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dropboxcloud

I’m a fan of Dropbox.com. I use it daily to sync files and to share files with others. After initially signing up way back when I really liked how well it worked and decided that it was worth paying for. So I opted for the 100GB plan back then. This was also around the time that I was considering getting a second Mac for my personal use. I have a MacBook Pro for work and I wanted a MacBook Air for personal use and non-work travel. I had always hesitated against having two computers for the simple reason that I knew that they day would come when I’d be frustrated that the document I wanted to work on would be on the other Mac that I left behind. That’s when I got the idea of paying for Dropbox so that I’d have enough space to use my Dropbox folder as my “Documents” folder. This way whenever I was working on a project and saved it to Documents folder inside my Dropbox Folder it would automatically be sync’d to the Dropbox cloud AND more importantly to any of my other Macs signed in to the same Dropbox account. Yes I had solved my biggest fear of having two Macs.

Over 2 years later…

I’m now on my 2nd MacBook Air. I upgraded to the mid 2012 model from the mid 2010 model and Dropbox has been working great! I got upgraded from 100GB to 200GB (plus all the free space I had accumulated for referring people) and I couldn’t be happier with this solution. I not only have access to my documents on all of my Macs, but I also can access from my iPhone or iPad as well as a web browser on any device. I recently opted for their “Packrat” feature that now gives me unlimited file history/revision access. You get 30 days by default, but If I delete a document and need it back 6 months from now I can retrieve it from the Dropbox site. Yes, there are always security concerns with any type of service and if you’re concerned about security then it’s best not to store unencrypted documents online. Speaking of security Dropbox did implement a 2-step verification process making it much harder for someone to access your account. I switched to that method immediately.

My daughter recently learned a valuable lesson. Her hard drive crashed the night she returned to college after Christmas break. While she did have a Time Machine backup, there was some downtime between the crash and receiving a new hard drive/computer. She had no way to access her resumé and other school papers. Once she got back up and running she moved those documents to her Dropbox folder so that they would always be accessible. She just has the Free account, which is plenty of space for her Word docs.

Lastly I don’t Migrate anymore

For years whenever I’d get a new Mac I’d migrate from the old Mac to the new one. This is and has always been a great feature of Mac OS. However, the downside to constantly migrating is that you accumulate a lot of old misc junk on your drive from applications that you no longer use, etc. I’ve taken on the stance of doing “clean” installs from here on out and Dropbox makes this so much easier. When I get a new Mac I do the updates on it. Then I install my software (run those updates too) and lastly I install Dropbox which brings down all of my documents from the cloud. Lastly I set preferences as needed and I’m DONE! I regain tons of disc space with this method each time and my system runs FAST and rarely ever crashes.

You can signup for a FREE Dropbox.com account here.

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  • Steve Collins

    Thank you, Terry, for your description of how you use DropBox. What’s your strategy for accessing documents when the Internet is down or you can’t get a connection? Thank you.

    • http://terrywhite.com Terry White

      Dropbox stores the files locally on your hard drive in addition to the cloud. Your files are ALWAYS on your hard drive in the Dropbox folder whether you’re connected to the internet or not. I access my files offline all the time.

  • Fernando Lozano

    I might add that with Dropbox you always work on the files offline when on a desktop or laptop. When you update a file on say a laptop, that updated file is uploaded to Dropbox’s servers automatically to then subsequently be downloaded/updated on your desktop automatically. If you are offline at the time a file is changed, the Dropbox app will upload that changed file once you regain Internet access.

    On a tablet or smartphone, the default is to always go the the cloud (due to limited space on mobile devices). But, you can manually chose which files to keep local copies of.

    I use and love Dropbox also.

  • patrick

    Yes, you do exactly what I do. However, i do have a backup also to an external drive. However, dropbox is my primary backup.

  • rick

    You mention using encryption. If the MacOS native encryption (FileVault) is used, are the files decrypted before uploading to DropBox? So if I had a shared DropBox folder whould other people see an encrypted or decrypted file?

  • Guy

    Thanks, Terry, for someone finally explaining the way to use Dropbox. iCloud doesn’t work this way, does it? You cannot add anything except iWorks files?

  • Peter

    I use dropbox in the same way. I also have folders that I share with coworkers as we work collaboratively on projects. It can get tricky, but we have had no problems for two years.

  • http://www.macinchem.org chris
  • http://www.iteachGuitar.com Mary Jo Disler

    Just a “thank you” Terry. Always valuable to know long-term opinions. And, in the case of a particular company, to know they are continuing to develop & support their product or service – very important in the rather fluid computing universe.