "My Computer" (if saved on the desktop, simply minimise ll windows) and open the file.

  • If it's the wrong file, repeat the last step with different versions of the file until you find the correct version.
  • Once you have the correct version, go back to the dropbox web page and click on [Restore] on the right as shown in the screenshot below.
Restore file
  • Your file will be immediately restored to the previous version. In most cases this takes only a second or two!