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Suppose I have a source code file in my dropbox which I have worked on from my desktop machine, and the version in my laptop is out-of-date because I haven't had internet access or the company proxy blocked dropbox or whatever.

If I continue working on the file from the laptop, and then reconnect to the internet later, what will happen to my file? Will the earlier changes from the desktop be lost?

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this question blew my mind –  AlanTuring Nov 8 '12 at 2:15
    
+1 @Wim, please see dropbox.com/help/10/en –  Mawg Nov 8 '12 at 2:24
    
Mayeb its' best not to do that? Or, if you must, then copy to USB thumb drive before leaving the office, and copy onto laptop before making any changes. DropBox will later resynch the dsktop when you have connected the laptop (if you don't connect, then it's back to the USB stick) –  Mawg Nov 8 '12 at 2:58
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It depends on your settings. Most dropbox-like programs provide you with a variation of these options:

  1. Use the local copy, overwrite the remote ones.
  2. Use the remote copy and overwrite the local one.
  3. Use the one with the latest modification date.
  4. Ask the user (popup) which file to keep.

In the case of dropbox their own website states this

Dropbox won't attempt to merge the changes for you. Therefore, any changes made to the same file after it has been updated will also have their changes synced to all computers, but as a "conflicted copy" of the file. A conflicted file and the original copy Conflicting changes are saved separately

Copy of conflicted-file.png

If you want to prevent conflict or even gracefully merge changes in source code, use a source control system, such as CVS or subversion.

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+1 I toally agree on source control, but if you can't then get WinMerge or Kdiff3 or any other good, free file compare program –  Mawg Nov 8 '12 at 2:55
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As per https://www.dropbox.com/help/36/en

"If two people or computers change the same file at the same time, the first person to finish uploading their new version will "win." Dropbox won't attempt to merge the changes for you. Therefore, any changes made to the same file after it has been updated will also have their changes synced to all computers, but as a "conflicted copy" of the file. The name of the new file will be the same as the old one but appended with "conflicted copy", the name of the person/computer responsible, and the date that the conflict occurred. This way, everyone's changes are preserved and nobody overwrites another person's hard work. If you find a conflicted file in your shared folder, you may want to discuss which changes to keep with your friend."

So no you won't lose anything but you will have duplicate files

edit: this isn't exactly what you asked as you're not working simultaneously from two locations on the same file but it still explains how dropbox handles conflicts.

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