Free virtual storage to upload and share files!

Have you ever wanted to copy files from one computer to another and just realized that you forgot your USB flash drive? Well, there is nothing to worry about thanks to the dozens of websites that provide free virtual storage. You can simply upload your documents from the containing computer and download them to any other computer in the world later on.

Most of these websites provide additional free services than just virtual storage such as the ability to share files with multiple people. This is very handy if you have, for instance, a big file (like a video file) that you want to share with your students.  Sending big files as attachment is very problematic because some email systems can’t handle them; besides, some email accounts have a specific quota and start rejecting emails that are likely to exceed it.  A more appropriate way to share big files is simply uploading them to one of these websites that provide free space and just send the link to those who you want to share the files with. Some websites (like drop.net) will even tell you when a person has downloaded the file.

Synchronization is another cool feature provided for free by some of these websites. This means that your home computer and office computer will always be referencing to the same documents without having to copy files back and forth.

Here is a brief list of some of these websites. You can find a more comprehensive list here. http://alternativeto.net/desktop/dropbox

Slashtmp.iu.edu

This is a service provided to everybody associated to Indiana University. It provides up to 1GB of space.  This is the best option if you need to password protect the files that you are sharing with others. There is no need to download any software.  This is one of our quick tips with more detailed info.

SkyDrive

This service is provided by Microsoft so if you already have a Hotmail, Messenger or Xbox Live accounts then you should be able to access SkyDrive using those accounts to login. There is no need to download or install any program. Persons you are sharing files with do not need to have a SkyDrive account. It offers one of the biggest amounts of free space in the web for file storage: 25GB. The downside is that it doesn’t provide the capability to upload entire folder structures but just files.

Dropbox

The main goal of this service is to provide synchronization between 2 or more computers. For this reason, it is necessary to download and install a program that will keep your files and folder structures synchronized.  The free version provides up to 2GB of space. It provides other features such as monthly backups and ability to share folders. The downside is that when sharing a file with others, they will have to sign up for an account in order to download it.

Box

The free version of this service provides up to 1 GB of space. Individual files should not exceed 25MB. It is possible to share files without having to create new accounts to access the shared files. A neat feature is that it will tell you whenever someone has accessed the files that you have shared.

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