Things We Love: Dropbox

Like many writers, I’ve learned how important it is to back up my work. Some of those lessons were hard ones. I’ve lost computers to viruses and hard drive crashes, had thumb drives implode, and had my backup hard drive (which was supposed to keep me safe from all this) unceremoniously kick the bucket. At different times I lost different amounts of writing – from everything but a few printed pages to just the previous day’s work. A few months ago I had a hard drive crash that would have cost me most of my writing from the last two years…

But not so, thanks to Dropbox!

 

I signed up for a Dropbox account a few years back. My husband introduced me to it, something he used for storing his software programing. It took me about five minutes to fall completely in love.

It’s easy to forget to back up work, and Dropbox removes that human error. Basically, the program creates a folder system on your computer, which you can use like any normal storage for documents. Dropbox automatically syncs your files with their online storage as long as you’re connected to the internet. From there, you can access your current files from their website and any computer (or device) you link up to your Dropbox account. You can also share folders with friends who use Dropbox.

And the basic version is free. (Which is more than enough gigs for storing docs.)

Two days ago we replaced the motherboard for my computer, which meant a reinstall of windows. When that was done, all I had to do was install Dropbox, log in, and go eat some snacks while Dropbox downloaded all my files to my new computer. Pretty sweet.

I’ve only ran into one problem using Dropbox, which they may have resolved since my experience years ago. If you’re downloading a file from the Dropbox website onto a computer that isn’t synced to your account (say you’re borrowing a friend’s laptop for a writing group since you forgot yours, for example), re-uploading the modified file and keeping the same file name can create version issues. The solution is simple: rename your document before you re-upload it.

Overall, Dropbox is an amazing resource. Cheap, easy to use, and it always backs you up. What more can a writer want?