Online Backup and Storage using Dropbox


Dropbox offers File Sharing, File Sync, Online Backup, Mobile Device and Web Access. This allows you to have one dropbox which lets you sync your files online and across your mobile devices and computers. Just think, you won’t ever have to email yourself a file again! If you sign up for a Dropbox account you are guaranteed 2GB of free storage for life. Farther down in this post I have outlined a tutorial for how you can set up Dropbox for yourself, but first here is a list of some ways to use Dropbox:

  • Share Photo Galleries. Instead of taking a long time to upload files to a remote service, you can simply drag files from your computer or favorite photo management application (iPhoto, Picasa, PhotoShop Elements, etc.) and drop them in a folder under Dropbox’s Photo folder. Dropbox automatically creates a gallery for people to see. Just right click on a folder of images and copy the public gallery link; then email the link to friends/family/anyone you wish to share them with.
  • Password Synchronization. If you use a tool like 1Password or Roboform, you know how nice it is to have all your passwords in one spot. If you’re working on someone else’s computer or your work computer, suddenly you have to remember all your passwords. I don’t know about you, but my memory isn’t as good as it used to be and I depend heavily on Roboform. Now you can use Dropbox to sync the application (1Password or Roboform) on multiple computers.
  • Keep your Firefox Profile Synced. Dropbox is an easy solution to keep your Firefox Items (bookmarks, extensions, etc.) synced among multiple computers. Set up the browser the way you prefer it on one computer and enjoy that configuration on all your machines.
  • My Documents. Simply change your actual “My Documents” folder to your Dropbox folder. In Windows Vista or 7 this is extremely easy to setup. Right click on your “My Documents” folder then select the “Location” tab, click “Move…”, then select your Dropbox folder. When you hit OK, it will ask if you want to move all your folders and files. Click Yes.
  • Shopping Lists. Create a plain text (.txt) file, then add it to your Dropbox. Every computer and cell phone can open a .txt file.
  • Contacts and Calendars. Keeping contacts and calendars in sync among multiple computers is a good idea. If you still use a desktop email client such as Outlook, use a Dropbox location to keep in sync.

TUTORIAL: For purposes of this tutorial, we will use a free account.

Step 1: Download and install the software

Navigate to Dropbox, download the software then install it. Start by clicking on the “Download Dropbox” button.

Step 2: Create your account

If you don’t already have an account, leave the selection on the next screen which appears after the software is installed set to “I don’t have a Dropbox account” and then simply click on “Next.” If you do have an account, you would login to your account, of course.

Complete the signup form. If you would like to change the computer name, you can change it to something else. Be sure to use a secure password!

Now it’s time to choose the size of your Dropbox. Choose one then click “Next”.

After choosing your plan, you will need to choose a Dropbox type. “Typical” is what is recommended but you can choose the Advanced option in this tutorial in case you want to change the location of your Dropbox and/or which files will be synced.

The Advanced setup allows you to choose a different Dropbox location.

The next Advanced option is whether you want Dropbox to sync ALL the files in your Dropbox folder or just certain ones. Typically you’d choose to sync all but the option is there if you need it.

Now, you will be taken on a short tour. It’s a quick tour of Dropbox so go ahead and click on “Next” until you’re done.

Step 3: Add files to your Dropbox.

After Dropbox finishes installing, your Dropbox folder will open.

To add files, highlight them and drag them to the Dropbox folder just as you would any folder on your computer. (Hold down CTRL if you want to copy rather than move.)

The files are now in your Dropbox so they will be copied to the Dropbox website and they will be available via the web and your smartphone.

To access your files on the web:

Go to http://www.dropbox.com and click on the “Log in” button at the top right of the screen. The email and password will appear once you click on “Log in”.

After you log in, you will see the files that you dropped into your Dropbox on the web.

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