Getting Started With Dropbox Part 2 : The Best Free File Sharing Option

D ropbox is a great web based file hosting service. It supports Windows , Mac, Linux , iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android too. Dropbox l...

Dropbox is a great web based file hosting service. It supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android too. Dropbox let’s you carry your world with your pc or mobile wherever you go. Don’t miss anything! Store easily, carry everything and share instantly! The basic concept of Dropbox is, if you store any file under “Dropbox” folder (which will be created after installing Dropbox software) then the file will automatically be stored in all of your device if they are also connected with Dropbox. So you can simply have all of your data stored anywhere you want. Those files will also be stored in Dropbox website and you can check them using your log in information. So you need not to worry about carrying your PC everywhere and also will never be a victim of data loss! It’s the best and easiest method for online file sharing we have ever found. It allow users a lot of features which are merely available on paid service too. If you are a Noob with Dropbox, you can check our basic Dropbox Guides Here. In this topic, we are focusing on Dropbox’s getting started problems and F,A,Q’s. Previously on 1st part, we have answered 13 questions. Now in this 2nd part, we are showing the other’s. So get ready and join us after the break.

List Of Contents

  1. How many files can I store in my Dropbox?
  2. Can I permanently delete files from Dropbox?
  3. What is Growl? How does Dropbox use it?
  4. Is it possible to run two or more versions of Dropbox on the same computer?
  5. How do I change my account information?
  6. What is the Dropbox desktop application (client)?
  7. How much does Dropbox cost?
  8. How do I add files to my Dropbox?
  9. What is Pack-Rat or Dropbox Rewind?
  10. What happens to my old and deleted file versions?
  11. How can I tell if a file or folder is shared, public, or private?
  12. What is a system tray or menu bar?
  13. How do I know when Dropbox is syncing?
  14. Why do files move instead of copy?


How many files can I store in my Dropbox?

The number of files you can store in your Dropbox is only limited by the amount of online storage space in your Dropbox account. You can always upgrade your account if you need more storage.

Can I permanently delete files from Dropbox?

Yes, deleted files can be permanently removed from your Dropbox. You might want to permanently delete a file if it contains sensitive information and you want to make sure it is never seen again, like an old tax return or your aunt's awful-tasting fruitcake recipe.

To delete a file or folder permanently:

  1. Log in to the Dropbox website
  2. If you haven't already, select the files or folders you want to delete and select Delete... from its drop down menu
  3. In the file browser, click the Show deleted files button.

    The Dropbox website context menu
    Show deleted files displays which files can be permanently deleted from the website

    Any files that appear in gray were previously deleted and can still be either undeleted or permanently deleted

  4. Once you find the file/folder you’d like to permanently delete, click on the arrow that appears to the right of the file for a drop-down menu. Choose Permanently delete from the list of choices.

    Permanently deleted files can't be recovered by the user. Maybe now your aunt's fruitcake recipe can rest in peace.

What is Growl? How does Dropbox use it?

From Growl's website: "Growl is a notification system for Mac OS X: It allows applications that support Growl to send you notifications." In other words, Growl lets Dropbox notify you of any Dropbox activity right on your desktop. If Dropbox detects Growl is installed on your Mac, it will use it to display all Dropbox notifications.

Growl notifications appear at the top right corner of the screen. A Growl notification will appear whenever new changes are made to the contents of your Dropbox, such as a newly added file or a change to a shared folder.

what a Dropbox notification looks like in Growl
A Dropbox notification using Growl.

If you don't have Growl installed when you install Dropbox on your Mac, don't worry. You'll still get notifications using Dropbox's built-in notification system. Windows and Linux versions of Dropbox also have similar notification messages. These versions use notification systems built into the operating system

Is it possible to run two or more versions of Dropbox on the same computer?

At the moment you can only run one installation of Dropbox on a single computer and it can only be linked to a single account. Accessing another account from a computer where Dropbox is already installed (or any computer, for that matter) is as easy as logging in as another user through the Dropbox website. Otherwise, you can link accounts together by creating shared folders. Shared folders are designed to allow you to sync files between multiple accounts.

Another option is to use a different Dropbox account for each user login on your computer. While this technically means you can have several Dropbox folders on the same computer, you will have to switch between each user account to take advantage of Dropbox's syncing features. This method is best for groups or families that have individual Dropbox accounts and use unique user logins on the same computer.

How do I change my account information?

You can change your e-mail address and password via your account page. If you're a subscriber and want to change your billing info, you can do so from your billing info page.

What is the Dropbox desktop application (client)?

In addition to using the Dropbox website, we recommend that you download and install the Dropbox desktop application. This application integrates seamlessly with your operating system (Windows, Mac OS X or Linux), runs in the background, and creates a copy of your Dropbox folder on your computer.
Anything you put in your computer’s Dropbox folder gets automatically synced to the online Dropbox service, and to any other computers that you have installed Dropbox on.
The desktop application is really convenient because you never need to manually upload or download any changes to files in your Dropbox folder. The application automatically watches your Dropbox folder, and keeps your files in sync for you (any time you save a change to a file and are connected to the Internet). The desktop application even works when you go offline - you don’t need to move files out of your Dropbox folder.

How much does Dropbox cost?

All new Dropbox accounts and downloads, including the desktop and mobile applications, are completely free. Dropbox Basic accounts include 2 GB of free space (or more if you refer your friends). If you ever run out of space, you can upgrade your account with a monthly or yearly subscription to a Dropbox Pro 50 GB or Dropbox Pro 100 GB account.

How do I add files to my Dropbox?

When you install the Dropbox desktop application, it creates a new folder on your computer. It works like any other folder on your hard drive, except everything in your Dropbox folder automatically syncs to the web and to any other computer with Dropbox installed. It's easy. Move your files into your Dropbox by dragging and dropping them into your Dropbox folder. That's it. The files you dropped in will automatically be backed up online and synced to your other computers. You don't have to do anything. You can even save files directly to your Dropbox folder from any application.

Dropbox is better than a network drive. Files in your Dropbox stay on your computer's hard drive, so you can always access your files even if you are offline. Dropbox works in the background and will automatically sync any new changes the next time you are online.

On Windows 7

After installation on Windows, a My Dropbox folder will be located inside your My Documents folder by default.

Add files using the website

  1. Log in to the Dropbox website.
  2. Using the interactive file browser, click the Upload button. A window will appear.

    The upload window

  3. Click the Choose Files button and then select the files on your computer that you'd like to add to your Dropbox.
  4. Choose as many files as you like, and then click the Start Upload button.

The window will disappear, your files will start uploading, and you'll be shown a progress indicator. That's it, you've added files to your Dropbox!

What is Pack-Rat or Dropbox Rewind?

Pack-Rat (or Rewind in Dropbox for Teams) is a Dropbox Pro add-on feature that saves your file history indefinitely. Dropbox saves a history of all deleted and earlier versions of files for 30 days for all Dropbox accounts by default. If you have the Pack-Rat add-on, Dropbox saves those files for as long as you have the Pack-Rat add-on. With Pack-Rat, you never have to worry about losing an old version of a file. Pack-Rat is available to all Dropbox Pro accounts.

Upgrading to Pack-Rat

  • If you have a Dropbox Basic (2 GB) account, you have the option to add the Pack-Rat feature when you upgrade to Dropbox Pro.
  • If you already have a Dropbox Pro account, log in to the Dropbox website and add the account extra from your account settings.

What happens to my old and deleted file versions?

Dropbox keeps your files' version histories, complete with deletions and any changes made to the file, for thirty days. You can revert to a previous file version at any time over thirty days after you accidentally make a bad edit or delete a file. Thirty days is more than enough for most. If you fear that thirty days isn't enough for you, upgrading your account to Dropbox Pro also gives you the option of adding unlimited undo history via the Pack-Rat account extra. Dropbox Pro accounts with Pack-Rat keep all deleted files and old versions indefinitely. Pack-Rat might be important to you if you make a lot of changes to valuable files and might want to go back in time to recover a lost or forgotten version.

How can I tell if a file or folder is shared, public, or private?

When you first install Dropbox, you have two folders in your Dropbox by default: The Public folder and the Photos folder. These folders have unique sharing functions, which is why they are installed by default. Outside of these folders, anything you store in your Dropbox is private and accessible only by you. However, you can also create a third type of folder by inviting others to share the folder. Shared folders are accessible only by those you invite.

Normal folders are your standard operating folders. They work just like any other folder on your hard drive. Move, copy, and rename the folders and its contents just like you would any other folder. As long as the folder is in the Dropbox folder, everything in it will be synced online and to your other computers.

Normal folders are secure. Everything in these folders is accessible using your login only. In other words, they are completely secure and inaccessible to anyone but you. Normal folders can become shared folders. More on that below.

Everything in your Public folder is accessible to anyone online. Each file in your Public folder has a public link you can use to allow anyone to access the file. It's especially helpful to use these links for sharing files through social media sites or other websites. Anyone can use and share these links too. It's like your own personal, easy to use web or FTP server.

The Photos folder automatically creates online galleries. Any image files you move or copy to your Photos folder are automatically included in an online gallery anyone can view from the Dropbox website. People can download the photos or view them as a slideshow. Because you don't have to deal with uploaders or uploading files through a website one by one, the Photos folder is the easiest way to make your images accessible online.

Shared folders and its contents are available only to those you invite. You can make any normal folder a shared folder, or you can accept someone else's invitation to join their shared folder. When you share a folder, you are prompted to enter the email addresses of those you want to share your folder with. Once the recipients accept your invitation, the shared folder appears in their Dropbox just as it does in yours. Any changes made to the shared folder are synced to anyone else who joined the folder. It's a great way to collaborate on a project and/or share files with others.

What is a system tray or menu bar?

Throughout our documentation, we refer to the system tray (Windows/Linux) or menu bar (Mac) as the bars along the top or bottom of your operating system. Your system tray or menu bar contains the Dropbox icon which can be used to access the Dropbox menu. items and controls you use to operate the applications and folders of your operating system.

When you install the Dropbox desktop application, Dropbox will insert a Dropbox icon on your system tray or menu bar. From this icon, you can track the progress of your syncing process and recently changed files, access your Dropbox folder, and set the application's preferences. The system tray or menu bar and Dropbox icon appears in different locations depending on your operating system:

On Windows Vista or Windows 7

The system tray appears at the bottom of the screen and looks like this:

If you don't see the Dropbox icon, it could be automatically hidden by Windows 7. Click on the small white arrow to show all system tray icons. Right-click on the Dropbox icon to access the Dropbox desktop application menu.

How do I know when Dropbox is syncing?

Dropbox overlays icons over the files and folders in your Dropbox and over the Dropbox icon on your system tray or menu bar.

For instance, you’ll know when syncing is complete when the Dropbox status indicator changes from a rotating blue sync marker to a white check mark on a green circle. The check mark indicates your Dropbox is fully synced.

On Windows Vista or Windows 7, the Dropbox icon is on your system tray:

During Syncing

Finished Syncing

If you don't see the Dropbox icon at first, Windows might have hidden it automatically. Click on the small white arrow to see all hidden system tray icons.

Why do files move instead of copy?

Given Dropbox's many online features, you may be surprised that the Dropbox folder and its files are stored on your hard drive. Your Dropbox folder works just like any other folder on your hard drive (even if you are offline): Files move instead of copy when they are dragged and dropped into your Dropbox folder.

In fact, we recommend moving all of your important files to your Dropbox folder. Working on your files straight out of your Dropbox folder prevents duplication of your files and takes advantage of Dropbox's sync and backup features. If you'd prefer to have your files in two places on the same hard drive, you still have the option of copying files to your Dropbox instead of moving them.

If you'd like to copy (instead of move) a file into your Dropbox folder, you can do so using regular operating system conventions:

On Windows Vista or Windows 7

  • Hold down the Control key while dragging and dropping the file into your Dropbox folder
  • Copy and Paste:
    1. Right-click on the file you want to copy and select Copy
    2. Next, navigate to your Dropbox folder or wherever you'd like to store a copy of the file
    3. Right-click anywhere inside the folder and select Paste

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