If you’re working on multiple computers at home, work or other location, you like to have access to your files anywhere and anytime. Dropbox can help you to have access your files from different computers. It offers so many possibilities that for every computer user there is an interesting application available. This synchronization and backup tool offers free online storage and synchronizes the contents quickly and efficiently with the locally stored files.
A Dropbox account can be managed from multiple computers online, so the saved files are accessable from multiple locations. Although, there are alternative synchronization and backup tools available, but they are not that user-friendly as Dropbox.
The free Dropbox account has a 2 GB online storage and introducing new Dropbox users gives 500 MB extra per application up to a maximum of 16 GB. For normal use is 2 GB enough, but if you upload your whole collection of music, videos and photos a free account is not enough. Additional web space can be purchased.
How does Dropbox work
Dropbox not only offering free online storage, it is also an excellent synchronization tool which synchronize locally stored files automatically with the same file online. When you add, edit or remove files locally, at the same time the file will be changed or removed in the online storage.
With Dropbox you can share files with friends and family. They do not need to be a user of Dropbox to see your photos or other files. When you authorize other users, they can work together with you to the same file. With the automatic synchronization tool all users have access to the latest version of a file and you don’t have to exchange large files anymore through USB drives or e-mail.
Synchronizing files quickly
The files which are stored in the local Dropbox folder will be copied directly to the online Dropbox. If a file is changing local, Dropbox makes sure that the changes will also take place as soon as possible online. If there are changes online because another users did do some editing work, then this file also change on your local folder.
The limited bandwidth of the internet connection is the delaying factor in synchronizing files, this is very noticeable when a large amount of MB are added for the first time to the Dropbox. If you work regularly on large files keep in mind that the synchronization takes a long time. Dropbox uses an innovative synchronization technique which only upload or download the changed part inside the file. This technique involves synchronizing quickly regardless to the size of the file.
The user can reach Dropbox from any computer all over the world, only Internet access is necessary. A saved file can be edited easily on another computer. Also different computers don’t need to have the same type of operating system, Dropbox can be installed also on Mac and Linux computers. And if it is not possible to install the software for Dropbox on a computer, there is still access through the web interface.
For synchronization a secure SSL connection established, and furthermore the synchronized files are encrypted with AES-256. Synchronization is fairly well protected, but this does not mean that all confidential documents are entrusted to Dropbox. Be careful with placing online important or confidential data. The online files are directly accessible to everyone who get to know e-mail address and password. To ensure the safety of the login details it is wise not to save password in the browser and change the password regularly.
How to install Dropbox
The program is available at Dropbox.com and the download size is about 14MB, it takes a couples of minutes for downloading depending on the Internet connection. The first important thing you have to do is to create a new account which is needed to access the personal Dropbox on the server.
Choose the free version which has 2 GB web space and select Advanced installation. The default Dropbox folder is C:\user\user folder, but if you want another folder select I want to choose where to put my Dropbox and click Change.
In the next step you can choose which folders you want to sync or all folders. Dont change it now, this can be done later in the Preferences.
The created Dropbox account can also be used on other computers. The installation is much the same as described above, only check the box that a Dropbox account is already created.
The Dropbox preferences can be changed by right-mouse click on the Dropbox icon in the system tray and select the Preferences option. There are only a few settings such as:
- Uncheck the Show desktop notifications to disable the pop-up messages.
- Enable LAN sync to make a rapid synchronization between computers on the same network.
- In the Advanced tab you can change the local Dropbox folder.
- Adjust the maximum download and upload speed limit in the Bandwidth tab so there is more bandwidth left over for other programs. This is not advisable when you regularly upload multiple files at the same time, otherwise it takes a long time to store the files.
The setup is now completed and Dropbox is ready for use. This program is nothing more than an extra icon in the system tray and a local Dropbox folder is created including the sub folders Public and Photos. There is an account created to reserve web space on the Dropbox server. The files in the local directory are stored automatically online on the server. The synchronized files are accessable either through the Windows Explorer, the system tray or directly through the Dropbox website.
Read in this article how to use Dropbox.