If you’ve ever had your computer crash with one page left to go of a 3,000 word paper, then this article is for you. A lot of students who come into the Technology Service Center simply don’t backup their data. Even if you’re saving your work every 5 minutes, backing up your files is essential. You can save all you want, but if a file becomes corrupted or if your hard drive mysteriously catches on fire, you’ll be completely out of luck. There are a few different companies that offer solutions to this problem, but Dropbox is arguably the most popular.
Dropbox is a service that allows you to backup and share files via the internet, quickly and easily. You can save all of your schoolwork in a single folder and, without you doing a thing, Dropbox will copy all of your schoolwork to its servers for safekeeping (or sharing, if you’re into that sort of thing). Setting up Dropbox is straightforward and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes of your time.
Setting up a Dropbox account:
1. Navigate to http://www.dropbox.com (or just click the link) in your web browsers
2. In the top right corner, click the “Download” link. A new page should open, and a download link should appear.
3. Once the file finishes downloading, double click it and the installer should begin running. Click “install” and Dropbox should begin installing.
4. Eventually, the installation dialog should display a screen asking if you either a. don’t have a dropbox account or b. already have a dropbox account. If you haven’t already registered an account at dropbox.com, select the first option.
5. The sign-up form should now appear. Fill-in the required situation, give your computer a name for Dropbox to recognize, and click next.
6. Dropbox’s pricing list should now show up. Unless you wish to pay a monthly fee, select the free 2GB option. Pricing options on the paid Dropbox plans are availabe on the Dropbox website.
7. On the next prompt, select typical setup. Dropbox may now prompt you for your mobile phone number, this is optional. Only enter your phone number if you wish to set up Dropbox on a mobile device as well.
8. Continue through the setup prompt and Dropbox tour.
9. Setup should now be completed.
Now, inside your user folder (where your find your Downloads, Music, Videos, etc. folders) will be a folder titled “Dropbox”. Any files you put inside this folder will sync to your Dropbox account.
If you prefer not to use Dropbox, for whatever reason, there are a few different services that offer similar free plans (and use similar setup proccesses):
Good luck, and don’t forget to back up your data!