How Dropbox saved my life

Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. A more accurate title should read: How Dropbox saved three hours of my life...or maybe it was only one hour, I wasn't really working that hard now that I think about it...

I've been using my Dropbox target folder as a My Documents so to speak, saving everything work/study related directly under the root tree such that it gets synched and versioned as soon as I click the save button in most cases (except Visio, which places a read-lock on open files preventing Dropbox from doing its magic until you close them, grrr!).

I was working on a LaTeX document with TeXnicCenter the other day when my Lenovo X300 froze up on me without warning yet again (it does this around once every two days or so, appears to be a known problem that Lenovo's ignoring, read some of my other posts for more info if interested). The only way to regain control when this happens is to do a forced power down and reboot. 

Luckly I wasn't too worried as I save quite frequently these days (Ctrl+S after every sentence) from the paranoia that I have to live with. Getting back into Windows and trying to open up my LaTeX file however didn't go as smoothly as I thought. TeXnicCenter spat out some errors about unrecognized format, etc. Opening the file in Notepad++ I noticed all characters were nulled out! Nice way to crash TeXnic...

Luckly, my files were in the Dropbox tree, and even though the new nulled out file was already synched online (Dropbox starts on Windows startup), I was able to simply right-click the file, click on Revisions, browse through the online revisions (over 30 of them) and pick one that was around 10 minutes old. All in all, I was able to recover my document with only two sentences missing (they weren't very good anyway).

Thank you Dropbox! Oh, and screw you Lenovo!


  1. Dropbox is my never-ending stack "Get Out of Jail Free" cards... can't imagine life without it now.


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