Dropbox–Sync and Share Files Easily

Last week, I talked about the 3 best features of Windows Live Mesh. I concluded by sayinimageg it was hard to recommend for folks with beginner/intermediate computer skills. It’s a bit complicated and clunky in my opinion.

Dropbox

is a great alternative to Live Mesh for syncing files and folders between computers you own and also for sharing specific folders with business associates or friends.

It’s super easy to use – here are the steps.

  1. Download the application and install it (there’s a quick video tour too)
  2. After installation, set up your account with an email address
  3. Launch Dropbox from your system tray, start menu, or go to the web
  4. Start adding files and/or folders to your Dropbox space
  5. To share, you’ll need to go to the web interface, click on the sharing tab and follow the simple instructions to share a folder (you can’t share individual documents), with one or multiple people.

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I installed the application on three computers using the same email address and login and wa-la, the folders I put in Dropbox on my first computer showed up across all three computers. I tried putting files in my Dropbox on one computer, and checking the folder on another and everything synced up just like it was supposed to.

But wait, there’s more. Dropbox gives you the handy ‘Events’ tab (see illustration above), to show you everything going on in your Dropbox. So when you add, take away, invite someone to share, or remove someone from sharing a folder, it all shows up under the events tab.

drop box help items

Clicking on the ‘Help’ tab will get you this comprehensive list of topics that will cover just about any kind of question you have about Dropbox.

The Getting Started section is very thorough, giving you information on anything you need to know – from what kinds of files can you put in to how much space you have and how to upgrade your account.

You’ll note that Dropbox can be used with many specific mobile devices as well as any phone with a browser.

If you’re wondering about security, Dropbox uses AES-256 encryption. They say no Dropbox employee can access any customer’s account and this level of encryption is what banks and the military uses. It’s up to you what you decide to put in it, I choose not to put what I consider private, or sensitive data in it – you just never know.

Conclusion-Advantage Dropbox

Dropbox is simpler to use because it’s a stand alone application that only does one thing – stores, syncs and shares files.

You’ll have access to your files from any web browser, so no more emailing files to yourself or finding out you didn’t get one critical file you needed. Put  files and folder on one computer and it will appear on all computers you have set up with the same Dropbox account credentials.

I think it’s easier to use than Live Mesh. Dropbox always seems to be at work in the background with no intervention from me. When I turn Live Mesh on, it seems one of my computers isn’t  awake or running LIve Mesh or something’s going on that prevents syncing. That doesn’t happen with Dropbox. Give it a try.

sharing information in dropbox
Graphic of your shared folders-simply click on edit to add more people or remove someone

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