Files on BOTH Computer and Dropbox Online Storage
February 16, 2009 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Having settled on Dropbox as a way to backup files, how do I save files to my computer AND to My Dropbox. All I see is how to MOVE the file - I want to have it in both locations - my computer and Dropbox but don't see a choice on the s/w to make that happen.
posted by cmh0150 to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: By default, this is what dropbox does. It maintains a local copy, on your disk, and then syncs that data to the cloud as necessary. What you're seeing is a local folder, not a mounted internet drive.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:53 AM on February 16, 2009

Response by poster: ahhh... where do i find the local copy on my computer...

and thanks!
posted by cmh0150 at 10:54 AM on February 16, 2009

Best answer: If I understand the dropbox mentality correctly, you don't keep two copies of files around, you just store them in "the dropbox". It represents a local cache that is backed up to their servers, so anything you put in there should be available to you locally, even when offline. You could manually setup a folder on your machine that you rsync to the local dropbox, but then why use dropbox?

Is there something you can't do with a file in the dropbox?
posted by nomisxid at 10:56 AM on February 16, 2009

Response by poster: mmm... i think my question was a bit quick...

what you are saying is the folder that says my dropbox is a local folder on my computer... and that somewhere on the internet, my documents are also being held...
posted by cmh0150 at 10:56 AM on February 16, 2009

yes. the seamless backup is service they offer.
posted by phil at 11:04 AM on February 16, 2009

Best answer: what you are saying is the folder that says my dropbox is a local folder on my computer... and that somewhere on the internet, my documents are also being held...

that is correct. You should be able to navigate to, and work from, the dropbox folder just like any other local folder, with all the magic synchro stuff happening in the background.

Obviously there are practical limitations that you have to be aware of, ie, I copy a 1gb file into my local dropbox, it's going to take some time before that file will be fully backed up to the remote service. The other side effect is that if I've got my dropbox setup on 2 machines, putting files into the box on machine 1, is going to be taking up space on machine 2, as the files get synched up.
posted by nomisxid at 11:16 AM on February 16, 2009

Response by poster: never thought about the synching to another computer... thanks again
posted by cmh0150 at 11:45 AM on February 16, 2009

If you have spare hard disk space locally, and syncing between computers is not so important, then just copy and paste your files into dropbox. That does use up double as much local disk space, but it preserves your structure of folders so you can find stuff easily.
posted by roofus at 11:48 AM on February 16, 2009

Everyone's right, but sometimes it's a pain to move the entire directory due to access issues. If I have something referencing a file in a folder, moving the folder will break everything. That's where this comes in:

How to sync folders (or files) that exist outside the "My Dropbox" folder.

Basically, you create a symlink inside the Dropbox folder that points to another folder. Dropbox will follow that symlink and sync that folder; meanwhile, you actually do have a local copy on the machine, without having to move it or anything.
posted by suedehead at 11:53 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lifehacker happened to cover the creation of symlinks just today, seems like it is on more than ones person mind.

posted by silsurf at 9:33 AM on February 17, 2009

Please be aware that Dropbox is not a good backup solution for some types of failures. Sure, if your hard drive goes down, you will have copies elsewhere. But that isn't the only thing that can go wrong. Say you accidentally save a file over an old one. Not only is the old one gone from your computer, Dropbox will overwrite the remote copy as well. Local corruption of Dropbox files will propagate the the remote copies as well.

Personally, I use CrashPlan and back up to some computers that I own. CrashPlan can do versioning of files, so you can get corrupted copies back.
posted by procrastination at 11:38 AM on February 17, 2009

procrastination: Dropbox does versioning as well.
posted by suedehead at 10:39 PM on February 21, 2009

Well, I see I was completely wrong. While I use dropbox for syncing, I didn't realize it did versioning. Never mind, then.
posted by procrastination at 7:34 AM on February 22, 2009

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