Friday, June 20, 2008

There's more than one way to transfer big files

More ways to get files from Point A to Point B

After reading Becky Waring's Best Software column from the June 5, 2008, issue, several people wrote in to tell us about their favorite techniques for handling huge file transfers. Among them was Philip Daniels, who uses the $29 WinRAR program from Alexander Roshal and RARLAB:

* "Why does a media file have to be moved in one chunk? We've been moving large files around the 'net for decades using multi-volume RARs (infamously, I once did this with CICS when the IBM network was being recalcitrant). WinRAR is probably the simplest means of creating such things; most unzippers, WinZip, 7Zip, etc., can reassemble the original file from a multiple-volume RAR.

"All one does is upload the RARs to one of the many free file-sharing services with the level of protection required (encryption, passwords, etc.)

"Typically, the providers delete the files once they know the receiver has successfully downloaded them."

Freeware cuts big file transfers down to size

As reader Gary Vellenzer points out, there's a free way to make quick work of massive file transfers.

* "I'm sure that your new contributor, Becky Waring, is familiar with QuickPar (parity file generator/file splitter on the send side, parity checker and corrector/file joiner on the receive side). It's free and very easy to use. It is useful not just for file transfer. I generate PAR 2 files every time I write a DVD, so that a single point of failure doesn't render the DVD useless.

"When you use QuickPar, the file size limits for individual files are irrelevant, as is the time needed to upload the entire file in one piece, because the file can be uploaded in segments. The benefits are obvious — a failure of the transfer affects only one piece, so that you have to redo only that piece. It's also comforting to be able to check that you got the entire file contents exactly as intended.

"Since QuickPar makes the max file size irrelevant, it's worth looking at the major file-storage systems. People who actively share files use Swoopshare, RapidShare, Megaupload, and GigaSize. They generally don't use any of the services you mention. I've never run across any use of AOL's file share system — it's probably crippled by restricting its use to AOLers."

A free, open-source Web file-transfer service

Yet another file-transfer alternative is the free HTTP File Server (HFS) utility from Massimo Melina. Reader Bruce Schau describes the program:

* "HFS allows you to easily share files between friends and family using your normal browser (usually, Internet Explorer or Firefox). HFS is so small that it fits on a floppy disk and can even run from your USB!

"Best of all, it's free and free of adware, spyware, and trojans. It works well and has many control options.

"Check it out!"

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