Sharing high resolution digital images with your friends can cause problems because of the size of the files. Not only is it time consuming, but it's also blocking up your friends' inboxes.

That's where compression software comes in. The software temporarily compresses files to make then smaller so they can be sent by email. When the recipient receives the compressed file they simply extract it so the full size file can be stored on their PC.

A number of compression programs are available, the most popular of which, Zip was created over 20 years ago and uses binary compression. However, according to Peter Boswell, CEO of Blubox Software, binary compression isn’t suitable for the large image files that are common today because it barely reduces the actual size of the file when it's compressed.

"Extensive research showed there was a massive gap in the market for software that could offer the ability to significantly shrink their digital photos without sacrificing the high resolution quality of the original image file," explains Boswell.

With this in mind, the company has launched a new program that it claims offers greater compression so users can send whole albums of images in the time it usually takes to email just a couple of images but without compromising the quality of the image.

Blubox V4 is a compression program that combines up-to-date compression technology and industry standard encryption to compress large files by up to 95%. Compression filters determine whether the imported file is an image or a non-image file. The software then uses either binary compression (for non image files) or Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) and wavelet compression (for images).

According to Blubox, the DCT and wavelet methods achieve a more effective compression. The data is then optionally password encrypted where it remains compressed and secure until it can be exported back to its original format. Pictures are encrypted using 256-bit AES technology and unlike other programs on the market, Blubox V4 lets you view and print the images or files while they are still compressed and is even compatible with all formats of Zip compression programs. The program costs £19.99 and can be downloaded from www.blubox.com.

NEXT PAGE: Compression sofware isn't the only way to transfer large files. Specific websites and FTP also offer a solution to the problem.

Sharing high resolution digital images with your friends can cause problems because of the size of the files. Not only is it time consuming, but it's also blocking up your friends inboxes. But what solutions are available to help share files?

Of course software programs aren’t the only way to transfer large files efficiently. Services such as YouSendIt and DropSend allow users to upload big files to a website and specify who is to receive the files. The recipient then is emailed a link from which they can download the files. However, as the services store files centrally, they are not ideal for the transfer of sensitive files. The services operate free trials which allow users to send files up to 2GB

Instant Messenger applications including AIM and MSN Messenger are another way to share large files with your friends, providing the recipient is online. Files can be simply sent to directly to your contact’s PC – although some applications enforce a limit on the size of file that can be transferred.

Alternatively, FTP is another method for transferring large files. Users can connect and transfer files to a remote computer that acts as the FTP server software. The recipient can then also connect to the server, having inputted a username and password and is free to download the file to their own PC.

Blubox V4 system requirements: A 400MHz processor, Windows 2000, XP or Vista; Microsoft .NET framework version 2.0 or higher; 64 MB RAM, 15 MB free hard disk space. License registration also requires a connection to the internet.

Blubox V4, the new compression program from Blubox Software