Author George B | GadgetFIXX.com
I first heard of Dropbox about five years ago, when a friend invited me to join the beta version. At the time, I thought it was a free hosting service for websites so I jumped on the bandwagon. It wasn’t until late 2011 when I became aware of cloud storage services, and Dropbox was becoming quite popular. By early 2012, I re-invested in a desktop computer (mainly for gaming purposes), and I had finally upgraded to a smartphone a few months earlier.
Multiple Devices: Desktop PC, Laptop, and Smartphone
Until I re-invested in my desktop, my laptop was my only computer and all my files were stored on its harddrive and backed up on an external (1TB, 1000GB) drive. But by March 2012 I was sitting on three different devices which allowed me to send emails, read books, surf the web, listen to music and look at photos, and edit and share documents.
This became problematic when I was creating files on my home desktop, but later I needed to edit and access them on my laptop or smartphone. I slowly began uploading my work files, mainly Photoshop documents, on Dropbox so I could work on them during downtime at my job. This resolved a big issue, but I was finding that it was a fantastic benefit. Soon, I needed to edit other types of files that were stored on my laptop, and transferring them with an USB drive became an annoyance.
Insert drive, wait for drive to be recognized, find file on laptop, copy file to drive, safe-remove drive from laptop, remove physical drive from laptop, insert drive into desktop, wait for drive to be recognized, browse for file, copy file to desktop, delete file from drive, safe-remove drive from desktop, remove physical drive from desktop
You know what I mean? Try doing that with hundreds of specific files and see how long you last.
No More Headache of Searching and Remembering Files
Before I began using cloud storage on a regular basis, I would have to remember where I stored files that I don’t use or access on a regular basis but are of high importance. For me these files include resumes, photos, old projects that can be recycled, etc. Now I store those files on the cloud so that when they’re needed then and there, I can access them via all of my devices. What if your girlfriend’s dad asks you for your resume within the hour?
Freedom of Movement and Freedom from Lost Storage Devices
This is self-explanatory. I plan on traveling often in the next few months. This means I can create a file on my desktop when I’m home so I can fully reap the benefits of my 24” screen, but if I need to edit or share that file when I’m on the road, I can do it on my laptop and smartphone. I no longer have to worry about carrying my little USB stick and protect it like it’s my wallet. Less clutter in my pockets too.
No More Failed Drives
Ever have to replace your harddrive on your laptop or desktop computer? I’ve had to, and believe me, I wish I would’ve known of cloud storage when that happened. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about losing my most important files if my laptop decides to poop itself once again. This is especially important if your laptop is 2-3 years old. Your drive is likely to fail soon. I worked in a computer repair store, and half the customers came with harddrive related problems.
More Harddrive Memory Available for Applications
If you store thousands of videos and photos on your harddrive, you’ll notice it tends to fill up quite quickly, especially if your laptop has fewer than 250GB of memory. Not only will you have to be careful with what you save on it, it also slows down your computer significantly. My work applications include Adobe products, which require a few gigs of storage to install, and from experience I have noticed my applications work quicker when I have less clutter on my harddrive.
Sharing Made Easier
Ever work on a group project? Ever had to send a file to someone ASAP but you weren’t next to your computer? Ever needed to send a file to someone but it was too large to email?
Cloud storage allows you to share folders and files with your friends and co-workers by invite or with a direct link. This is especially beneficial if you’re sharing photos, movies, or other large documents that cannot be otherwise sent via email.
Many providers offer free 5GB of cloud storage. Google Drive and Dropbox are the two I’m currently using (for free). I haven’t needed to buy any additional storage yet because I’ve backed up my photos, music, and videos on my 1TB external harddrive, but that’s getting full too. I can definitely see myself investing in cloud storage in the near future. For a few bucks a month, it may not be a bad investment to have access to your files worldwide with any device. If you don’t want to lose important work documents, photos, and videos due to failed harddrives or lost storage devices, the cloud is your safest bet.