Why does data that has been deleted from the server still appear in an exported CSV file?

If you are using SurveyCTO Desktop, our desktop software, to download and export your collected data from your server, you will have noticed that even if you delete/purge submissions for a form on your server, those deleted submissions still appear in your exported CSV data or SPSS exports?

Why do those submissions still appear in exports after they have been deleted from the server? And how do you exclude them from exports permanently?

SurveyCTO Desktop's local data cache

The reason those submissions appear in the export is that even though you have deleted them from the server, a copy of those submissions is still stored locally on your server by SurveyCTO Desktop. Each time you download data, SurveyCTO Desktop stores a copy of the data locally. This serves two purposes:

1.) It makes sure that each time you export your data, SurveyCTO Desktop does not have to re-download all the data from the server and only has to download new submissions;

2.) It ensures that if you delete your data from the server accidentally, the data is not lost as there is an extra copy of the data on your computer as well.

Cleaning up local storage on SurveyCTO Desktop

However, this also means that if you want to completely delete certain data so that it does not appear in your exported CSV, it is not sufficient to purge submissions only on the server. You must also delete the copy of the forms stored locally by SurveyCTO Desktop:

1.) Open SurveyCTO Desktop.

2.) Click on the Local storage option for the right desktop (each "desktop" has its own local storage).

3.) In the menu that opens, select the forms in the list you want to purge locally.

4.) Under Clean up local storage click on the CLEAN UP NOW... button (it doesn't matter whether Delete definition and data or Delete data only is selected). This will delete all the submissions for that form that are saved in SurveyCTO Desktop's local storage.

5.) Now re-export your data for that form as you normally would. All submissions will be re-downloaded from the server and hence only those submissions that are still on the server will be downloaded and exported; any submissions that were purged will now be permanently deleted and will not appear in the CSV file.

Please delete your data carefully and make sure you are not deleting any submissions from the server that you actually want to keep!

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