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Dropbox was the hottest tech startup of its time. It was originally created in 2007 by a team of individuals who were tired of taking their USB flash drives everywhere they went to access their files. Today, Dropbox provides their software to Windows, Mac, Blackberry, iOS and Android. Dropbox is one of the only cloud storage providers that allows you to increase your free storage just by sharing, adding people to folders and downloading their smartphone app.A great cloud backup option for those who want a lot of free storage and simplified backups.
- Can increase free storage just by sharing and downloading apps
- Save directly to Dropbox
- Quick and easy file sharing
- Syncs across multiple devices
- Reliable uptime
- Remote wipe feature with Pro plans
- Not as strong security as other services
- Limited tech support
- Does not automatically scan computer for new files – you must manually add what you want stored
Access: (Rating: 10/10)
Dropbox is easy to manage. You can access your account via their online sign in or just through the downloaded software. Their software operates like part of your hard drive – allowing you to save right to it from open programs. If you add users to your account, you can manage their permissions with ease online. You can backup from your computer, automatically backup photos you take with your smartphone and everything syncs – giving you instant access to your files.
Backup: (Rating: 9/10)
Backing up is extremely easy with Dropbox. You can drag and drop files into the downloaded software or upload them online. Photos and files on your smartphones can be automatically updated just by downloading and installing the Dropbox app. Anything stored in Dropbox is automatically backed up again when it changes. There are no file type restrictions, but you are limited to a certain amount of storage space. You can backup files from your external hard drive and NAS as well. Only the files saved to Dropbox directly will update; therefore, if you have a new file, you must manually add it to Dropbox to back it up.
Restore: (Rating: 10/10)
Because everything is stored online with Dropbox, you can restore single files or entire folders just by downloading them back onto your computer or device hard drive. They do not do a restore to your door though, it is all based on downloads. But, this is a common practice for numerous cloud storage providers.
Share: (Rating: 10/10)
Dropbox gets sharing. You have the option of inviting people to any folder within your Dropbox and they can access, edit and download files. You can also set their permissions – ensuring they do not access anything you don’t want them to. If you just want to share a single file, Dropbox allows you to send specific share links to that file. Even better, if you share folders with others, you automatically increase your free storage space.
Sync: (Rating: 9/10)
Dropbox lets you keep accessing and editing files no matter where you are. You can start a document at home, work on it on the bus, and then access it at school to print out for the teacher. They have apps for devices, your computer and online – and everything synchronizes the moment it is saved. You may encounter conflicted copies if two computers open the same file at once, but this lets you track the changes made.
Security: (Rating: 8/10)
Dropbox does take security seriously. They secure files using a 256-bit AES encryption as well as a two-step verification. Your account is password protected and to access the app or software installed on your computer, you need to have the account password. Dropbox does use geo-redundant storage and has excellent uptime. But, they do not have as in-depth security as some other cloud storage providers.
Help & Support: (Rating: 6/10)
Dropbox has an in-depth online help center that covers just about every category of question you could come up with. They also have a user forum where you can see past questions and answers or post a question yourself. Tech support is done online and is not as extensive as other cloud backups. There is no live chat, but there is an email option.
No Bandwidth Caps
No File Size Restrictions
No File Type Restrictions
Help and Support
Restore Individual Files
Version History: 30
NAS Drive Support
External Drive Support
Encrypted File Transfer
Encrypted File Storage
What we Like About Dropbox
Free, Increasable Storage: Most cloud storage providers have some sort of free plan, but almost none allow you to increase your free storage as high as 16GB without ever paying a dime. Dropbox offers numerous ways for you to add more free storage – meaning you may never have to pay.
Easy File Sharing: Sharing with Dropbox is easy. You just add people to folders or send them a Dropbox link from your online account. You are in complete control of who accesses your Dropbox files – and you can take away permissions just as fast as you hand them out.
Remote Wipe: This is only available with the Pro plan, but it is a great feature. If you lose your smartphone, tablet or computer, you can remotely wipe all information from that computer – ensuring no one accesses your Dropbox account or personal files.
Easier Backups: You can save to Dropbox just like your hard drive. So if you are working on a file in Word, you can just save it to a file in Dropbox without having to drag and drop the file into your storage later. It makes backing up new files a breeze.
File Syncs: You can access your Dropbox files, edit them, and save them again on any device you have the Dropbox software or app installed on. This is great for students or even individuals who want constant access to their files.
History: Online you can see a detailed history of your Dropbox account – including what file was updated, when and who (if you shared it). You can also recover deleted files online – but not through the downloaded software.
What we Don't Like about Dropbox
Security Could be Better: While they have great encryption, the security could be a little better with Dropbox. Some companies use as high as 448-bit encryption.
Limited Customer Assistance: The tech support and customer assistance is highly limited. You cannot reach someone for emergencies and submitting your requests are done online – which may pose a problem if someone has an urgent request.
No Automatic Backups: Dropbox doesn’t scan your computer for new files to automatically backup. Instead, only the files you drag and drop into Dropbox are updated as they change. So, if you do not add it to Dropbox and your computer crashes, you will lose any files you didn’t manually add to the system.
No Restored to Door: It would be nice if you could order a disc or hard drive of all of your Dropbox files for restoring. But, you can still download them off the internet – as long as you manually put the file in the Dropbox account to back up in the first place.
How to Backup with Dropbox
Backing up files with Dropbox is probably one of the simpler processes. After creating your account, download the software to your computer. Then, drag and drop which folders you want to save to your Dropbox account. Think of Dropbox as your second hard drive. So instead of selecting your “C Drive” you would just save things to Dropbox.
Remember that Dropbox doesn’t automatically scan your computer for new files. Only what you add to Dropbox is updated automatically. So if you create a new file in your system, add a copy to Dropbox.
The same principle applies when backing up external hard drives, device and NAS drives. You will have to manually add the files and folders to Dropbox for storage.
How to Restore Using Dropbox
To restore with Dropbox you have two options:
Restore from Desktop
Open up the Dropbox software on your desktop and you have instant access to all files. You can open and edit them and save them straight to Dropbox or you can copy the file over to your hard drive.
Restore from Online
Restoring from online takes more time, because you will have to manually download the files to your hard drive. But, you will log in to your account and select which files you want to restore.
Restoring Deleted Files
Online Dropbox does save your deleted files. Simply click on “Show Deleted Files” to see all deleted folders and files from your Dropbox. You can open the files in the online software and restore them all or just restore a single document – depending on what you are trying to recover.
Dropbox is a personal cloud storage provider that offers mobile access and the opportunity to grow your free cloud storage. But, just because they are free does not mean they are lacking in security. Dropbox offers robust security features and collaboration that make them a worthy candidate for your cloud storage needs.