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Sharing Files Between Computers With Dropbox

Updated on June 2, 2011

What is Dropbox?

Dropbox is a free program that allows you to easily share and backup files online. You can manage and edit your files from multiple computers (such as accessing your personal files from your work computer, and vice versa,) share your files with friends, and your files will be backed up online (encrypted and secure) automatically. If you regularly email files to yourself or copy files between two PCs with a thumb drive, Dropbox may be the solution you're looking for.

Using Dropbox

When you install Dropbox on your computer, you will select a file location for your dropbox. This can be a folder anywhere on your computer, or you can even use the "My Documents" directory. After the installation is complete, anything in the specified folder will be backed up online. Dropbox even keeps multiple versions of documents, so you can revert to an earlier version of a file if you make some mistakes before saving.

By default, your files are kept private. This means that only you will have access to them, but you can still access them on multiple computers. If you install Dropbox on another computer, and login with the same account, your files will be synchronized across the two computers. Any changes you make to a file on one computer will be saved and applied to the other computer as well.

If you decide to share a file, all you have to do is copy it into the "Public" folder in your Dropbox. This will generate a web address you can share with your friends so they can easily download the file.


Limitations

While I highly recommend Dropbox, it does have some limitations. To start off, you only have 2 GB of storage at your disposal. So you'll likely be able to save all your documents without incident, but you may not have enough space available to backup all of your pictures or  music. You can get an additional 3 GB (for a total of 5 GB) of space by referring friends. When a friend uses your referral link to sign up, you both get additional space added. In fact, if you use my referral link to sign up, you'll start off with an extra 250 MB of space.

Aside from referring friends, you can pay a monthly fee and get your space increased to 50 or 100 GB. While the service provided is worth paying for, I'm not really into monthly fees myself. The free service is more than sufficient for my needs, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy way to backup or share their files.

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