But the true beauty of Dropbox is the syncing ability. I installed Dropbox on my work machine, a Windows 7 workstation. You install dropbox, give it your login details, and just like that it downloads all your documents to that machine as well (luckily it work well with proxy networks as well). It just hides in the system tray and informs you if any files have changed every now and then. But the syncing is where it gets interesting ““ any change I make to a document gets uploaded to Dropbox, and then gets changed on all my machines that use Dropbox as well. In your window it just marks the updated folders with a small green tick if everything synced. It turns blue while updating.
I also have a Windows Home Server at home, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dropbox installs on it without any problems. While it might not give a WHS add in, you can install it using Remote Desktop. So now my documents are backed up instantly on that server as well, because it has an internet connection. Sharing files:
Sometimes you need to share files to many people, but email is not the best platform. You can use dropbox to enable a “public” folder. You can then enable which people can access it, and then send them a URL directly to a file. This is particularly handy for larger file sizes – like say recordings of a meeting, which might be too big email. If you have a team of people who are working on a project, you can also set up folders that get shared with only the people you trust. If one of the teammembers changes a file, it automatically updates other machines which are part of the team. What about bandwidth?
Now you might wonder about bandwidth usage, especially with SA‘s current broadband problems. Dropbox is pretty smart in that first looks for another dropbox machine on your local network, and then gets the file locally, without using the internet. And it always just uploads or downloads files that were altered, not your entire dropbox.
Disclosure: I was in no way, shape or form given anything for this review. I just find it a great product. (This post was previously posted by me on Mail & Guardian Techleader, but just got a few updates. There are alternatives available, but they do not come close to Dropbox for sheer ease of use and multiplatform compatibility. Yes, an oldie but a goodie!)