No-Thinking File Synching for Free! *

* Well, up to 2 gigs of space for free

Photo of Warehouse Storage Space For a moment, think of your worst nightmare. The imagery that rouses you out of a slumber with teeth clenched, clutching the bedcovers. No, not the bad dream where you find yourself at your high school reunion standing on the stage wearing only a cereal bowl for a hat and barking like an apoplectic prairie dog. (Um, that’s actually kind of a funny dream, isn’t it?)

The other dream, the one that perhaps you’ve had while awake, where that paper/dissertation/project that was on your hard drive/flash drive/friend’s computer is suddenly corrupted/not there/gone/wait/what?!?!?!

“Oh, noooo!” you’ll cry. “I knew I should’ve backed that up!”

We’ve all been there (yes, even the computer geeks who know better), and we’ve all been there because:

  • we’re in denial (e.g., it won’t happen to me and certainly not after I’ve spent 13 straight hours working on this thing.)
  • it’s a pain (e.g., I don’t want to manage backing up everything all the time.)

Ideally, a file synching option would:

  • back things up as soon as you save them
  • work cross-platform, so you could access your files from anywhere, including across Macs, PCs, and Linux machines
  • allow you to save your files to a normal desktop folder, rather than having to manually upload them via a web browser
  • provide access to files even if your internet connection drops temporarily
  • allow you to share documents or entire folders of documents with others
  • provide backups of the files you’ve synched, including the capability to revert to earlier versions or retrieve files you’ve deleted
  • and, best of all in these harsh economic times, be FREE

Well, friends and neighbors, try Dropbox logo.

Still not convinced?  Watch a video demonstration of DropBox.

PS. At this point in time, there are a lot of online file storage options available, but they all, in my opinion, have drawbacks that make them less preferable to DropBox for synchronization and backup purposes:

  • SugarSync: Costs money, and you have to manually add/get files via a browser window
  • Is free and great for file sharing and collaboration, but you still have to get into a web browser and manually upload/download files
  • Gspace: allows you to use a spare email account as file storage space, but, again, you have to manually upload/download files and have access to the Firefox web browser in order to access files


  1. Kathryn Propst

    Faculty and AIs shouldn’t use services like this to store student records or student materials.

  2. Amy Neymeyr

    I agree with Kathryn whole-heartedly, and, I would add, I wouldn’t necessarily store ANYTHING sensitive via DropBox. Why? If you read the terms of service agreement during registration (otherwise known as “that really long page full of legal-ese that I try and click past as quickly as possible”), you will notice it doesn’t really provide for guaranteed uptime OR for guaranteed privacy forever. While DropBox currently transfers files with SSL (meaning that people listening in on the transfer won’t be able to see the contents of what you’re transferring) and stores encrypted versions of your files on their end… just remember that this is a free service and its not unheard of for companies to change their policies, sometimes without notifying their users ahead of time (see: Facebook, for example).

    I would not recommend DropBox for long-term permanent storage, either, just for for making files you’re actively working on easily accessible, sync’ed, and backed up across multiple computers.

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