Online Storage & Syncing with Box for Windows 8

Online cloud storage is all the buzz right now. There are countless solutions that allow you to upload and sync your files to the cloud and Box is one of them. Box allows you to store your files online and access them anywhere, anytime. With the free personal account, you get 5GB, into which you can store all kinds of files and organize them into folders.

You can also share files and folders, and you also get real-time updates when someone views, edits or comments on your file. In addition to that, you can also invite members into a share workspace and collaborate on a file. Box launched a Windows 8 app and has recently updated it. Let’s see just how good it is!

The App

The Windows 8 Box app is available for download free of charge from the Windows Store allowing you to manage your content in a sleek well-designed metro app. You can easily get started by logging in or if you don’t have an account, you can sign up from within the app.

Box App Login Screen

Box App Login Screen

The start screen also allows you to login with your company credentials for Business and Enterprise accounts and in case you have forgotten your password, they’ve also got that covered. After your log in, you are immediately directed to your dashboard which at the moment is blank…so let’s get to uploading some files online.

Uploading files

From your dashboard, you might be a little confused on what to do next; click on “All Files” and right click to bring up the available options. Now click on the upload icon at the bottom  to start uploading your files. From here all you have to do is select the files you want to upload and let it work.

Progress on Box uploads

Progress on Box uploads

Let’s upload a few photos, documents, audio files so that we can see how they all work. You can click on the upload notification to get detailed information on the uploads progress. Uploads were relatively fast – a 5MB mp3 file uploaded in just a few seconds.

The file manager

When you click on All Files on your dashboard, you are taken to a file manager. Here, you see a list of all your uploaded files, which can be sorted by name, date or size. When you right click, you get additional options – Home takes you back to your dashboard and Updates lets you see your recently updated files.

Box for Windows 8 file manager

Box for Windows 8 file manager

At the bottom you have options to upload your files, invite someone to collaborate on your file and to rename/move/copy/delete files. You can also view all your files as a slideshow. This really comes in handy if you have a bunch of photos.

You can also create a New Folder and upload files directly into it or drag and drop your already uploaded files into the folder.

Previewing your files

Since sometime late last year, users of Box for Android have been able to preview their online files straight from the app. This feature has finally come to Windows.

According to Box, you can preview more than 75 file types – including Word, PowerPoint, PDF, AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator and a lot more…you however cannot preview audio, video and flash. Here is a list of all file types you can preview. The preview happens so seamlessly, all you have to do is click on a file and a preview is automatically generated.

When looking at your preview, you can maximize your preview to full screen – this get’s rid of the sidebar on the right. There’s also the option to Open, Get Link or Add a Comment.

Options available when previewing a file on Box for WIndows 8

Options available when previewing a file on Box for WIndows 8

Clicking Open downloads the file and opens it in with whatever respective software you have installed while Get Link generates a link that you can copy or share using your Windows 8 Charms Bar. Anyone collaborating on the file can add a comment.

When you right click on the preview window, you get even more options…get link, download, upload a new version of the file and even rename or delete the file.

You can also add a description for your file or pin that specific file as a tile on your start screen. In addition to that, there are quick options to easily preview the next or previous file.

In conclusion…

What I like about the app

  • It utilizes the new features of Windows 8 such as sharing using the Charms bar and deep integration with the Windows 8 search functionality
  • It features a clean interface with no annoying ads or popups asking you to upgrade your account.
  • It’s very simple and user-friendly, showing you only what you need at any time without bombarding you with information, yet everything you need is just a right-click away

What could be improved

  • We could use an option to upload files straight from one’s dashboard rather than having to click through to All Files 
  • An option to Sort Files by File Type would come in handy when viewing your files – especially if all you know is your looking for a certain Word file
  • For some reason, I couldn’t get Invite Collaborator to work

From the looks of it, Box have a really good thing going with this Windows 8 App. It could only get better. Give it a try and share your thoughts in the comments.


Summary

Box gives you 5GB of free storage and their Windows 8 app makes it easy to access and edit your files, share content and stay connected with your team.

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