Dropbox is a fantastic product that effectively gives you a folder on your computer that it will share, and keep synchronised, across all your other computers and the web (Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, etc).
Regular readers will know that I am always on a backup soapbox. I also love to have things automatically synchronise on my different computers and phone so that I don’t need to remember where I left that important link or file. What’s not to love!
Dropbox offer a number of account options starting at the free 2 GB, then a monthly charge for 50 GB / 100 GB.
For many people the 2 GB is enough but as part of their marketing campaign there are ways that you can get more disk space as a free bonus. If you sign up on the referral of someone else then both of you receive an extra 250 MB up to a maximum of 8 GB. So if you use this referral from me (http://db.tt/83xLPPL) we both get a bonus 250 MB.
Installing and signing up for Dropbox is easy: Enter the referral link into your Internet browser or click on http://db.tt/83xLPPL. Alternatively you can go direct to the website and forgo the bonus by typing www.dropbox.com.
Dropbox also has other great features
Dropbox enables you to share, it is secure, and it supports great backups.
- You can share a folder or a file in your dropbox with any other dropbox user. I often use this with clients to make it easier to share files that we are collaborating on. It is much quicker and more dynamic than emailing back and forth.
- Dropbox maintains a secure off site copy of your files and you can even access these files from anywhere you may be, via a web browser. Your files are encrypted on the Dropbox servers and while being transferred between there and your other Dropbox enabled computers
- Dropbox keeps previous versions of your files for one moth, so you have a form of off site backup. Because these files are also on your computer hard drive, they can also be backed up as part of your regular routine.
Installing from a referral is simple
As mentioned earlier, if you use a referral then both you and the referrer (me in this case) receive a bonus 250 MB of storage. Click this link http://db.tt/83xLPPL and the sign up screen will show the text ‘you have been invited’ as shown in red.
Enter your name, email address and a good password. Then click ‘create account’.
On the next screen click the download button and follow the download instructions on the next screen and any browser prompts.
Enter your email address and password that you used to create your account and optionally name this computer. You may never use the computer name, but it might be handy in the future because you can see which computer you used to change a file (if you ever edit these files on more than one computer or a shared folder).
Select the amount of storage you would like and the price per month. I have assumed that you will initially use the free service and the 2 GB (plus any bonus). You can always upgrade at any time in the future. I am finding that you can save a lot in 2 GB as you don’t need to synchronise everything.
Choose Typical or advanced setup. You should probably start with Typical which will create a new empty folder for you to start to use. The advanced option lets you choose a specific folder and selective synchronisation. You can always change this later from preferences if you find your needs become more specific.
Once you press install the magic happens.
After installation there is a short tour, I would suggest you read the next 5 screens and click next as they describe how Dropbox works and where to go on the web or your desktop to share files and folders easily.
After the tutorial is finished click ‘Finish’. Congratulations – you have Dropbox installed and you will see the default dropbox setup with a Getting Started.pdf placed into it. You might notice the little green tick or blue arrows in a circle at the bottom of the file icons. this is how you can tell Dropbox is working. Blue means it is being updated to the web and all your computers. Green means the process is complete.
As you work you may notice little notification pop-ups appear in your task bar to tell you when files are updated. You can always turn these off if they annoy you by using preferences. I find them useful – particularly if you share a folder with someone else. I can see when clients drop new images of updates for me into our shared folder.
One thing to watch out for is that any files in the shared folder come out of the total space available for both users!
If you need more Dropbox storage space
If you need more space you can upgrade to a paid subscription at any time. If you only need a little more (or if you think the service is fantastic) you can refer to friends and you will find your own referral link by clicking the ‘get more space free’ link and using the three options of email, twitter or link.
My link when I look at the bottom of this screen is http://db.tt/83xLPPL but yours will be different. If the person you invite decides to accept and installs Dropbox then you both get a bonus 250 MB which I think is really nice – something for both!
You can also get 250 MB by launching Dropbox on the web and choosing the ‘Get Started’ tab and completing some of the simple tasks. Taking the first task which is the Dropbox tour has a great video that give you some more ideas about how you can use Dropbox.
Here’s to always having the latest copy of your digital stuff with you when you want it!
your ‘peoples geek’