Looking for extra disk drive space, a file backup service, or a way to share files with others? You can do all of that using the free internet hard drive services described and compared here. The amount of file storage, features, and services of each of the providers vary, so you can use this guide to find the one that is best for you (or skip ahead to our comparison chart.) Please note that many free disk space providers have shut down, reduced the amount of free space available, or have begun charging, so there aren't as many good choices left any more and none of them are as useful as they used to be.
Many Uses for Free Disk Space
These services are an excellent place to keep photo albums, mp3 files, and other file collections, but there are many uses for free internet hard drive space. The obvious ones are to free up hard disk space on your computer and to backup important files. Backing up files on these secure servers is especially effective since they provide you with off site backup. Even if your entire computer is stolen or your home and all your tapes, zip disks, CDRs, and floppies are destroyed, your important files can still be secure online.
There are many more benefits to free internet disk space. It provides global data access, so you can use your files from any computer, anywhere. This is especially useful when you use different computers at home, work or school, or when you are on vacations or business trips. It also provides secure data storage. This is important when you use shared computers and you don't want your private files on the computer's hard drive, where they are available for anyone to see. On the other hand, these services also make it easy to share files with others. Not only can you send your favorite programs, pictures, documents, and other files to your friends and family, but these services even make it easy to collaborate on projects with a team spread around the world.
Free Internet Hard Drive Features Overview
Most free drive space services allow secure storage of private files and the ability to share files with specific people or the public at large. When there are exceptions, it is noted in the comments section of our comparison chart. As noted in the chart, some of the services allow you to simply drag and drop files to and from your free internet hard drive using Windows Explorer and either Web Folders or special software you can download.
Most of these services are supported by advertising, although some in the chart are advertising-free. To start with, each service gives you a set amount of free disk space. As specified in the chart, some of the services give you additional free space for referring others, completing surveys, or other tasks. Some of them allow you to purchase extra hard disk space if you need more than what they give you for free.
Since most hard disk drive services are free because they are supported by advertising and Internet companies have had a hard time making money from advertising lately, many now charge for disk space (or only offer a free trial) and others have gone out of business. To avoid the inconvenience of losing files when a free disk space provider shuts down, you'll want to make sure you have another copy of your files stored somewhere.
Free Internet Hard Drive Add-ons
TeamDrive is a useful, free add-on for online storage accounts. TeamDrive maps a drive-letter to many free disk space services to make them easier and faster to use. Windows Explorer can be used to manage files on this virtual drive and any program can open and edit files directly in-place. TeamDrive uses a variety of techniques including background writes and local caching to speed access to files.
Free Internet Hard Drive Comparison Chart
The following chart allows quick comparison of the important features of the best free disk space services. For more details or to sign up (you should read all the terms and conditions of the service agreements first), go to the internet drive provider's websites through the provided links. For an explanation of the terms used in the table, please see our term definitions.
|Company||Start Free Space||Max Free Space||Paid Space Offered?||Comments|
|DiskWise||20MB||50MB||No||Update - DiskWise was permanently discontinued in late June 2001. If you have files stored there, get them while you can. Extra 10MB per referral. Includes a collaboration system to help people work together more efficiently.|
|Driveway||25MB||100MB||Yes||Update - This free disk space service was discontinued on 3/5/2001.|
|File Genie||25MB||25MB||No||Free service discontinued as of 11/11/2001. They provide very basic service and features.|
|Files Anywhere||50MB||50MB||Yes||They no longer have permanent free hard drive space -- They only provide a 30 day free trial now. Can purchase up to 2 GB of extra space.|
|Free Disk Space||300MB||Unlimited||No||Update - Free Disk Space / MySpace.com closed down. 6/1/2001 was the last day to retrieve your files before they were deleted! They suggested that users transfer to FreeDrive.|
|FreeDrive||20MB||20MB||Yes||Update 2 - Taken over by xDrive. Update - FreeDrive no longer offers free disk space. Up to 150MB of storage is available with the paid upgrade plans.|
|iBackup||50MB||50MB||No||Cancelled free service and now only provide a 30 Day Free Trial of the paid service. Permits FTP access. Custom Windows software to automatically backup files at scheduled intervals.|
|iMacFloppy||3MB||3MB||No||Update - Closed down their service. Free virtual floppy. Supports Macintosh and PC. No software to download.|
|GlobeDesk||50MB||50MB||Yes||Now they only give you a 5 day free trial. Permits FTP access. Supports URL transfer to save files from the internet directly into your account.|
|mushpot.com||No limit||Unlimited||No||Update - Mushpot.com has closed down. Offered unlimited free disk space, primarily geared for music storage.|
|myplay.com||3GB||3GB||No||Update - Closed down their service. Easily store, share, organize, and play your online MP3 music collection. Supports batch upload. Copy tracks from their large catalog of free online music.|
|NBCi||25MB||25MB||No||Update - Closed down their service. They are recommending users go to xDrive (see their listing below).|
|NetFloppy||3MB||3MB||No||Update - Closed down their service. Free virtual floppy. No software to download.|
|Real FTP||25MB||25MB||Yes||Update - Appears to have closed down without notice. Permits FTP access. Share files with others temporarily with send mail options.|
|TeamOn||20MB||50MB||Yes||Update - No longer free!|
|xDrive||25MB||25MB||Yes||Cancelled free service and now only provide a 15 day free trial of the paid service. Drag and drop supported on Win95/98/NT through custom software you can download.|
|Yahoo! Briefcase||30MB||30MB||No||They only provide very basic service and features.|
|Zden||500MB||500MB||Yes||Update - This service has shut down. For the first 300,000 users to signup, Zden offers 500 MB of free online storage if you fill out the complete survey (you get 25 MB of storage for completing the short survey.) Zden is an online marketplace where you can buy and sell files online. Plus you can make money by referring your friends to the service. Their service can be very very slow.|
|ZDisk||10MB||20MB||Yes||Update - This service has shut down. Drag and drop supported right in Netscape or Explorer browsers with their plug-in. Earn an extra 10MB by "upgrading" from a competitors service. Can purchase as much additional space as you need.|