Backing-, and cleaning up Dropbox

Syncing data between computers isn't the only problem we've been fighting in the last few decades using them, but also sharing this data (socially) between friends has been at least uncomfortable. DropBox is a cross computer cloud solution that helps you do just that. But you have a quota, and you might need a backup.

You get a bit of quota when you start, and via referrals you could grow this to 5 GB. All free. And if you really need more storage you could upgrade the account to a paid one. But there's one problem with this cloud computing: Reliability. And while everybody has good intentions; your Operating Systems, your Internet Service Provider, and the DropBox service, and their provider, etc. The fact is: Sometimes things go wrong. And this blog post is just about that.

If you have a quota and you're using it for free, especially if you have multiple computers and they're all logged into DropBox you might fill that quota within a month, or a year. Eventually you will hit that limit. But if you are tight for money and not using DropBox for commercial reasons you might not be (cap)able to purchase an upgrade to get more quota. You need to clean it up. And there lies the problem. It's quite possible you have not copied but moved data from your real hard drive to your cloud computing hard drive. Or you have downloaded something and not stored it on the hard drive. Situations like that means that if you delete your dropbox to make more space, that you will lose those files. Or even worse. If your account gets cancelled or hacked and you can't get back in, whatever might be possible: You're out of your data.

First of all, get a DropBox account for free, you will get a 2 GB quota.

If you have one or more computers at home, or at work, or laptops in your backpack or at the parents. That's ok. Download and install DropBox on them and log in with your DropBox account. All the computers will share that account (a 2 gb quota total, not per computer).

Now here's the cool thing. Go to a web site for example. Download a picture and put it in the /Public/ folder from DropBox. Now go to the other computer and browse to the /Public/ folder: Boom! There it is. Shared. You can now easily access that file. There's also a /private/ folder so really only you have access to them by the way. But the /public/ folder has a trick. You can right click on the file and select > dropbox > copy link. And then share that link with a friend. And they can view that same file.

And oh my, what a joy this is. Once I installed dropbox I could sync data between computers so much easier. But also share data with my friends online. And not being limited by the restrictions from third party sites. Dropbox allows images, movies, media, text, zip files, etc. Oh, and it works on Apple's Mac, Microsoft Windows, and Linux distributions.

To grow your quota, share a referral link from DropBox with your friends, you can get up to 5 GB.

And if you have a file to share with friends, you can give them the link. It will load through their browser. They do not have to have a DropBox account, or have it installed. So don't worry about that.

With the new year starting I have simply decided to a) back-, and b) clean up my DropBox account.

Pick one or more computers and create a /dropbox/backup// folder and go to your DropBox folders and move the content from there into your backup folder. This will create space again in your DropBox account, and you will have a backup of your data on a computer. If you have enough space left on DropBox just copy the files, so your backup is actually a duplicate or what you have - even better.

Now if DropBox is down, or your account is hacked, cancelled or put on fire. You have an offline version basically.

I recommend to do this daily, for best results. But at least do this once a year! And I assume your normal computer backing up will auto include the backed up DropBox folder, so you will have a backup of the downloaded files.

If you have any DropBox cleaning up and backing up tips or DropBox experiences, post them here please :)