Dropbox. Google Drive. Microsoft Skydrive. Each allows you to keep a folder on all your computers that will “magically” stay completely in sync with each other (not to mention with your mobile devices), all for free.* It’s a remarkable ability. No more emailing files to your self or having to keep a small USB drive handy. If you want to get file from one computer to another, just drag it into the folder. That’s it.
They all offer gigabytes of free storage. Google offers 5GB. Skydrive offers 7 GB. Dropbox might seem like the skimpiest with just 2 GB for new sign-ups, but they offer many ways to expand that up to 18 GB, all still free.
‘Til yesterday, I kept a folder for all three services on the desktops of my MacBook and my iMac, and used them all pretty regularly. But something weird started happening. Items started mysteriously disappearing from my Skydrive folder.
Could I have spent an hour or so trouble-shooting the problem, uninstalling and reinstalling the software on all my devices to see where the problem lies? Sure. But why? It’s free software. And cloud storage is so abundant these days, I don’t NEED the space it provides. It was just easier for me to delete the Skydrive folders (and the app) and move on.
And that’s my recommendation for any free App on your computer or your smartphone that’s not working right: Before you waste time trying to contact tech support or figuring out a fix on your own, look to see if there’s a free competitor. Chances are, there is. Just delete the one that’s not working right and move on.
That’s the new paradigm. Embrace it!
UPDATE: I see Box.net now offers a free desktop folder syncing solution, so it looks like I found a replacement for Skydrive with no problem. I’m already downloading it.