About a week ago, I sent a support request to Dropbox asking how to purge deleted files. Never heard anything back, but I figured that I would ask here to see if anyone knows the magic recipe. Here is the support question I sent to the Dropbox team:

This is a general question that I can’t seem to find online. I am logged into my account on the Dropbox website and am able to delete some files but not others. For the ones that won’t delete, I keep getting an error that says:

“You don’t have permission to purge”

So my question is how to resolve that error and delete those items forever?

Thanks for your help.

Is it possible?

So if anyone knows how to do this it would be great and super-appreciated. For everyone else, it’s important for you to know that Dropbox does not actually “delete” your files when you click to delete them; instead, the files are simply hidden from your view until they are “purged”. Unfortunately, there is no way for users to purge all deleted items. This is bad for numerous reasons, including:

  • Users may think they have deleted sensitive data when in fact they have not
  • Deleted files that can’t be purged continue to take up disk space
  • Dropbox support is unresponsive, the opposite of awesome

So that’s the deal with Dropbox. If any of you movers and shakers happens to know how to purge ALL deleted files — even those uploaded/shared by somebody else — please share your wisdom, thanks.

Update In case anyone was wondering about the “awesomeness” of Dropbox, here is their official reply to my question:

Dropbox Support, Mar 16 12:14 AM:


Thanks for writing in. While we’d love to answer every question we get, we unfortunately can’t respond to your inquiry due to a large volume of support requests. Here are some resources for resolving the most common issues:

  • Restore files or folders – www.dropbox.com/help/969
  • Reset your Dropbox password – www.dropbox.com/forgot
  • Reset/Disable two-step verification – www.dropbox.com/help/364
  • Learn about sharing files or folders – www.dropbox.com/help/category/Sharing
  • Learn about Dropbox’s desktop app – www.dropbox.com/help/category/Desktop
  • Learn about Dropbox’s mobile apps – www.dropbox.com/help/category/Mobile
  • For all other issues, please check out our Help Center – www.dropbox.com/help

We’re sorry for the inconvenience,

The Dropbox Team

None of the links provided by Dropbox in their email reply were helpful in answering my seemingly simple question. This is a prime example of a business that has gotten too big for its own good. Looks like it’s time to drop Dropbox. Any business that doesn’t have time to respond to its own customers is just not worth it. Recommendations for alternatives to Dropbox are most welcome.

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