Best Free Web Storage (Part 2)

7/28/2013 6:55:50 PM

Microsoft SkyDrive


We like: Office Web Apps; collaboration; remote access

We don’t like: No backup service

SkyDrive is a rival to Google Drive, with a similar range of features, including an online office suite, file viewer and a media player. The service is provided when you sign up for a Microsoft account. The initial 7GB of free online storage can be upgraded to 20GB for a reasonable £6 a year, or 100GB for $49.

It’s designed for synchronization rather than backup, with a dedicated SkyDrive folder on the PC. Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and the Xbox games console. Windows 8 displays a built- in SkyDrive app on the Start screen, while older Windows versions have a tool that pops up in the Notification Area. A remote-access feature allows any files stored on a computer to be accessed via the SkyDrive website.

The website is clear and easy to use, with Windows 8-style tiles. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents can be viewed, edited and created here. Email, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedln sharing are supported. SkyDrive also includes email, instant messaging, calendar and contacts web apps.



We like: Simple; good security

We don’t like: No network folder/drive support; per-computer pricing

Mozy is mainly an online backup service, with few other frills. The website doesn’t highlight the features of its free version, describing it as a trial, but in fact it gives you 2GB of storage for ever. The ‘trial’ version also includes the integrated file-synchronization service Mozy Stash. Place a file in your local Stash folder and it will be available on all your devices instantly.

Pricing is based on the storage space and number of computers, starting at a rather expensive $7.99 per month for 50GB and one computer. Three computers will cost $11.99 per month for 125GB.

Mozy’s backup runs automatically on a schedule. The number of times it runs each day can be configured, but there is no continuous backup option. Folders can be added to the backup, or their contents restored, from the right-click context menu or via the website. Annoyingly, Mozy cannot back up shared network drives and folders.

Backups are encrypted before being uploaded. You can therefore use an Emergency Restore service if your computer is lost, stolen or destroyed. Mozy also lets you restore backups to a new computer.



We like: All-in-one service; lots of storage; good website

We don’t like: Doesn’t keep old versions of files

MiMedia is particularly good for storing and syncing media files

MiMedia is particularly good for storing and syncing media files

MiMedia is an unusual all-in-one service featuring automatic backup, file syncing and a browser-based media player. It has a generous free allowance of 7GB with paid annual subscriptions starting at $49 for 100GB, making it attractive to those who prefer to keep all their online storage services in one interface. Backup lets you select specific folders or entire drives, including networked drives. It monitors folders and backs them up when changes are detected.

The sync folder is called the MiMedia (m) Drive, and appears on every device with the software installed. It works independently of the backup service, so doesn’t contain backed-up files, which are accessed via the website. The website lets you play backed-up media files in any browser. Sharing via email and Facebook is supported too.

Trend Micro SafeSync


We like: Sync any folders; file versioning

We don’t like: Expensive; website is slow

Some of Trend Micro’s security suites include a SafeSync subscription, but it’s actually available to anyone for free. You get the first 5GB for nothing, but a 20GB account costs a rather pricey $38.9 per year. It’s solely a sync-and-share service, with no provision for backups. Free apps for Android and iOS are available.

Although the software creates a default SafeSync folder, other folders can also be synced by simply right-clicking and choosing an option. This saves you having to mess around with the PC’s folder structure. You can share files within a synced folder by getting an email link via the right-click pop-up menu.

There are several handy features on the website, such as a pop-out player for music, photos and videos, and sharing links for most social networking services. Microsoft Office files can be edited from the website (if your PC has the correct application installed), with changes immediately saved back to the synced folder. Up to 10 previous versions are stored. However, the website is a little clunky and slow to use, and the drag-and-drop file up-loader requires the Java browser plug-in.

Key points

·         Get as much free storage as you need

·         Synchronize all your stuff across all your devices

·         Edit files online, view photos and listen to music

·         Learn the tricks that will earn you loads more free storage

How to get loads of free extra storage space

Many cloud-storage services allow you to ‘earn’ extra free storage, be it through loyalty, promotion or contribution. Dropbox, for example, offers just 2GB free but you can increase this to 32GB.

Once you’ve signed up for an account, visit Dropbox’s Get More Space page ( There are several options to earn you more space, such as following Dropbox on Twitter. But the biggie is the ‘Refer friends to Dropbox’ link. Click this and invite some friends to join Dropbox - you’ll get 1 GB of extra free storage for each friend that signs up.

If you’ve got a lot of spare hard disk space but would prefer loads of free cloud storage, then check out Symform ( Here, you’ll get 10GB of online storage just for signing up, but if you’re prepared to ‘loan’ some of your own hard disk space to the virtual store, you’ll get the equivalent back in cloud storage. So, contribute 1TB storage from your own computer, and you’ll get a 1TB cloud drive in return - free. That might sound self-defeating but as this is storage that can be accessed anywhere, and by more than one computer, it’s more useful than just 1TB of local storage.

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