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Take Your Storage Online

Xdrive is an AOL service that offers 5 GB of free online storage space without any catches. All you need is an AOL screen name - which if you use AIM, you already have - and you can get 5 GB of online storage goodness, for free.

With Xdrive, AOL has a service that aims to be both a service for online storage sharing as well as a real backup solution. The online interface provides basic individual file upload, as well as a tool for multiple file uploads.

Where Xdrive goes beyond just basic online storage is in how it allows you to deal with your online content. If you've got audio files, you get an online media player that plays the files; for photos, you get a separate set of tools that enable you to group them by album and set up basic slideshows. Moving beyond that, Xdrive also has a feature called Xdrive Shows that lets you take your photos, mix them with music on a timeline, and create a full presentation.

Sharing your online content is relatively straightforward too, though it does have one simple snag: your recipients need to sign up for Xdrive too.

The Xdrive desktop download application is all about backup. It creates a mapped drive to your local PC (the X: drive by default) so you can easily drag and drop files for upload.

There is also a backup routine that lets you choose files for a regularly scheduled backup, where an infinite number of file versions can be stored (until you reach your storage cap, that is).

What is clearly lacking here is any kind of bandwidth control. Xdrive desktop does not identify what the backup speed is, either, so there is no easily accessible method to throttle speed. The desktop backup is also a scheduled backup as opposed to an ongoing or continuous backup, which could well leave you at risk if you don't schedule your backup frequency properly.

While the free service offers 5 GB of storage, the paid service only has an option for 50 GB of storage. While that might be okay for some, it's a hard upper limit that may not be enough for all.

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