Torbjorn Zetterlund

Sat 21 2015

How to get maximum value out of your Dropbox account

by bernt & torsten

With Cloud storage becoming more popular,  prices dropping, cloud storage gives you access to your files on any device wherever you are. Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud and Microsoft Onedrive are amongst the most popular cloud storage services around right now.

If you can get by with two gigabytes of stored data, it is free to use Dropbox. If you want more it costs 9.99 Euro a month which gives you one terabyte (a thousand gigabytes) of storage in the cloud. Which is sufficient for practically all individuals. There are several major advantages of storing data in the cloud.

  • The stored material is safely stored, you can download the files again to a new device, if your device breaks or is stolen.
  • Storing in the cloud also means that you do not need additional storage space on your mobile, tablet or computer.

Using Dropbox is relatively safe Dropbox is a prosperous business, so the risk they go out of business or your stored files would disappear is very small. Dropbox is a US company with offices in the United States, which means they fall under US Laws such as Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, which gives the US government the right to, without any court order, search warrant or other demand access your stored materials if they feel they need it. If you want to fly under their radar neither Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud or Microsoft Onedrive is a good option.

As with everything else, you would need a computer to set up Dropbox. Dropbox creates a folder/directory on the computer to store a copy of what you store in the cloud. In other words, if you have a document folder with 2 gigabytes(GB) of data, Dropbox creates a copy of it on your hard drive, to sync the data with the cloud. So if you have limited space on your hard drive, it can create a problem. On mobiles and tablets, it is easy and safe to use Dropbox as your cloud storage.

How to get maximize the value of your Dropbox account – here are some tips to maximize your Dropbox account.

Symbolic Links

However, there are a few ways to avoid Dropbox taking too much space on your hard drive. The most effective is to create a so-called symbolic link from the folder you want to store in your Dropbox in the cloud. The link actually consists only of a path to the folder you chose to save. To create symbolic links you need to use an application to create symbolic links. The link is added to the dropbox folder which is recognized by the dropbox app on your computer and syncs it with Dropbox in the cloud.

Use Dropbox as “My Documents”

It is quite simple to create your own documents folder in Dropbox, instead of using symbolic links. In Windows, right-click the folder you want to use and click Properties. Then select the Location tab and enter the path to the folder you want to use as your “My Documents”

If you are using a Mac, open the Terminal application and type; CD Dropbox and press return. Then type: In -s ~ / Documents / Documents and press return.

This will allow all new documents and changes you make to existing files to be directly synced with Dropbox in the cloud. Provided that you are connected. Otherwise, synchronization occurs the next time your computer connects to the Internet.

Using Dropbox for long-term storage / backup

If you want to use Dropbox to store, for example, old family photos that no longer fit on your hard drive, or just as a purely precautionary measure, you can do so by adding the content to its own folder in your Dropbox folder on your computer.


Then synchronize it with Dropbox in the cloud. Once that’s done, go to the Dropbox folder on your computer and select the function Selective search and select the folders that will not be used in the future.

Selective sync

Selective Sync is a feature of the Dropbox desktop application that allows you to select only the folders you want to be synced to your computer. Selective Sync gives you the control to ensure you have only the files you need on any computer. It’s especially handy if you want to save space.

Dropbox Account
Dropbox Account

A window will appear with a list of all the top-level folders in your Dropbox folder. The folders with a check next to them will be synced to your computer. Uncheck any folders that you don’t need to sync to your computer’s hard drive. Any folders you deselected will be removed from your hard drive, but will still be available through the website and on any computers linked to your Dropbox account.

Favorite a file on a mobile device for offline access

You can access a file anywhere, any time by marking it as a favourite. Specifically, this does the following:

  • Adds the file to the app’s Favorites tab for easy access (like a bookmark)
  • Saves the file to your Windows Phone or tablet for offline viewing
  • Keeps the file as up-to-date as possible

Secure your Dropbox account from unauthorized access

Obviously, security is important for those who choose to put everything important on Dropbox. To reduce the risk that an unauthorized person can take part in the stored files, or in the worst case hijack your account, you should enable so-called two-step verification.

Before enabling two-step verification, you’ll receive a special 16-digit backup code. It is very important that you write this key down and store it somewhere safe. If you ever lose your phone, or can’t receive or generate a security code, you’ll need this backup code for emergency access to your Dropbox.

To activate it, visit this page on Dropbox for detailed instructions.

Share Dropbox content with others

Sign in to Dropbox via a web browser and select the folder you want to share with others or create a new one and select it. Then, enter the email address of the person/persons who should be able to access the material. During Sharing/division, you will see the folders that may already be distributed and can turn off sharing when no longer be valid.

Save photos to Dropbox

It’s easy to store images on Dropbox from your phone, tablet or computer. All pictures you take are automatically stored in a photo folder on Dropbox. The images will not take up any extra space on the phone’s hard drive, but when the pictures are uploaded, you can delete the pictures from your phone to free up space.

On the computer you must enable camera uploads for photos and videos for your Dropbox folder so the images can be synchronized.


It doubles the storage on your computer’s hard drive. If you have large video files, it is good to go into the Selective sync when files are transferred to the cloud and then remove them so that they are only stored in the cloud and do not take place in the computer anymore.

If your phone plan does not contain as much mobile data per month, you better use WiFi to sync your photos and not turn on Use Cellular Data.

Although deletions are synchronized

If you delete something from your Dropbox it is deleted from all your devices connected to your Dropbox account as soon as they go online. If you accidentally delete something by mistake but not, for example, the computer is offline and your content are synced, you can start your computer without connecting to the Internet, copy the folder to another location on the disk. Then reconnect to the network and copy it back to Dropbox folder to sync. Then the file or folder will be sync to all your devices connected to Dropbox.

If you have a Dropbox Pro account, you can enable Extended Version History for $ 39 per year. Then you can recover deleted files even one year back in time. But the function starts counting from when you ordered it. Choosing a pro account when an accident has already occurred helps not.

Use Dropbox as image projector / slideshow

Dropbox has a built-in feature for image and video viewing. The carousel app is available for Android and iOS, and it makes it possible to display fancy slideshow and also frees up space on your phone by storing the material in the cloud. Carousel also works when you log in to Dropbox via a web browser.