Dropbox – (Sync, Share, Store Files)

By Josh Butcher, Instructional Development Services Assistant Manager

Dropbox is a superb product that has powerful sharing and syncing abilities.  It offers some of the best backup features and sharing features available, including an iPhone tool!  Dropbox has packages for home users as well as business users.  With its online data backup service you can share folders for collaboration, share links to photo galleries and sync across multiple computers. Dropbox can be used on Windows, Mac, Linux and even through apps on your mobile device such as iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry!

Dropbox was founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in 2007 and today is well-funded by Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Amidzad.  Their passion is making a product that rocks and putting it in millions of people’s hands. Below I will briefly highlight and describe some of the features in Dropbox.

File Sync – If you are editing a document in your Dropbox folder, as soon as you click save Dropbox will sync the file to all your other computers and mobile devices instantly and automatically.  This allows you the freedom to work anywhere and always have the file you need.

File Sharing – By simply putting folders or files in your Dropbox folder you can then invite people and share these files or folders.  You can send people links to specific files within your Dropbox which makes Dropbox a perfect solution for team collaboration projects where you all need to share and work on one document together.

Online Backup – Any file you put in your Dropbox folder is automatically backed up to the Dropbox servers.  So if your computer crashes and burns, your files are safe on Dropbox and can be restored at any time.

Web Access – A copy of your files is stored on Dropbox’s secure servers so this lets you access them from any computer or mobile device.

Security & Privacy – Dropbox uses military grade encryption methods to both transfer and store your data.

Mobile Device Access – A free application for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android is available that lets you access and manage your Dropbox on the go.

Dropbox becomes a more appealing alternative to:

  • emailing file attachments to yourself and other people
  • using USB drives to move files between computers
  • renaming files to keep a history of previous versions
  • complicated backup software and hardware

Dropbox offers 2GB of online storage for free as well as 50 GB and 100GB for paying customers.  For more information and to download the Dropbox application on your computer visit https://www.dropbox.com/.  There help page is very informative as well at https://www.dropbox.com/help.

Tech Tip – Syncing Files Between Multiple Computers

If you have multiple computers or mobile devices, syncing your Dropbox between all of them is quite easy.  All you need to do is install the Dropbox desktop application using the same login information on each computer or device that you want to sync with.

  1. Start by downloading the Desktop application on each computer or device that you want to sync with.  The Dropbox desktop application is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux computers as well as applications for mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android systems.  Download it at https://www.dropbox.com/.
  2. In this example I already have it downloaded on my Macintosh computer.  So I will show you the steps in downloading it on a Windows machine.  Click Run on the next pop up dialog box.



    It will begin to download.

    Click Run at the next dialog box that pops up.

    Click Install.

  3. When installing, you will be asked to enter your login information or create a new account.  You only need one account to sync your files across computers.
    1. If you haven’t created an account already, select the option next to “I don’t have a Dropbox account” and follow the steps provided .  This will be the account you will use when you install the Dropbox application on your other computers.
    2. If you’ve already created an account, use the same email address and password you use to log in to Dropbox.

    For this example I have already created an account so I will be choosing that option.

    You will then enter your account information and click Next.

    Choose the free option or if you want more space you can pay for the additional space options.  Click Next.

    Leave it on Typical and click Install.

  4. Once Dropbox is installed, you’ll notice a new Dropbox folder on your hard drive.  Add files to your Dropbox folder, and Dropbox will automatically sync them to the website and any other computer(s) linked to your account as soon as it notices a change in your Dropbox folder.  There is no sync button or need to set up any custom settings.
  5. Once you have installed the application on each of your computers using the same Dropbox login, your files will appear in the Dropbox folders of those computers as well.



    Dropbox Folder on Windows Machine







    Dropbox Folder on Mac Machine

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