Ask a Geek: What Can I Do With Dropbox?

The free backup service offers much more than just backup

The Wonders of Dropbox

PSC0211_H2Douglas Fraser

Plenty. At its core, Dropbox is a free service that allows you to store up to two gigabytes of data in a folder that resides on the company's servers—and any other place you need it. The folder syncs to your computer, smartphone and other Web browser-equipped devices. There's nothing to configure, and it's surprisingly fast.

But there's a lot you can do with Dropbox beyond just backing up your files. You can use it to quickly sync files between your devices, and, since it's available anywhere, it provides an easy way to get a hold of information on the go. For example, you can upload recipes or shopping lists to access later on your phone at the grocery store, store nutritional information for restaurant menus in a PDF file for reference while dining out, or print important receipts to a file for safekeeping. To ensure security, all your files are encrypted; even Dropbox employees can't get at them.

If you want to get more geeky, store portable applications in your Dropbox folder that don't require installation. TiddlyWiki, which lets you create your own personal wiki—an editable Web page used for storing notes, links and other information—is an especially useful one. And be sure to keep Firefox, VLC and KeePass in the folder, so you can use your preferred browser, store your passwords, or play your media on any computer.

Lowell Heddings explains technology at howtogeek.com.