Up and Running with Dropbox
Illustration by Neil Webb

Up and Running with Dropbox

with Keith Gilbert

Video: Backing up your files with Dropbox

DropBox provides a very effective way to back

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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with Dropbox
1h 7m Beginner Apr 01, 2014

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In this age of connected computers, a culture of social sharing, and ever-increasing digital assets, it's good to know there are tools to help you manage your digital life. Dropbox is one of them: an incredibly powerful, reliable, and easy-to-use cloud storage and file sharing service. Keith Gilbert will help you get up to speed with Dropbox as quickly as possible in this course. Learn how to set up and configure Dropbox; use Dropbox for file backup, synchronization, version control, collaboration, and file sharing; and how Dropbox can extend the power of apps on your mobile devices.

Topics include:
  • How much space do you get with Dropbox?
  • Signing up for Dropbox
  • Backing up your files
  • Synchronizing between devices
  • Sharing files and folders with non-Dropbox users
  • Sharing photos and videos
  • Using the Dropbox mobile app
Keith Gilbert

Backing up your files with Dropbox

DropBox provides a very effective way to back up the files that are on your hard drive. Backing up a file is as simple as putting it in a special folder. Let me show you how. When you installed the DropBox program on your computer, the installer created a drop box folder on your hard drive. Typically this folder is located in your Home folder on your Mac or your User folder on Windows. So, if we look at my Home folder here on my Mac, we can see that there's a DropBox folder. And in addition to that, DropBox usually creates a favorite or a shortcut to it.

And so, we can see here that there is a favorite in my sidebar labeled DropBox that is a quick shortcut to that folder. To back up a file or folder to the DropBox servers, you just drag a file or folder into this DropBox folder. So, I'm just going to grab this Photos folder here and drag that over to my DropBox folder. And, it synchronizes it, pushes it up to the DropBox server. And you may have noticed that this little green check mark here changed.

It was actually a little circular blue arrow while it was synchronizing, and then, once it finished, it replaced that with a little green check mark. If I go to a different view here, those icons are certainly a lot smaller but they are still visible if, if you watch them. I'm going to, grab some additional files here. And drag a whole bunch of files over into my DropBox folder. And we'll see that the synchronization icons are being displayed here.

In addition, you can monitor the progress by watching the DropBox icon at the top of the screen, that's also animated. If I click on that, it also shows me which files have recently synchronized and how much longer it's going to take to synchronize all the files, that kind of thing. That can become important if you're synchronizing many megabytes of files, you know, it, it could conceivably take, you know, five or ten minutes or, or more to synchronize with the DropBox servers, depending on your file sizes. How quickly the files will sync to dropbox.com is dependent on your connection speed, of course.

Keep in mind that many of us have much slower upload speeds than download speeds from our internet providers at our home and businesses. Removing a file from the DropBox folder will remove it from dropbox.com. In other words, your DropBox folder and your storage space on dropbox.com are always in sync. Once you understand how this works, you can either manually drag files to and from your DropBox folder, to manage your backups. Or, what I recommend is that you use your DropBox folder as the parent folder for all of your work in progress.

In other words, just save right into your DropBox folder from your applications such as Word and Power Point and Photoshop and whatever other applications that you use. That way, as you work on your files, they're continually backed up without you even having to think about it. Backing up your files is quick and easy to manage with DropBox. Just put the files you want to back up in your DropBox folder or use the DropBox folder for your daily work and DropBox takes care of the rest.

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