Top 15 Cloud storage tips and tasks
No single cloud service can do everything. Some shine on the subject of streaming a cloud music collection from the net, but stink at syncing desktop folders. Other cloud services are great for sharing photos, but useless for reviewing a document’s revision history.
Because not all cloud storage providers are created equal, we checked out current offerings from Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and SugarSync, pinpointing the services with the precise attributes for accomplishing specific tasks. Along the manner we assembled tips and hints for performing advanced cloud storage tasks resembling merging multiple free cloud services into one massive free megacloud.
With such a lot of new and improved online services vying to become your selected online repository for documents, photos, music, and video files, why accept only one? Use all of them. Listed below are 15 awesome the right way to get the foremost out of the free cloud storage craze.
The Best How you can Sync Your Music Across Multiple PCs
You have many options for sharing a single music collection among several different PCs, akin to using the Home Sharing feature in iTunes or online services like iCloud or Google Music. Another alternative is to drop your music collection into your cloud storage folder and feature your desktop jukebox program (similar to Windows Media Player) point to that folder because the default music location. Then, when you install your selected cloud’s desktop client on all of your PCs, you’ll instantly download your music to multiple computers. Counting on the dimensions of your song collection, you have got to pay for additional storage to suit it all within the cloud.
Of course, you can even follow this tip to sync any variety of media collection, equivalent to photos, videos, or DRM-free ebooks.
The Best How one can Sync Local Folders to the Cloud
If you need to sync folders to the cloud without placing them inside your cloud folder, you will discover several services able to help. Ubuntu One from Canonical, available for Windows and Ubuntu Linux desktops, includes the facility so as to add any folder for your cloud storage without moving it.
Another option is to make use of the recently released desktop client for Amazon Cloud Drive . Cloud Drive doesn’t place a brand new folder in your desktop as Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Ubuntu One do. Instead, Windows users can right-click any folder and choose Amazon Cloud Drive from the ‘Send to’ menu strategy to sync to Amazon. The drawback with Cloud Drive is you can access your files only via an internet browser.
The Best The way to Stream Your Cloud Music Library
Streaming your music from the cloud is an extremely different proposition than syncing it across multiple PCs, since some cloud services (equivalent to Dropbox) don’t offer comprehensive music streaming features. Your best bet is to apply a dedicated online music service. Amazon, as an example, offers Cloud Drive and Cloud Player , which let Android and iOS users stream stored music files. You get 5GB of free online storage from Amazon Cloud Drive, and any music purchases you are making in the course of the online retailer’s MP3 store and save to Cloud Drive don’t count against your storage limit.
Music on Google Play, formerly often known as Google Music, offers free storage for 20,000 songs, and any tunes you buy from the company’s music store don’t count against your limit. Possible hearken to songs via Google’s Music app for Android 2.2 or later, otherwise you can use the Web interface .
If you reside within the iOS ecosystem, Apple offers a service called iTunes Match that allows you to upload 25,000 songs to iCloud for $25 per year. Your tracks, including iTunes playlists, then sync across your PCs and iOS devices.
Ubuntu One users pays $4 per thirty days or $40 per year to stream music from Canonical’s cloud service. Along with your yearly subscription, you furthermore may get a further 20GB of online storage, which provides you room for an additional 5000 songs. Besides, Ubuntu One offers music-streaming mobile apps for Android and iOS that come with caching, so that you can take heed to your music without an online connection.
TIP: Blast ‘My Documents’ to the Cloud
If you are a Windows user and also you want all your documents available inside the cloud, you are able to turn a cloud storage folder into your Windows ‘My Documents’ folder. I did it using a subfolder inside Dropbox with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview . To start, open Windows Explorer, visit Dropbox, and create a brand new folder called Documents. Next, visit My Documents, right-click the folder, and choose Properties.
In the My Documents Properties dialog box, select the position tab and click on the Move… button. Navigate to the Dropbox\Documents folder you simply created, and click on the Select Folder button. This action will return you to the properties dialog box, where you have to click Apply. A window will appear, asking whether to head your whole old files to the brand new Documents folder (click Yes). Now, each time you save a brand new file, it can visit Dropbox by default.
TIP: Sync Your To-Do List
If you save your to-do list as a plain-text file, you are able to then sync your list across all of your devices–including your PCs, smartphones, and tablets–because of cloud storage. Just drop your Todo.txt file into your Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive storage, and you’ll then access it anywhere you’ve got a web connection and a text editor.
You may also turn your plain-text list into an interactive smartphone app, with help from Todo.txt Touch for Android and iOS.
The Best Tips on how to Automate Smartphone Photo Uploads
Since you carry your smartphone everywhere you go, you’ve probably filled it with snapshots you never desire to lose. Many cloud storage providers will help back them up. When you have an iPhone, you should utilize iCloud to back up your last 1000 photos and sync them across your devices. Windows Phone users can discover a similar feature for SkyDrive. Google+ for Android has an Instant Upload feature that automatically sends your snaps to Google’s social network; your photos will remain private until you decide to publish them in a post. Dropbox recently added an automatic photo upload feature to its Android app, and Canonical’s Ubuntu One offers automatic uploads for Android and iOS.
TIP: Send Mail Attachments to the Cloud
Why bother looking through many months’ worth of email find attachments if you can just save everything to the cloud? Many desktop mail programs can help you specify where attachments has to be saved. Then, if you download an attachment, it is going to visit a single folder you can access anywhere.
The Best How you can Access a computer Remotely via Cloud Storage
Microsoft’s SkyDrive offers remote access to all of your Windows PCs, including attached external drives, which have the SkyDrive desktop client. During installation of the desktop client, you may be asked to authorize remote access. After the customer is installed, log in to skydrive.com on an internet browser from another computer.
In the left column, you will discover a ‘Computers’ section listing all of the Windows PCs connected on your SkyDrive account. Select the pc you desire, after which SkyDrive may ask you to go into a six-digit code sent via email to authorize remote access. (The authorization code is not going to visit your Hotmail account, but in your alternate email address that Windows Live has on file.) When you enter the authorization code, you could access your PC’s file system via the SkyDrive Web interface. To exploit this selection on a mobile device inclusive of the iPad, you will need to enable the computer version of the location on the bottom of the internet page.
If SkyDrive doesn’t interest you, SugarSync provides similar remote-sync capabilities for Windows and Mac.
TIP: Send Website Document Links to Dropbox
A beta service called URL Droplet allows you to send documents (which includes PDFs and spreadsheets) found on Websites on to your Dropbox, no manual download necessary. Simply join URL Droplet and authorize the service to access your Dropbox; URL Droplet uses the Dropbox API, because of this the service never sees your account password. Next, paste a link to the web document, and click on Save. The file will appear in Dropbox and sync across your whole devices.
TIP: Email Items On to Dropbox
The free service 0 Send To Dropbox 0 enables you to hand out a public email address in order that people can send things on to your Dropbox. You may have the service automatically create folders and subfolders according to the e-mail subject, the sender’s email address, or the date the document was sent. You can even tell Send To Dropbox to unzip archived files automatically and include copies of the e-mail messages sent.
The Best How you can Manage Document Version Control
You’ve probably heard that Google Docs has a built-in version-control system so that you can go back and view past versions of a collaborative document, but did you know that Dropbox and SkyDrive offer similar services?
Dropbox keeps a snapshot of every saved file over the past 30 days; if you delete an all-important paragraph and want it back, you can recover it as long as you saved a version of that file to Dropbox in the past month. Go to your Dropbox folder, select the file you want to see, and then right-click it and select View Previous Versions from the context menu. This action will take you to a Web page listing your latest file saves for that document, including the revision date and who changed the file. Dropbox typically shows only ten changes per page, so click the Older> link to see more changes from the past 30 days.
In SkyDrive, you can see version history by selecting a file from the Web interface and then going to File, Previous Versions. This action will bring up a sidebar with all of your latest document changes.
SugarSync also offers a version-control feature, but it is less robust since it keeps only your last five file saves.
TIP: Don’t Rely on the Cloud for Video Streaming
Cloud storage helps you access your files anywhere you can get an Internet connection–except when it comes to video. Since streaming video takes up more bandwidth than downloading a document or streaming music, how much you can stream depends on your cloud provider. During my testing with a 315MB, 77-minute M4V file, Dropbox streamed the entire content when I used the service’s mobile apps. But I could not watch the video in a mobile browser, and on my PC I was able to stream only a 15-minute preview.
Google Drive let me view the entire video content on the Web, but streaming didn’t work on any of the mobile devices I tried. In addition, Google Drive makes you wait while it processes the video file for streaming.
TIP: Encrypt Your Cloud
If security is a big concern for you, consider encrypting your data before sending it to the cloud. The easiest way to do this is to use 1 Spideroak 1 , an encrypted cloud-backup service that lets you back up specific files to the cloud and then sync them across multiple devices.
Another option is to encrypt your data locally before storing it in Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, or any of the other cloud services. Mac users should read Macworld’s tutorial on 2 how to create an encrypted sparse image 2 using OS X’s built-in Disk Utility. You can also try the open-source program TrueCrypt for Linux, OS X, or Windows to encrypt personal files you want to send to the cloud; check out 3 PCWorld’s TrueCrypt tutorial 3 to get started.
TIP: Merge Multiple Services Into a Monster Cloud
If you have files spread across a number of cloud storage accounts, such as at Amazon S3, Box, Dropbox, Picasa, SkyDrive, and SugarSync, look to 4 Otixo 4 . Through this service, you can connect them all, and then drag and drop files between your various cloud providers, no file downloading necessary. It works on almost any browser, including on mobile devices. Otixo is free for up to 250MB of bandwidth usage each month, or $10 for unlimited access to the service.
[Related: 5 10 Google Docs Annoyances (and How to Fix Them) 5 ]
The Best Ways to Share Photos Across the Cloud
Various cloud storage services have different social networking capabilities for sharing images. If you want to share photos on Google+, then Google Drive is your easiest option (no surprise) since Google+ photo sharing is inbuilt. SkyDrive users can post photos directly to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and email from SkyDrive’s Web interface, although your friends will have to visit SkyDrive to see the full-size versions.
Dropbox allows you to share a public link to photos, but in my tests this function didn’t work particularly well with Facebook and Google+. Another option is to use Flickr to share photos via Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and email; again, your buddies will have to visit Flickr to see the full-size version in case you share on Facebook.