Cloud storage with Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud based data storage and synchronization service which provides 2GB of free storage and 50 or 100 GB for subscription accounts. Save your files in a Dropbox folder on your computer, and when you’re connected to the Internet, they’re automatically updated on Dropbox’s servers whenever you make changes.

Switch to a different computer, and your data are automatically synced as soon as you go online. Even if it’s not your computer, you can still access your files from your Dropbox online account or via a smartphone or tablet app.

You can share your files with others.

The nice folk at DropBox give you 2GB of free synchronized storage, and it’s a no-brainer to use. Download Dropbox using this referral link from me and you’ll get an extra 500MB of free storage. As will I. 🙂
This is an outstanding service.

UsageDropbox logo

Because it’s easy to manage, I use Dropbox for all of my everyday working files; the ones that I access or change regularly: Files like my todo list; computer installation logs; inventory; and web site files, images and notes.

As long as you don’t get carried away with lots of big photo, video and music files, 2GB is a lot of space. You can increase the free allocation up to 16GB with referrals.

Main Positives

  • Set it and forget it. Dropbox works seamlessly in the background without any input from the user.
  • If you’re a web designer/blogger you can use it as a really easy image manager. See my post here.
  • Synchronizes your data automatically between all your computers and the online storage.
  • Even if you only use one computer it’s still invaluable as an off-site backup for your important stuff. No more worries about burglars pinching your stuff, or a fire destroying it.
  • 2GB of free storage.
    • If you need more: 1TB paid storage at US$9.99 a month, or a business account with as much storage as you need for $15 per user per month.
  • Unlike competing cloud services, Dropbox uses Delta synchronization. i.e. When you make a change to a file, Dropbox doesn’t upload all of it, only the differential data – that part of the file that’s changed. With large files this is a very big plus.

Main Negatives

  • Less storage than some other free services.
    • For me, that’s far outweighed by the synchronization capability and ease of use.
  • It’s restricted to one location on your computer. This annoys some users, but if you just treat it in the same way as a Windows’ Documents folder it’s no big deal.
    • I understand that this could change in a future upgrade.

It’s great. Get it today!

When you download and install Dropbox it creates its own folder on your computer. By default, in Windows, the folder is created in your Documents folder but you can move it to wherever you wish, either at the time of installation, or subsequently. You can use the Dropbox folder just like any other; add files and sub-folders to your heart’s content, and DropBox will toil away in the background uploading a copy of those files to their servers.
Every time you add, delete, or modify files or folders in your Dropbox they’re immediately updated on the remote site and on any other active devices you have connected to the Internet.

It gets better!

If you use more than one computer you can install Dropbox on each of them: it will automatically download your current files and update them with the latest changes. Thenceforth, whenever any of your Dropbox machines are connected to the web they will automatically synchronize.
If you don’t have access to your own computer you can use a browser to log on to your online account at Dropbox’s web site from any web-connected computer in the known universe and access your files.
You can use Dropbox on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux computers as well as iOS and Android phones and tablets.

For text, pdf, Word and Excel files 2GB is a lot of space, but if you really like Dropbox (and what’s not to like?) and you wish to have more storage ─ for lots of photos for instance ─ you’ll need to purchase a Pro or Business account as mentioned above.

On the other hand, if you’re a licensed Microsoft Office user, you now have virtually unlimited storage for many files types on Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Synchronizing program data files

With many software programs, you can change the default location of the data files to a folder of your choice. If you put these folders in a subfolder of Dropbox on each of your computers, those data will be kept up-to-date and in sync. This works very well with programs like Autohotkey, Tomboy Notes, Wiki-on-a-Stick, PhraseExpress, Stickies, and no doubt many others.
What are you waiting for? As I wrote above, go to the Dropbox website using this referral link, download Dropbox, and install it on your computer—you’ll get an extra 500MB of free storage. 🙂

And what’s more

If you sign up for your own referrals, you can increase your free storage up to 16GB and if you eventually upgrade to a Pro account you get double your referral capacity tacked on.

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