Dropbox is one of our favourite synchronisation services, partly thanks to its unambiguous simplicity. It places a synchronisation folder on your PC. Anything you put in the folder will be mirrored to both your online storage and any other PC on which you’ve installed the Dropbox client. You can also use the service to share files with others, either on an individual basis or by creating a shared folder. Very important thing is if you delete some files in your PC unexpectedly you can recover it from Dropbox server at any time.
Shared folders are not only mirrored between every PC you have Dropbox installed on but can also be synchronised between every Dropbox user who’s been given access to the share, making it incredibly easy to share project files between a team. A public folder serves a similar purpose, but is accessible to anyone who has the URL.
Dropbox doesn’t have an integrated audio or video player, although you can access and play such files directly if your web browser has the relevant plugins installed. There’s also a document viewer that is triggered if you create a direct link to .doc files, but it doesn’t support many other formats. There’s also a handy image viewer and slideshow interface.
Because Dropbox is purely a syncing service rather than online backup, all the files in your Dropbox folder will be copied to every linked computer, and there’s no option to include other folders or external storage. If you want to automatically back up your documents, we recommend using Windows Libraries to move your documents and pictures folders to sub-folders within the Dropbox folder.
Old versions of files aren’t normally retained beyond 30 days, but the Pack-Rat add-on keeps unlimited older versions. Upload and download speeds can be throttled separately, so you don’t slow down your internet connection, but there are no scheduling features, as files are uploaded or downloaded as soon as they change.
There are Dropbox clients for Windows, OS X and Linux, as well as iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry phones and tablets. Files aren’t stored locally on mobile devices, although you can choose to cache individual files for offline access. The apps allow you to upload as well as download files and can share and preview office documents, stream audio and video files and back up your photos. This wide support makes Dropbox one of the most versatile synchronisation services around.
If you’re clever about getting friends to sign up, plus taking advantage of additional capacity offers, you can get up to 18GB of space for free. If you want more space than that, it costs $10 (£6.56) a month for a 100GB. Higher capacity accounts are available. Dropbox is one of the best synchronisation services around.