When it comes to backing up our computer files, we all know we should be doing it. But let’s be honest, most of us don’t. For several years now, I have been using Dropbox and it is the most important tool on my computer. I use it for saving all my documents and files. There are many reasons why you should too.
If you aren’t familiar with Dropbox, it is an online (in the cloud) file storage system. You can save documents, photos, videos, or any file to your account. You can access the files on a Mac, PC, or through their online portal. Of all of the features that Dropbox offers, there are at least five that I believe you will find most useful.
1. Saves on online copy and a local copy. Dropbox saves a copy of your files and it also saves a copy on your local computer. As a result, you have a copy on your computer as well as an online backup. As a result, you don’t have to think about backing up your files because Dropbox has already done this. By saving a copy on your computer, Dropbox enables you to access your files if you’re offline or traveling.
2. Syncs across all computers and devices. I can access my files from my office or home computer or my iPhone or iPad. No matter where I am, my files are always accessible. When you turn on your computer for the day or access the files on a mobile device, Dropbox automatically syncs the files. This way you always have the most updated version. I used to live an hour from campus and if I forgot my thumb drive it would ruin my entire day. This never happens with Dropbox. Having all my files in Dropbox also makes it easy to move to a new computer. When I bought a new laptop, I downloaded the Dropbox app and logged in. The app downloaded all my files and organized them exactly as I had them on my last machine. This saves hours of moving files between computers.
3. Sync/share folder with colleagues. Dropbox has the ability to share folders between people. I use this with my graduate students and research colleagues. We can save files for one another without having to send everything by email. This is one of the simplest but most useful features that Dropbox offers.
4. Add on-third party apps. Dropbox has the ability to add useful third-party applications. Honestly, this is the feature I don’t use that much, but it has great potential. One app that I do use and love is DropItTo.me. This program allows anyone to upload a file into your Dropbox without giving them access to one of your folders. I have students submit assignments to me using this and have found it helpful. It keeps paper submissions out of my inbox and saves them in Dropbox (which I used to do manually). It also gives a confirmation so I don’t have to reply to every student that I received their paper. Huge time saver!
5. Cost. Perhaps the best part of Dropbox is that it is FREE! While you can buy extra storage space, I have never found the need to do so. There are several ways to get more free space including by inviting friends or following Dropbox on Twitter. I believe Dropbox is so fantastic I would be willing to pay, but the fact that it is free is such a great perk.
With all these fantastic features and for no cost, why wouldn’t you give it a try? If you want to start using Dropbox, click here. Dropbox is a great tool with some killer features. I hope the program will save you as much time and streamline your online file storage as it does for me.
Question: Question: Do you currently use Dropbox? What are your favorite features? You can leave a comment by clicking here.