Dropbox and other backup strategies.

Can’t tell you how important it is to back up your files. I recently had a hard drive get fried by a lightening strike. Luckily I had all my text files backed up.

Here are some backup solutions (all of which have the added benefit of being able to move/sync your files between computers.

Problems with older versions of Scrivener have all been worked out. This is what I use for my current working projects, because it syncs almost instantly and automatically. Dropbox provides Instant syncing between computers and backs up files to a password-secured website. It has totally replaced my thumb drive for moving files between computers. Highly recommended. Even if you only use it to store your zipped Scrivener back ups, it’s worth the time to register an set it up. First 2GB are free and that’s plenty of space for most all of my writing projects.


Thumb Drive
If you aren’t using Dropbox, at least get a thumb drive to store a back up of your project. 1GB and 2GB thumb drives are only $10 or $20 now, so very affordable insurance.

I’ve also heard Carbonite is an excellent choice. It will back up your entire computer for $54 US a year, no matter how big your hard drive is. Like dropbox you can get at your files from the web. And if your computer or hard drive are destroyed they will send you backup DVDs to restore your files to a new computer.

I would just like to add another backup option to consider. The more the merrier right?

I use IDrive http://www.idrive.com which is similar to Carbonate as it is an online backup solution, but also acts in a manner similar to Dropbox, in that it continuously watches folders that you specify for any changes to the files within them, once a change is noticed it is immediately backed up online, no participation on your part.

You can sign up for free and I think you get somewhere around 5Gb of free online storage, which for me is enough to backup nearly all of the My Documents folder on my computer including where I store my Scrivener files.

Because you can pick and choose what to back up I basically chose to back up all of the My Documents folder and then removed any directories that were not required, so I now know that any document I save to My Documents (including my scrivener files) are automatically and immediately backup up online.

One thing to note though is I only use this on a Windows machine, it may or may not be available for a Mac, although I cannot see why it wouldn’t, I just have never checked.

And of course they can be recovered at anytime should the worst happen.

I use Wuala. It’s a crowdsourced backup thing. You get some free space when you register, you can buy space on their servers or exchange space with “the cloud”. This is: You give space on your harddrive, which is getting part of the cloud, and you get some online space in exchange. Everything is encrypted and truncated. So nobody can read your next thriller.

You can mark folders in your filesystem to be continually backuped.
You can sync folders with other computers to collaborate with others or when you use different computers.
And you can simple use it for file sharing.

Disclosure: If you register via this link:
I get some free additional space.

If you just want to look, click here:

How can you be really sure everything is really encrypted in a service like Dropbox?

When I read these websites, I always imagine a bunch of system administrators amusing themselves by browsing the files of their clients.
“Oh, look, he is trying to get another job.”
“Her lover’s emails are really hot.”
“Look here, where did he get that picture from? Wow …!”
“The first chapter of this novel’s not bad, but I’m tempted to tell her she should avoid the flashback on page 3 …”

You can’t. But you can ensure that they are encrypted locally BEFORE you put them in DB. This will ensure that the data is crypted and free of possible snooping†.

[size=70]† not entirely accurate but anyone here really believe the NSA is reading all your private stuff? And if so what do you really have to hide? Not that I like the idea myself, but the idea that someone finds me interesting …[/size]

There are a few points to consider to do with this:

  1. The fact that so many people are using such services (dropbox, idrive etc) that if they make those claims and do NOT keep them someone somewhere by now would have figured it out and it would be all over the internet.

  2. The fact that thousands of people use these services, so even if somehow magically your encrypted data was decrypted the chance of the system administrator actually reading it is minuscule at best.

  3. Services like Carbonite, IDrive, Mozy etc all provide their services to the business sector, which take the encryption side of things very seriously. If there was even a sniff of a doubt about the encryption capabilities then there would be a major stink on the internet.

  4. The way the encryption works (usually AES, or sometimes Blowfish/Twofish) means that only a person with the correct password can realistically decrypt the data within any useful time frame (i.e. current encryption schemes are only theoretically breakable and only if given years and years to work on the problem). The data is not sent unencrypted to the backup server and then encrypted, it is encrypted on the local machine with a password stored only on the local machine and then the encrypted data is sent to the servers.

  5. Passwords - On any half decent website (see point 3) the password is NOT stored on the server in the form you type it, it is itself encrypted and the encrypted form is stored on the server, so system admins cannot get to it anyway. You type the plain text password in on your local machine, it is encrypted and passed to the server and that encrypted form is used to log you in to a website (for example this one).

The above points are not guarentees of course, but they may help reassure you a little. If someone really really really wanted to read your encrypted data they would find a way (key loggers installed on your computer, remotes access hacks into your computer etc - Yay for firewalls and malware detectors!).

However complacency will always cause the largest security issue, so questioning practices such as these is both encouraged and recommended. If you are not comfortable with such services by all means use a different method of backup, but to me the minimal risk of someone reading my rather boring documents is far out weighed by the huge benefits of having constantly backed up data that is offsite and that I can recover from anywhere.

Backing up up my data/novel etc onto a USB thumbstick is fine, but if my house burns down both the computer AND the thumbstick (hence my backup also) are lost.

At least thats what I think :slight_smile:

Um, maybe not… Dropbox recently had to revise their terms of use and is now the subject of an FTC complaint over exactly this issue:

Holding the encryption keys on the server lets them check for duplicates, saving file space. But it creates a security hole you can drive a truck through.


TBH I take the view with all cloud services, that if they put their mind to it the world + dog can probably read whatever I put out there. If, for any reason I need to store something that I don’t want anyone to see, then I encrypt it myself before uploading. Anything that I totally 100% don’t want anyone to see, doesn’t get put out there period.

Whilst SpiderOak and Wuala may theoretically be more secure than DropBox, in my experience, both are heavier on resources and, are slower than DropBox. YMMV of course.

Depends on how the hold the keys. If the keys are kept offline, then the issue becomes on of physical theft.

Which is what is happening in the moment. :confused:

Meanwhile we know it’s rather not some admins but some NSA folks. Somebody has found a way to know whether and when this happens by storing documents that “phone home” in his Dropbox:


Hey, I don’t mind if staff at Dropbox are reading my novels as long as they leave good reviews on Amazon :smiley:

On a serious note, I’ve found Dropbox extremely successful as part of my back-up procedure, along with Time Machine.

My main objection to Dropbox is the cost for anything other than 2GB. When I backup, I want to make sure all my research notes and materials are also backed up.

I switched to Copy [ copy.com?r=1PX1Bb ] and got 20GB for free (actually it is 15GB to start and an additional 5GB if you nstall their synch tool, but you can delete it later if you want).

Copy is a service/product from Barracuda Networks, who make anti-spam and firewall products.

– Luis

If you, as I do, use gmail you already have free access to Google Drive, which gives you 15 GB of free storage. If you decide to pay for extra storage I believe the limit is 2TB at present. Also, if you install the Google Drive Client it will automatically synchronize the files you chose.

Of course, for security just create a password protected ZIP or RAR archive to hold the .scriv folder and then upload it. If you use a free program such as 7zip it allows you to encrypt the file as well, to add another layer of protection.