What it does
Dropbox is online service that uses client software (available for Windows, Mac and Linux) to keep copy of your data online and sync it between different computers.
It is easier to use than explain – you just drop files in folder and they promptly get uploaded to the server and distributed to other computers, you had installed Dropbox on.
After recent notebook purchase that coincided with desktop meltdown I had (re)installed Dropbox on both and it was real relief to promptly get all my docs and backups without spending much effort.
I had also moved part of my programming stuff to Dropbox since notebook now serves as learning PC at courses.
Having desktop (that had same copy of Windows running for three years without reinstall) die really shows holes in portable and backup setup. I was fine since most of my software is portable and mirrored to external media with SyncEXP but there still were problems.
I had posted how I use Cobian Backup for FTP backup. I made clean install of it as system service and added job that backups settings of all non-portable software to Dropbox daily.
- Cobian makes sure backups are automated and number of archives is limited and doesn’t consume too much of Dropbox space.
- Dropbox makes sure my backups distributed between online cloud and two PCs.
I had few opportunities to use shared Dropbox folders and I can say it works just excellent:
- removes struggle with file transfer via IM/email/servers;
- very easy to keep notes – text file does just fine and Dropbox turns into semi-IM;
- easily handles non-realtime work when parties are on at different times.
Needs and wants
Dropbox got better since last year and got some much-needed settings like proxy and bandwidth control. Still it is very much work in progress and simplicity of usage sometimes feels like being chained to single folder and very few settings to tweak.
But it does work and gets better over time. That’s plenty.
Excellent software/service blend with good usability and ongoing development.
New users that subscribe by invitation link get extra 250Mb of space in addition to free 2Gb account. So if you could use good file sync/storage/share service definitely check it out.
Disclosure. I also get 250Mb (no more than 3Gb in total) from subscriptions via my referral link. That had left my opinion, expressed in this post, and ways I use Dropbox daily completely untouched.