Dropbox – The Great Online File Sync
Alright, so I finally decided to review Dropbox. Here’s what I will cover in my review/guide/tutorial mix.
-What is this “Dropbox?”
-How to get Dropbox
-How to use Dropbox
-Why use Dropbox?
Ready? Here we go!
What is this “Dropbox?”
Dropbox is basically a tool built by some guys which allows you to 1) store, 2) share, and 3) sync your files online. It’s really simple to use and the files can be accessed anywhere. Storing a file is as easy as dragging and dropping into a folder, there is no complicated FTP interface to figure out. All your files are stored online and can be synced amongst multiple computers.
Why is Dropbox so neat and useful? First, you can upload any file you want, really easily, and it will be stored on the Dropbox servers. Then, you can update this file any time to want and it will be updated on every computer that you use Dropbox on. If you changed a file on Computer 1 and Computers 2 and 3 share that file as well, guess what? The file will be updated on all 3 computers. Also, Dropbox keeps a log of the changes, so you can go back to older versions if something is removed by mistake.
-2 GB free, basic pricing plans for more space
-Files are synced between multiple computers
-Hassle-free installation, updating, and accessibility. No complex programs to install, it’s a tiny program that does all the work for you.
-No FTP needed. Dropbox acts like another folder or networked drive.
-Files can be shared to anyone, all you have to do is right click and get a public link.
-Web interface for those times when you just can’t install the Dropbox (no time, no administrative rights, etc.). The web interface allows you to upload and download files as well as manage files and view the file log.
Dropbox has 2 useable interfaces, a web interface and the actual tiny program that you can use on your computer. I’ll go into more detail in a bit, with some nice shiny pictures.
Alright, so here’s the Dropbox homepage. (http://www.getdropbox.com)
Very clean, very simple, not too difficult to use. Sign in up top or download the program using the really big Download Dropbox button.
How do you make an account?
After installing Dropbox, this window should pop up when you start using it.
Follow the prompts to make a new account and to link up to the Dropbox server.
Or, make your account online. This is a bit odd though, I couldn’t find a link to directly make an account. Here’s my solution:
Now you should get a window like this:
You will end up with this window:
Fill in some information, create the account, and go download that software!
Now, you can edit your preferences in Dropbox later via the menus.
Alright, so now that you’ve seen the stuff Dropbox has, let’s move into the program itself.
Now really, this program is so simple, it’s crazy. Here’s how it looks:
The folder on the lower left is the Dropbox. I’ve compared it to a regular folder. They are exactly the same! This is really simple right?
To move files, just drag and drop.
Notice the little blue circles below. Those tell you that the files are being uploaded to the Dropbox server.
When you get a green check mark, like the one next to the Blog folder, you know that the files have been uploaded successfully.
And we have success!
To get to the Dropbox on the computer, there are 2 really simple ways. First, access it via the folder in the My Documents folder (I’m in XP, so I don’t know about other systems. Sorry! However, everything you will need is on the getdropbox.com forums.)
Or go to the system tray and double click:
If you right-click the little icon, you can bring up the Dropbox menu:
Right-clicking on the icon in the My Documents folder allows you to go directly to the web interface:
The web interface is really very straightforward to use. If anyone wants, I can make a guide on how to use it, but really, if you can get this far, you really don’t need any help. The web interface is just a cutdown version of the normal interface, all in a web browser. You can do everything as well as replacing deleted files, so if you screwed up and deleted something by mistake, just go to the web interface and makes things correct again.
You can share things with other people in your Dropbox.
First, go to the Public folder and place your files in there. Then, right click and use the Dropbox menu to get the public link. This link is shareable with anyone, so go ahead and share it!
So that’s really it! If you want to join Dropbox, just go to http://www.getdropbox.com and follow the guide to learn how to use it.
I personally have been using Dropbox ever since it first came out and I can’t imagine life without it. It’s a handy program to backup and share documents with anyone over a network or over the internet. And it’s so easy to use, it’s unbelievable.
Dropbox gives all free users 2 GB of space, expandable to 5 GB through referrals (256 MB increase per person). There is a pro version to get 50 GB or 100 GB of space, however, a better scheme is being worked on at this time.
Thanks and have fun!