Working with Dropbox

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Embracing the Cloud

Dropbox is another big contender in the online storage world.  Let’s take a moment to clarify that there is a big difference between a backup service and the type of storage Dropbox offers.  Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive are not constantly backing up your documents.  Your documents are synced up to your account online, so they stay safe, but a huge concern to recognize is that this folder while a real-time sync is also a real-time delete.  If you delete something in your Dropbox folder you also delete it from your online account.  You can pay for deleted items to be retained and even revisions, but you should be aware of files being deleted from your folder impacts your online account also.  A backup service, backups all of the files you designate and does so on a schedule so you have revisions, perhaps incremental backups with revisions…various options are available to you.

Dropbox in comparison to Google Drive…lots of differences.  First they offer only 5 GB on a free account.  There is no email or built in apps.  The cost of upgrading to 1 TB of space is comparable at about $10 per month.

The download and install of their software works very similar to Google Drive.  A folder is installed  to your system and you provide your credentials and the service runs in the background keeping your files in sync to your online account.  Like Google Drive, Dropbox also offers selective sync of folders, giving you control over what stays on your machine.  More and more machines are coming out with smaller hard drives, so keeping all that data on your machine will move you to run out of space fast.  This is a great feature allowing you to pick and choose what you want store on your machine.

There was a time years ago when Dropbox and Google Drive were battling it out with the free account option and how much space was granted with that free account.  I personally, found that while I did use both services, I found Dropbox to be the most stable and reliable.  I would often lose the sync connection on my Google Drive app on my laptop.  The stability of such apps is critical as when you install and it is a service runs in the background – it is set and forget.  If you don’t check your system tray to see if it’s running, it is out of sight and out of mind.  And…that can be dangerous, when you are relying on your data syncing up and you find that it has not been.  In that area Dropbox has been the most reliable.  And I even am more impressed at the speed of the sync and how quickly you can access the data online as well

Like Google Drive, Dropbox has the ability to share files through links and of course share folders for collaboration with full editing rights or view only.

A huge feature with Dropbox, which I feel is more widely used than others is the 3rd party apps that allows Dropbox to connect to it on other devices and applications.  It opens up a huge world of connectivity and collaboration.My go to online storage choice is Dropbox.  I’ve been using it for years and trust its reliability with my data.  In all the years I’ve used them, I’ve never experienced any issues.

Dropbox like Google has selective sync – meaning you can choose what you want to be on your computer and what you want to remain in the cloud.  More and more laptops are coming out with small hard drive sizes and it forces you to make decisions about what is more important to leave on your machine and what not to.  It can be a hard concept to digest, but once you do it really is not that difficult.  In fact, you will find that over time you really like that feature. I know I do.

The one thing I do have on my wishlist is actually the addition of new folders or files.  I’ve found that if you have Dropbox installed on multiple machines – like your work and home machines – you may want to have certain files sync to the work device and others to your home.  When you add a new folder on your home machine, it automatically syncs to all your devices, which is problematic for me.  I think the simplistic thing to do would be to add your new folder and then Dropbox prompts if you want to add this folder to all devices – yes or no.  But they are not there yet.

Overall, Dropbox is a great choice and you honestly can’t go wrong.

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