Over the last two years I have had two external harddrives fail on me, and forgotten/misplaced my USB memory stick countless times. Each time I’ve thought that I should look for another solution, but never quite managed to do so.

Enter Dropbox.

For those who haven’t heard of it, Dropbox is an online storage tool that allows you to access your files anywhere, so long as you have an internet connection. Signing up for a Dropbox account is simple, and free. If you go to the Dropbox website you will be able to sign up for an account that gives you 2GB of storage space for free. If you use this link, however, you will get an extra 500MB of space, giving you 2.5GB. (It also gives me an extra 500MB of space too!)

Installing Dropbox on your computer results in an extra folder on your computer which you use in the same way as any other. Any folders or files put into the Dropbox folder will be uploaded straight away and made available to any other computer you have installed Dropbox onto.

My work computer doesn’t allow me to install programs. That isn’t an issue though. Dropbox also works via their website and gives you the same functionality plus extras. Dropbox remembers thirty days worth of changes to files. The Dropbox web interface allows you to track those changes, and restore previous versions of files – even if they have been deleted.

Why use Dropbox?

But what if you use a laptop? Why would you need to use Dropbox? Where Dropbox really excels is the way it allows you to share files and folders with other people.  Every individual folder can be shared with other invited Dropbox users. Once invited, every member of a shared folder will be able to add, edit, and delete the contents inside but will not be able to access anything outside of that specific folder. This makes it perfect for collaborative projects; rather than e-mail files backwards and forwards just pop them into your Dropbox. The trackback facility makes sure everything stays safe – if something is deleted by accident, you’ve got thirty days to restore it.

Files and folders can also be shared with users who don’t have Dropbox via a hyperlink – perfect for sharing albums of photographs with family, or sharing a presentation with the whole of your PLN on Twitter.

Increasing your free space

As already mentioned if you sign up for Dropbox straight from their website you will be given 2GB worth of free space. By following these easy steps you will be able to increase that limit significantly.

Step 1: Sign up via a referral link = +500MB

Step 2: Complete at least 5 of the 7 getting started tasks = +250MB

Step 3: Allow Dropbox to access your social media accounts and complete the tasks = +625MB

Step 4: Use the Camera Upload facility to upload photos = +3GB in 500MB blocks (you are required to upload 3GB worth of photos, but they can be deleted afterwards to free up the space.)

Step 5: Invite your friends to Dropbox using your referral link = +500MB per referral, up to a limit of 16GB.

So there you go; reason to use Dropbox, and easy ways to increase your free space. What are you waiting for?

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2 Responses to “Dropbox”

  1. Tim says:

    Dropbox is indeed excellent. An additional (free) service that I find useful is http://sendtodropbox.com which allows you to send an email to a secret address and the attachments are added to your dropbox.

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