Dropbox Review: Easy Backup, Sync and Sharing

March 26th, 2008 by Jerome Dahdah

Dropbox claims to be a very easy to use system to backup your files, sync them across several computers and share them with friends. I’ve had the pleasure of testing the beta and I can say it does achieve exactly that.

Dropbox: Easy Secure Backup, Sync and Sharing The thing that makes Dropbox so much easier than other systems is that there is no learning curve and no special handling required: just drop your files in a destined folder on your harddrive and the files are automatically uploaded to the Dropbox servers. Hook up another computer to your Dropbox and it’ll automatically download the files and sync them when you change them. The system comes along with a powerful web interface that not only offers access to your files from any web browser, but also lets you retrieve older versions of a file, or accidentally deleted files. Dropbox should feel very familiar to those who use SVN in their workflow, except that you don’t need to manually check-in and check-out files to keep them synced. A helpful feature is that before uploading an updated file, it will compare and check and only upload those bits of the file that were actually changed, saving a lot of bandwidth. Luckily, you aren’t confronted with any of the technicalities, it just “does stuff” and works and you don’t need to care.

Setup was surprisingly quick and painless. My only grief are the sometimes very slow upload rates (30kb/s when it could be much higher), but I suppose this will be improved during the beta phase. Also, I recommend that you don’t create and edit new files within your Dropbox folder, as its automatic upload does not have a delay and will start uploading before you’ve even given the file a name.

All in all I’m quite satisfied with Dropbox and I feel it will be something I’ll use regularly. Its ease of use guarantees that it won’t require your full attention or slowdowns to your workflow, making it one of those little tools you just won’t want to miss.

Check out the Dropbox screencast here and go sign up for a beta if you’re interested.

7 Responses to “Dropbox Review: Easy Backup, Sync and Sharing”

  1. nick says:

    It sounds like a wonderfully helpful product. Do you have any invites to share?

  2. nick says:

    If you do, please let me know at nasteffe (AT) gmail (DOT) com. Thanks.

  3. Mercedes says:

    Thanks for the information, this looks really useful so I have signed up for the beta version

  4. Dropbox says:

    It’s perfect service. We use it for share all projects files between our team

  5. Nick says:

    Drop Box is terrible. I use it on one machine and it can’t recognize that I should have complete control over the files I back up. When I change a file on my local machine I want it to be backed up like that. Instead Drop Box turns the new version into something called a “conflicted copy” and now I have duplicates of all my most important files except the most recent versions have been changed to “conflicted copies” and the old versions replace the original file name. That is not cool. I am uninstalling drop box and frankly I can’t take the risk that it won’t happen again so I won’t be using it at all anymore. Thanks.

  6. Jerry says:

    Sorry to hear that, Nick. I’ve been using Dropbox non-stop since I wrote this article in March ’08 and have not had a single problem yet, which includes syncing among several machines and sharing folders with a number (10+) of friends. Of course, quirks can happen with any software and what you describe does sound pretty annoying. You should definitely report your issue to Dropbox if you haven’t already, perhaps they can help.

  7. Paul Evans says:

    I use DropBox for transferring large (compressed) VM images and am very pleased with its simplicity and reliability. My review is at:

    http://sharevm.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/compressed-vm-file-transfer-using-dropbox/

    Pau