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21 tips for supercharging your cloud storage

Rick Broida | April 30, 2013
Cloud storage isn't just for files and photos. With the right tools and services, you can do much more: organize data, or automate uploads and downloads. Synchronize, of course. Score extra space without paying an extra cent. Run a basic Web site from a cloud service, manage media, or even fax.

5. Make the cloud your default download destination

By default, most Web browsers deposit files in your Downloads folder, and then you turn around and upload those files to a cloud service. You can take out the middleman (i.e., you) by venturing into your browser's download settings and changing the destination to any folder that's already set to sync. Now you've got an easy, automated way to back up or share your downloads.

6. Autosave Gmail attachments to the cloud

You already know that some online drives let you forward email attachments, but that's an extra step., a free browser plug-in for Chrome and Firefox, offers one-click attachment uploading to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive. You can also set up rules so that future emails from, say, a particular contact get automatically routed to a specific service.


7. Sync unlimited folders among PCs

Cloud storage service Cubby operates much like Dropbox and its kind, but with one key advantage: It lets you sync unlimited folders between your PCs. You can use that feature to, say, share photo albums with family members or business documents with coworkers, or to back up important data to a spare PC. Everything you add to designated share folders gets automatically synced to your remote "cubbies."

8. Sync any folder to your SkyDrive account

Microsoft's SkyDrive gives you 7GB for free, but there's one catch: Only files contained in your SkyDrive folder get synced to the service. Software developer Jan Hannemann's SkyShellEx works a little behind-the-scenes magic to let you sync any folder to your SkyDrive account. This trick does require letting it move your files from their original locations, but from your perspective, your folder structure will remain the same. (Read Hannemann's blog post for a more detailed explanation.)

9. Sync browser settings across all devices

You've probably spent years building a library of bookmarks, so it makes sense to back them up. Chrome and Firefox offer built-in bookmark syncing, which preserves your favorites (and passwords) in the event of data loss and also syncs them to other PCs running the same browser.

If you use Internet Explorer or Safari, check out Xmarks, a free sync tool that works the same way, but it also lets you access your bookmarks in any Web browser on any device.


10. Get extra free space

A free Dropbox account entitles you to 2GB of cloud storage, while SugarSync gives you 5GB. Not bad, but you can always use more. Thankfully, both services allow you to earn extra space without opening your wallet. For example, for each friend you refer to SugarSync, you get an extra 500MB. Dropbox matches that offer, but rewards you with even more space when you complete a "getting started" checklist, connect to your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts, and perform various other tasks.


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