Monday, July 10, 2006

New tool for protecting your data on a shared computer

Sure, you can use EFS encryption (if you use the Pro version of XP) to encrypt your private data, but what if someone else uses your computer when it's logged on with your user account? Then they can access all your EFS-encrypted files. Last week, Microsoft released an add-on called Private Folder 1.0 that solves this problem by letting you create a private folder that's password protected, so that even when your account is logged on the files in that folder are kept private. Warning: you have to go through the Windows Genuine Advantage validation process to download the program. Here's where you get it:

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Store It on the Web

Want to send a large file to a few people? Dont use email. A better way is to post the files on the Web and send everybody a single URL so they can retrieve and open the files on their own, at their convenience. For me, the icing on the Web-sharing cake is that many of the services are completely free of charge (and we all love a bargain).
These are THREE of the best.

This free service provides 500MB of storage and lets you upload an unlimited number of files (though no single file can exceed 25MB in size). All of the folders you place on's servers are permission-based, so you can easily make some folders available to anybody while restricting access to others. You can also password-protect your folders, which adds another layer of security. Visitors access the folders through an e-mail link.

In less than 10 minutes, I created a dozen folders and subfolders, each with specific rights. You can track how many files are downloaded, but unfortunately you can't find out who did the downloading. One quibble with the free account: You have to upload and download the files one at a time.


This simple, no-frills,site lets you upload as many files as you want, each as large as 100MB, and send the link to any number of recipients. The files can be downloaded an unlimited number of times, and they remain on the server as long as they're downloaded at least once every 30 days. You get an annoying 23-second wait before you can download a file but thats not bad for FREE


This free service lets you upload files to its Web servers for temporary storage. You can include a personal note along with the upload;YouSendIt then sends an e-mail to the person with whom you're sharing that explains how to pick up the file. You're notified when the file is sent and when it's picked up. The recipient's name is automatically added to your YouSendIt Contacts, too. While you can send your file to several people at once, the "Send To" field won't hold more than 128 characters; the service says it imposed this limit to prevent spammers from using it.

The free version limits the file size to 100MB. The files you upload are stored for seven days or for a total of 25 downloads per file. That is probably more downloads than most people will need (it's plenty for me).