In the random “Really Useful Stuff” Department, I recently started using DropBox, the online file storage / backup / syncing service. It allows you to upload files to be stored online (in the “cloud” you keep hearing so much about). This allows you to (a) back up your files, (b) sync them between computers and mobile devices, and (c) share files (even files too large to email) with friends or co-workers.
The best part? It’s completely free.
The second-best part is that it’s really easy to use, even for the non-tech-savvy. When my sister (who hates computers and only grudgingly accepts that they’re not going away) told me she was uploading photos on her trip to Italy (basically giving her unlimited storage space, since she could then erase her camera’s memory card and take more pictures), I knew it was easy to use. Even better: she shared her photo folder with me and I could see pics from her trip each day. Cool.
To use it, just sign up for a free account and install the free DropBox desktop application (for Mac or Windows; there are also mobile versions for iPhones and Android). It will create a “DropBox” folder on your computer. To use it, just follow the directions below:
- Drag & drop any files or folders you want into the DropBox folder.
- There is no Step 2.
Your files are now backed up online, and you can access them from any of your other computers (or smartphones) that you’ve installed DropBox on, or any Internet-connected computer (by signing into the DropBox website).
For example, set it up on your home and work computers, and drop a file into the DropBox folder at work. When you turn on your computer at home, the file will be waiting for you in the DropBox folder on your home computer.
There are a million more uses for it (including sharing folders with friends or co-workers, or having an off-site backup, very useful if your computer gets messed up or your house gets flooded or burns down), but those are the basics. Now that I use it, I’m not sure how I got along without it.
With a basic account, you get 2 GB of free online space. (Or you can pay $9.95 a month for 50 GB, or double that for 100 GB.) If you sign up using the link below and install the desktop application, we’ll both get an extra 250 MB, so you’ll start out with 2.25 GB.
I hope you find it as useful as I do. For anyone who already uses DropBox, what else do you use it for? I’d love to hear some ideas in the comments below.