Tuesday’s Tool: Save, Sync, Share with Dropbox

Do you use multiple computers? Ever need a file at home or at a training session, but you can’t access it because it’s on a different computer?
Dropbox offers a great solution.  Use it to store, sync, and share files.  Just put any type of file in your Dropbox on one computer, and it will instantly sync with all of your computers where you’ve downloaded Dropbox. In fact, the files in your Dropbox will be available to you on any other computer with Internet access whether you’ve downloaded Dropbox there or not. In that way, it’s like a virtual flashdrive!  Your files are available anywhere just by logging in online.

Not only that, you can also share specific folders in your Dropbox with multiple other people so that you can collaborate on the same set of files. You decide who sees which folders. And what if a file is accidentally deleted by you or a collaborator? No problem! Login to Dropbox online, click “Show deleted files,” and restore the version of the file you want to keep.

So how much space do you get? The free Dropbox service provides 2 GB of storage, but you can earn up to 8 GB of free space by inviting friends to Dropbox. For each referral that joins, both you and your friend receive more free storage. For example, if you register and install Dropbox from my referral link, both you and I will receive 250 MB of bonus storage space.

This demo on YouTube gives more specifics about how it works.

One thing you should be aware of is that when you download Dropbox, the Growl notification system is also automatically loaded on your computer.  While I didn’t like the fact that Dropbox loaded Growl on my computer without my express permission, I do like the immediate, temporary, pop-up notification whenever a Dropbox file I have shared with others is updated or one that someone has shared with me is changed.  If you don’t like Growl, it’s easy to uninstall.

A final added benefit to Dropbox is that I can also access all files I store there from my iPhone, and that app is free too. Free Dropbox apps are also available for iPad, Blackberry, and Android.

Yes. I love Dropbox! No more emailing files to myself or struggling to remember where I left one of my many flash drives!

Debbie Perkins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.