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Dropbox fixing file-deletion bug, offers year of free service

The online storage site is trying help those who lost files through a technical bug by restoring the files it can and offering free service for a year.

Dropbox logo

Dropbox is trying to appease users who lost files as a result of a glitch with its application.

On Saturday, the cloud-based storage site announced it had "received several reports from users" who had problems with a specific feature called Selective Sync. This feature is supposed to let you select only the folders that you want synced to your computer. But a bug in older versions of the Dropbox software caused the program to shut down or restart, which ended up deleting certain files for those users of Selective Sync.

The company said it has taken the following steps to fix the problem and ensure it doesn't happen again:

1) We've patched our desktop client so this issue doesn't exist in Dropbox anymore; 2) We've made sure all our users are running an updated version of the Dropbox client; and 3) We've retired all affected versions of the Dropbox client so no one can use them.

Dropbox said it's put further testing in place to keep such a problem from happening in the future. The company is also trying to placate disgruntled users, as described by Engadget.

Dropbox is attempting to restore lost files when possible. It's also offering those affected users a year's worth of Dropbox Pro, which costs $9.99 per month, or $99 per year, and provides up to 1 terabyte of storage space.

The moral of the story?

Don't rely on just one product or site to store or sync your important documents and files. Make sure you have local versions and backups stored on a different and separate device, such as a USB drive.

For example, I store many of my files on a Synology NAS drive and also back up my local documents to that same drive. I then run regular backups of the files on my NAS drive to an external USB drive. It may sound like overkill, but at least I know I have multiple copies of the same files should they get lost or corrupted in one place. And I do use online sites such as Dropbox, but again I make sure that the files stored online are also stored safely elsewhere.