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This walk-through is intended to give you an idea of what the user experience is like in each of the three leading free file storage services.
For a more detailed comparison, see the companion blog post:
Dropbox, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, and Google Drive are superficially similar: You get several gigabytes of free storage just for signing up. By installing a small Windows app you get the ability to synchronize that storage with the hard drive on your PC, where you can manage them using Windows Explorer. You can sync files and folders with other PCs and Macs, access them from mobile devices, and share them with other people.
But when you dig deeper and get past those similarities, you can see important functional differences between the three services. Reviewers love to turn this sort of comparison into a horse race where they can declare a winner. But depending on how you plan to use an online file storage service, one might be a better fit than others. In this review, I look in detail at all three services to help you make the right choice. Keep reading...
Dropbox has a visual style all its own, but it works. This file and folder listing is the opposite of cluttered, and once you learn what the icons along the top do, you're pretty much home free.
See that Get free space! link at the top of the page? Dropbox does a lot of upselling, and they're sometimes a little pushy about encouraging you to invite your friends in exchange for extra gigabytes.
As part of its installation, the Dropbox Windows utility adds a shortcut in the Favorites pane that points to your local Dropbox folder. Green checkmarks on each file and folder mean that they're in sync with the files in the matching Dropbox web folders.
Pop-up alerts appear in the taskbar when files are added, deleted or changed. You can also get notifications via an RSS feed.