A neighbor brought to me a common problem the other day. Another neighbor of ours was working on a document for school, is convinced she saved it numerous times – yet now she cannot find it.

There could be a few reasons this happens. One possible reason is that she never really saved her changes. That is HARD to fix, (although there are things which you could do to safeguard people against that).

But there is a free product out there (you can pay for upgraded or business versions) called Dropbox which solves many common needs.

  1. Have you ever saved a file and then computer crashes and you can’t find it?
  2. Have you ever saved a file and then you’re at a friend’s house and want to open it, but cannot because your laptop is at home?
  3. Do you ever want to share large files or a number of files (vacation pix, for example) with a friend or family member? — Kinda hard to do over email!
  4. Do you ever collaborate with others on a project? Do you recall emailing a document, then it gets emailed back, but by then you’ve modified it again?

Dropbox resolves all these issues. Here’s how it works.

When you sign up for a Dropbox account, Dropbox gives you a chunk of space on one of their computers. You can actually use is online and just upload files to their server if you like. But the read power is in the desktop application. When you download Dropbox to your PC and connect it to your account, what Dropbox will do it automatically upload any changes you make to that folder to their central server. Dropbox will also download any changes to that folder to your PC and any other PC which is connected to an account sharing that folder!

For example, in my Dropbox, I have a folder called Church. In this folder, I maintain all of the powerpoint documents which we use to display lyrics and sermon notes at my church. All I do is create a document and save it on my computer. Then I walk away. While my computer is connected to the internet, Dropbox uploads the file to their central server.

Now, when I get to church I have a few options. One option is that I can go to the Dropbox website, log in and download my file. I can do this anywhere I have internet access. But what we did is we signed up for a Dropbox account on the church computer and so actually when I get to church (assuming the computer is connected and on) the file is already downloaded onto the church computer where I run the powerpoint. Pretty easy!

I’m able to move and modify files between folders on my Android phone, as well. And if one is changed or accidentally deleted? Dropbox keeps a history of versions of each file, so just find a deleted file or a preferred version.

Any questions? Leave a comment and we can discuss ways to use Dropbox or setup. By the way, if you are interested, please click one of the Dropbox links in this post. For using my referral link, we each get an additional 500MB space. Trust me, once you start using it, you will need it!

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