Using Dropbox for Syncing Computers

I tried Dropbox when I was doing my first MSc module.

As the course involved writing code and documents, I would work during the day when I was onsite on my laptop, then switch to my desktop to continue working for the week.

Naturally, I would forget to copy something to my laptop ready for the following week, so I tried Google Docs and blogged about it here. Pretty good – just a little clunky and not quite up to the job with the maths symbolic stuff I needed to use.

In a comment to that post, Luke Maciak suggested Dropbox. (Incidentally, I can recommend his blog for entertaining reading too)

Using it, I get an online repository where I can put files, and I can download client software for my (Windows when I was running Windows) and Linux machines.

The client software gives me a ‘Dropbox’ folder. Placing any files in there synchronizes them with the online repository. Any files I’ve added or updated on other machines are synchronized down from the repository, and I can get to and share my files via the Dropbox website as well.

The main difference for me is that Dropbox is completely transparent. It’s just files in that folder. No messing.

So far*, it just works – in fact, I’ve started using to to share some of my Ubuntu desktop configuration. Everything behaves exactly as I expect it to, and there’s been no nasty surprises, so I’d tentatively recommend it if you have multiple computers that you want to keep files in sync across.

You get the first 2GB of space free. If you’re interested in giving it a go, you can get Dropbox here.

*of course, tomorrow it will probably break. That’s computers for you. I’d suggest taking your own, separate backups of that ol’ Dropbox folder now and again, just in case.