The Hidden Cost of Dropbox

dropboxTo start off, I love Dropbox, it is a great service that allows you to sync 2GB to the cloud for free. It also allows you to share files with your friends and post files to a webserver so you can send it in an IM or email and they can see your file. It works great for small files and large a like, I have found it to be fast and reliable. Unfortunately it isn’t really free. I’m not talking about the premium you can pay to get more space, I’m talking about the cache files that it saves. I understand that all this data is saved across many other workstations on the internet which forms the cloud. This is great and I’m sure it saves them tons of money not having to pay for bandwidth and cloud storage at like S3, however… 12 GB of cache files on my computer is a bit unacceptable.

I noticed this when I was looking at my C drive wondering man why so low and I have not installed anything new or downloaded anything of significant size, and that’s when I found it 12GB of files in my C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Dropbox\cache folder. This is the equivalent of sharing 12GB file so you can have like 2GB this just doesn’t make since. I have been using Dropbox for several months and just now noticed the cache but I would hope it would clean it up every once and a while. I understand they need multiple copies in the cloud for speed and reliability but this is a bit extreme. Also this large amount of data as it becomes.. is in the wrong directory, at least from a business perspective because trying to sync 12GB of Dropbox files takes a while when this data really doesn’t need to be part of a roaming profile. I understand that this isn’t it’s primary use, but it probably should be part of Local Settings\Application Data instead so it doesn’t follow you around in a roaming profiles environment.

I would like to make this point clear though, none of this would stop me from using Dropbox, it is a great free file sharing application, I will just watch those cache files and delete them once and a while.