Why I dropped Dropbox

Dropbox Dropped

In theory, Dropbox and OneDrive are awesome. Up to 2 GB of free space to store your data in the cloud. Access your files wherever you may be … as long as you are connected to the internet.

I am usually slow to the party when it comes to trying the very latest technology. I prefer to let the real geeks sort the bugs out. So it came to Dropbox. I had a need to be able to access some files on my desktop from my tablet as well. So I transferred the folder to the cloud (Dropbox) and everything seemed happy. While on my Wi-Fi everything worked flawlessly. Then I thought I would take my tablet on my school pickup runs so that I could do some work while waiting.

No Files

I was flabbergasted that I could not open the files offline. I couldn’t even open Dropbox. Wasn’t that the whole point of being able to access your files anywhere?

It turns out that it is possible to mark files individually as favourites if you know you need offline access to them and you remember to do it before going offline. This is more than a nuisance. It makes a nonsense of the statement “being able to access your files anywhere.”

Cannot save new files in Dropbox offline

In addition to not being able to access files offline, any new files that are created while offline cannot be saved to Dropbox. Rather, it is necessary to save the file somewhere locally and then remember to upload it to Dropbox when you are back online.

Dropbox and OneDrive will not even open if you are offline.

There is no way to configure it to allow all files, or even just those in one particular folder to be available offline. Each file must be individually set to ‘favourite’. Dropbox is not alone. OneDrive has similar problems.

Back to syncing

I do not have some complex setup whereby many users might want to access the same files at the same time. It is just me and two computers. I don’t need some overly complicated system; I just want to be “able to access my files anywhere.” So Dropbox has been a definite disappointment.

For me, it is back to automated syncing over Wi-Fi with no internet used circa 1995.

Lessons Learnt

This is a lesson. While I.T. Guaranteed can provide cloud solutions, our major government customers still prefer to have their data stored locally on their own systems, and that is the solution we prefer to deliver. I, too, like to know where my data is and where my backups are. It helps me sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that my data is secure.