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DropBox--copy or move?

What am I doing wrong with DropBox?  I want a service that will simply scan my HD w/o my prompting, back up everything as copies, and store it in some cloud that never darkens my horizon until I need it.  But when I started my account and began using Dropbox, it seems to A) require me to upload everything and B) have MOVED, rather than COPIED files I want backed up.  I hate this.  Should I give up and subscribe to something like Carbonite, or is there something I'm missing about how Dropbox works?  I read what I could find in the way of instructions on Dropbox's site, and I don't want to invest more time in this.  Am just sick of going to find a file and saying, "Hey, where is it?" and then finding it existing only in my Dropbox folder.
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Comments

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    Just put everything in your Dropbox.
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    I'm not sure what you mean about moving vs. copying files.

    When you make a copy of a file, you've got two files. If you copy a file to your Dropbox folder, Dropbox will sync that copy to the cloud. If a copy remains elsewhere on your computer, that copy will not be synced. If you move a file into your Dropbox folder, then it will exist only in your Dropbox folder.

    That's how moving and copying works no matter where you move or copy the files, though. It doesn't have anything to do with Dropbox.
  • thedanshermanthedansherman Maple Plain, MN
    Dropbox used to say that they are not a backup service. I believe they use Amazon's Reduced Redundancy storage, which means they can keep the prices low, but they aren't quite as safe from data loss. Or at least they were in the past.

    But, when you use Dropbox to sync 4 office desktops and 3 offsite laptops, it is hard to imagine a situation where all the copies would be lost.
  • I think it's the defaults I'm struggling with--Dropbox seems to assume I want to move files, when I only want to copy them.  In other words, if I select a file or folder and mouse it over to the Dropbox folder, it assumes I want to move them there, but I only want to copy them there so they will be synced to the service.  I don't want the folder system I have set up--and this is the other thing bugging me--to be messed up, and I haven't seen a way to upload to the Drobox site in any way other than one file at a time, so that the files don't get saved in their folder. 
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    The moving/copying thing isn't Dropbox, that is the default Windows behavior.

    I'm really confused about the rest of your comment. If you drop 1 file or 1,000 files in your Dropbox folder, they will all be synced to the cloud. It's easy to move more than one file at a time. Just select all the files you want, and drag them into your Dropbox folder.

    I keep all my files in my Dropbox folder. So I've got /Dropbox/Client Files and /Dropbox/Forms and so on. That way I don't have to worry about moving things in and out; everything is already there, because that's where it lives.

    Well, I don't keep my music in my Dropbox folder, because I use iTunes Match to sync that up.
  • If it makes you feel better, April, I had the same issue regarding Dropbox.I think the whole concept of cloud takes getting used to, where in the past you could move files all around- in and out of different programs and yet, they would still be on your computer.   I started using it recently based on Sam's suggestion and I like it, but  once you move it into dropbox, you don't have it on your computer anymore- which , obviously is the whole point.  I am used to having the ability to copy files and move from one program to another without the whole file disappearing from your HD- it moves it totally off your computer.  When I went to edit a document that I had previously worked on in Word, I went to Word and it wasn't there-it didn't even show up in my 'recently used docs'  list . Then, I couldn't find in dropbox either- that was a little disturbing. I do like dropbox because you can access your files wherever you are, and it's sooo easy, but it takes a lot of trust in the dropbox program- if it's lost there, is it lost forever with no back up? I just don't know that much about cloud computing.   There is sooo much to learn and do when you are first opening your own practice!
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    Laurie Gibson said:

    once you move it into dropbox, you don’t have it on your computer anymore

    Not true. Your My Dropbox folder is on your computer. Files in My Dropbox are both in the cloud and on any computers connected to your Dropbox account.

    I'm having a hard time understanding the confusion, here. When you install Dropbox on your computer, it puts a My Dropbox folder inside your My Documents folder. If you put a file in your My Dropbox folder, that file is synced to the cloud, as well as any other computers on which you have installed Dropbox.

    Understanding how Dropbox affects files stored on your computer doesn't require an understanding of Dropbox or the cloud; it requires a very basic familiarity with the way files and folders are stored and organized on a computer, which is pretty much the same way files and folders are stored and organized in your filing cabinet.

    If you never use the File Manager (click Documents or My Documents in your start menu), then I suggest you try it out now. It will make more sense that way than if you only manage files in Word, for example.
  • Just a query about Dropbox.

     

    I use it daily and find it indispensable as I have a branch office and all the files are in sync. 

     

    It probably explains it on their website but if I lost all the data on my computer, by someone inadvertently reformatting it or accidentally delete the dropbox folder  how can it be accessed from the other computers in my group. Would they also not lose the data as well by syncing to my computer?  No doubt the answer is blindingly obvious but an explanation would assist
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    If someone deleted the contents of your Dropbox folder, and those deletions were synced to your Dropbox account, and thereby synced to your other computers, you could recover the files by visiting your Dropbox account online, clicking Show deleted files, and checking the box next to the files and folders you want to restore. Then, go to More > Undelete X items, and Dropbox will restore the files on all the computers connected to that account.

    Hopefully, you would have another backup somewhere, just in case.
  • Laurie, it does make me feel better to see your post.  Sam, I do use the file manager--I'm fighting off feeling annoyed at the suggestion that my computer knowledge is that rudimentary.  I do not enjoy technology for its own sake, but I do know how to use the file manager.  However, I never ran into a piece of software before that either clashed this badly with Windows defaults on my system, or just wasn't totally compatible with my version of Windows.  I still haven't resolved it, but am expecting a lull to settle in with my practice next week until the turn of the year, so will fiddle with it then.

    None of this addresses my other question though--apparently Dropbox is not automatic.  That is, I have to move a file into the Dropbox folder on my desktop after I create it, in order for it to become one of the files Dropbox automatically syncs whenever I'm online?  I think that is the case, and in that case, it is at least not the whole solution for me.
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    I'm definitely not trying to be insulting. I'm either having trouble understanding your initial question, though, or something is badly wrong with your system.

    However, I can answer this:

    April King said:

    I have to move a file into the Dropbox folder on my desktop after I create it, in order for it to become one of the files Dropbox automatically syncs whenever I'm online? I think that is the case, and in that case, it is at least not the whole solution for me.

    Yes, Dropbox only syncs files that are in your My Dropbox folder. That's why I put everything in my My Dropbox folder. All my client files, business files, and personal files live there.
  • April,

    Let me give an explanation of how I use Dropbox, and hopefully that will help.

    Instead of having files that I create in a folder within "my documents" or a similar folder within my hard drive, I create it within the "my Dropbox" folder (which, on my laptop, is within the "my documents" folder). I simply use those as my files.

    I think that your frustration is due to a misunderstanding as to what Dropbox is intended to be. It is not so much a traditional back-up service. It is more so a cloud storage system that resides both in the cloud and on your desktop.

    Anything that you put in your Dropbox folder will sync. However, any copy that you have elsewhere on your computer will not sync. It is something that requires you to adapt a bit. But if it feels odd, I would jump onto one of the services that fits a more traditional back-up mold.

    Let me know if that helps
  • Yes, thanks, Jonathan--that did help. 
  • MelissaMelissa McCall, ID

    I have the same (I think) question that April has. Let me rephrase it to see if that more clearly states the issue.....I have files and folders on my desktop that I want to save in Dropbox so they are safely stored in the cloud (my external hard drive crapped the bed). However, when I drag and drop them from my desktop into my Dropbox folder, it does not remain on my desktop. I kept them on my desktop solely for the convenience of having those files and folders ready to access, so I am finding it frustrating and inconvenient to have to log in to Dropbox now to access those files. Am I missing something, or is this really just the way Dropbox works?

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    Just use your files in Dropbox. You shouldn't have to log in every time, though. If you've installed Dropbox on your computer, you can just open them from the Dropbox folder on your computer.

  • Dropbox only syncs it's "my Dropbox folder" with its cloud program. It sounds like you do not want to use your Dropbox folder as your default folder so, you will need a program to automatically sync it for you or you can manually copy the files periodically.  See, Dropbox assumes that you will convert your main "my documents" folder into your "my Dropbox folder". So it asks to move your files from that folder to your Dropbox folder. It's a one time question for Dropbox. If you choose not to change your "my documents" default to "my Dropbox" then you will need to use a syncing program. Otherwise, your documents will not appear in Dropbox. For example, Good Sync will sync and copy your "my documents" folder to your Dropbox folder. Good Sync was free when I installed it years ago. I don't know if it's still free. Be aware that you will be creating redundant folders, so watch your hard - drive space. People use Dropbox in lots of creative ways. For more details, try the ABA Tech forum. They have a list serve and it's free. Hopefully you can search their archives ;I am almost positive that I saw a discussion about how to use Dropbox as a backup file program. Or try the Solosez archives. I saw a website that teaches lawyers how to run a solo practice - it's called something like Solo University - maybe that site has some info. Or contact Dropbox support. Good luck.

  • @Melissa said:
    However, when I drag and drop them from my desktop into my Dropbox folder, it does not remain on my desktop. I kept them on my desktop solely for the convenience of having those files and folders ready to access"

    I think clicking and dragging moves the files instead of copying the files. Perhaps you can add shortcuts or links of the Dropbox file to your desktop. For example, you have a file named Pleading in your Dropbox folder. Can you created a shortcut to Pleading on your desktop? This way you are editing a file that's saved in Dropbox but you can quickly access it from your desktop. I think it can be done but I not sure. Good luck.

  • @samglover said:
    I'm having a hard time understanding the confusion, here. When you install Dropbox on your computer, it puts a My Dropbox folder inside your My Documents folder. If you put a file in your My Dropbox folder, that file is synced to the cloud, as well as any other computers on which you have installed Dropbox.

    I think this just answered my question from the other thread. It is at least sending me in the right direction. Still look forward to the other discussion, but thank you for laying this out in a concise manner.

  • I have my snapscan scan directly to my clients folder on dropbox. Word and wordperfect default same folder. Quicken defaults automatically to its folder in my dropbox folder. (Which I do not keep in my documents but is at the root c: - just my personal preference) so I guess I don't understand your issues. If you would like you can call me.

  • edited January 2016

    April King is 100% correct in the frustration, his experience is valid; Drop Box screwed up and they're blaming the users and the OS design. Everything but themselves.

    Answer but not quite the right solution:

    I posted a nice long rant here, but deleted it. In reality, it's not as bad as I thought, but it's still a bad way to manage files on a computer, especially a Mac. They are very misleading or they have very poor instructions, and even worse customer service for not addressing this very common issue.

    I have found the reason why it doesn't copy is because it never leaves your drive. It relocates it to the Drop Box folder in your home user area. They must have an app that monitors that drive and compares it to what's on their server.

    In short, you didn't lose it. Just go there and copy it back (hold down the "option" key while dragging).

    It is still a bad way to do Mac file management on Drop Box's part.

    I tried to find a "folder action" in the Mac that will auto duplicate it, but I don't see one. Google around for "mac folder action copy duplicate Drop Box files". I'm sure someone has written one. I know it is possible to make one in Automator when I find the time to fix Drop Box's incompetencies.

    Post edited by Aryu Gaetu on
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