Click here for an update to this post regarding storage space, convenience, and mobile app for SkyDrive.
I really like having access to my files from any computer without having to carry a flash drive or external hard drive. Not to mention, my external hard drive bit the dust last spring and caused pain to my checkbook when it was recovered. Enter cloud storage to the rescue.
There are a couple of options that I have tried – Dropbox and Windows Live SkyDrive. Because St Charles Community College students automatically get a free 25 GB SkyDrive account when they activate their CougarMail, I usually suggest SkyDrive to them on the first day of class. By using SkyDrive, they don’t have to worry about forgetting their flash drive at home, leaving it in another lab, or having it drop off of that handy (but unreliable) key chain hanger.
I tend to use Dropbox for my purposes. I like having the desktop app that allows me to work in the Dropbox folder just like any other folder on my computer, and then having it automatically sync to my account online and other computers and mobile devices. The only drawback for me is that I cannot have the desktop application installed on my office computer, so when at word I must always log in to the Dropbox Web site. File and/or folder sharing is easy. At a recent conference I attended, one of the speakers said that he even shares grades with individual students using the share feature.
The 411 on each –
- 25 GB of free space
- Easy drag-and-drop feature to add files to folders
- Easy use with Windows Live Office apps
- Good option for large storage (max individual file size 50 MB)
- Can share files/folders with other users
- Wish it had a desktop app
- Biggest plus – ability to sync across all devices/computers
- Desktop app doesn’t require log in to use service
- Mobile app gives on-the-go access to view files from phone or tablet
- Easy to share files/folders (I use this with colleagues a lot)
- Ability to revert to previous version of file or deleted file
- 2 GB of storage with new account – added space through referrals (or there is a pay option)
Here are a couple of videos to see each option in action.
UPDATE: My new perk for using Dropbox. I recently attended a conference where the conference program and attendees list were available only online and as PDF. I copied the program, attendees list, and session handouts to Dropbox, then was able to open them from Dropbox directly into my iBooks app. Made everything feel plug-and-play. It was easy to view from the Dropbox app on my phone or tablet or as a book in iBooks, and it also made me really happy not having to carry all of that paper and the program book around. My back also loves paperless options. If I could just get the desktop option installed at work, I'd be set.