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The 5 best free online storage services

Store, sync and share your files for no charge

We put five free online storage services, which let you upload your files to a 'virtual hard drive' and access them from your other devices, to the test to find out just which is the best one for you.

ZumoDrive

Launched in January 2009, ZumoDrive appears to be aiming right at Dropbox, since it sports a similar user interface and functions. It differentiates itself by presenting convenient ways to access the media files stored on your cloud-based drive.

How it works
The Windows version of the ZumoDrive desktop application that I tested works similarly to the OpenDrive system: It creates a virtual drive on your desktop that's linked to your online storage space on ZumoDrive's servers. To sync files and folders, you drag and drop them into this virtual drive, and they will be automatically uploaded to your account.

You can share a folder or file with others by right-clicking on the folder or file and, within the pop-up menus, entering the e-mail address of the person to whom you're granting access. You can also make ZumoDrive generate a hyperlink to one of your folders or files for posting on the web.

What's good
Compared to Dropbox's and OpenDrive's desktop clients, ZumoDrive has more functionality - though mainly for tweaking mundane technical details like how it interacts with your network. But it includes convenient features for sharing media files among your computers and mobile devices. For example, it has a function that helps you easily provide remote access to your iTunes music and playlist.

Like Dropbox, the ZumoDrive client software is available for several operating systems and mobile platforms.

What needs to be fixed
Since the free versions of Dropbox and ZumoDrive have similar features, ZumoDrive's biggest 'fault' may be that it isn't as popular as Dropbox, so chances are that the people you want to collaborate with may be using Dropbox instead of ZumoDrive.

Bottom line
ZumoDrive is the best alternative and strongest challenger to Dropbox in this roundup. It matches Dropbox in terms of basic features, but it allows you to do more directly from its desktop client.

Product Specs

OS: Windows XP/Vista/7, OS X 10.5 and later, Ubuntu Linux 8 and higher, Fedora Linux 9 and higher, various other Linux distros

Mobile apps: Android, iPhone, WebOS

Storage size:1GB storage; up to an additional 1GB upon doing specific sign-up tasks (syncing your files to your ZumoDrive user account, installing the desktop client software, etc.)

Maximum file size: None

Daily data-transfer limit: None

Paid plans: Plans range from $2.99 (£1.91) per month for 10GB to $79.99 (£51.16) per month for 500GB

NEXT PAGE: Conclusions

  1. Store, sync and share your files for no charge
  2. DriveHQ FileManager
  3. Dropbox
  4. OpenDrive
  5. SpideOak
  6. ZumoDrive
  7. Conclusions


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