Cleaning Up Behind Cloud Storage
I was cleaning up a computer today and removing some applications that use Internet services for data storage and replications and discovered that while the applications were removed, the data was left behind. This was true for Dropbox, SugarSync, and Evernote. I haven’t tried other cloud storage offerings.
I am not sure if applications should or should not automatically delete the local files.
On the one hand, for file sync services like Dropbox and Sugarsync, you might want to keep those files locally. Or not. I do think it is reasonable for users to assume that when they uninstall an file synchronization application, the local files are deleted as well. Whether or not you want the files deleted depends on how you use synchronization.
In the case of Dropbox, the service holds the master of all the files that are shared with the service. It maintains the revision history and replicates file changes to the connected computers, so removing the local files after the application is uninstalled won’t affect the master copies stored on the service.
However, your work process may treat your computer as the master—in your mind, your work computer contains the master copies of your work files—and when you delete the Dropbox application, you don’t want to delete the local files.
Given these two competing modes, there should be an option in the uninstaller to delete the local content after the application has been uninstalled. Why dig for it?
With Evernote, the local database should certainly be removed since you can’t use the data (at least not easily) without the Evernote application.
At any rate, to remove them, you can try the following after the application is uninstalled, open Explorer (not IE) and:
Dropbox: click on the Dropbox icon, and delete the files.Sugarsync: Go to c:\users
VM Snapshots and Dropbox
I asked myself What would happen if I
- take a snapshot of a VM that is running Dropbox,
- I then modify a file synchronized withing Drop Box, and then
- restore the snapshot (reverting changes)?
Would Dropbox retain my newly modified file or replicate my old file?
My thought was that it would replicate my old file over my newly modified file, but at least in initial testing, I was wrong. Dropbox overwrote my restored old file with the latest version.
I don’t have an opinion as to whether that was the right or wrong behavior. It’s just a behavior.
The question is why did the old file get overwritten? At first blush, I might assume that Dropbox follows timestamps on the computers, but that wouldn’t make sense because computer time stamps can be wildly off. Perhaps Dropbox uses it’s own knowledge of the latest file to replicate the most current.
So that begs the question, what if I had altered the file in step 2? Would Dropbox synchronize that change as a version? How do other file synchronization services like SugarSync, Google Drive, or Box behave?
Looks like I will be doing some more experimenting.