Juggling Free Cloud Storage Services?

Category: Cloud

I’ve written about how you can amass over a Terabyte of permanently free cloud storage space by signing up for multiple cloud storage services. The only problem is that you end up with multiple sign-ins, multiple places to search for files, and hassles in moving files from one cloud service to another. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Check out these tools that make your cloud storage look like files and folders on your local hard drive...

Local Access to Cloud Storage

Cloud storage has many nice features, including the ability to access your files from any computer or mobile device, whether you're at home or on the go.

If you use Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Evernote or Dropbox, you know what I mean. All of them have syncing tools that let you interact with your cloud storage files as if they were stored locally.

But when you have more than one cloud storage provider, things can get complicated. Which website has that photo, document, or video that you're looking for? Logging into each one and poking around is tedious. Fortunately, there are several tools that provide a single-sign-on interface to multiple cloud services, and allow you to interact with your files just as if they were local folders on your hard drive.

Managing multiple cloud storage services

NetDrive by Bdrive, Inc., interfaces with multiple cloud services including Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Box.com, Amazon Web Services, and OpenStack, plus any FTP server or WebDAV-enabled Web server. To get started with NetDrive, just download and install its app on a Windows PC; select any of the pre-configured cloud services you want to add; and provide the login credentials for each account.

The NetDrive app will connect to each service and configure it as a drive letter in Windows Explorer’s “Computer” view, labeled with the name and icon of the cloud service. For example, your Dropbox account can become your L: drive, and Google Docs can be your M: drive. You can configure other cloud services, FTP sites, and WebDAV resources manually; just supply the resource’s URL and login credentials.

NetDrive will automatically log you into all of your cloud services each time you restart Windows. You can navigate the folders of each cloud account in Windows Explorer just as if they were folders on your main hard drive. Remote or cloud files behave as if they were local files, and open easily with locally installed programs. You can even drag files from one cloud storage service to another as if they were being dragged from one drive to another.

Security and Mobility

My article Ten Free Cloud Backup Services shows you how to score well over a TERABYTE (1000 gigabytes) of free online storage. Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox are just the beginning. Learn how to stash all your music, photos (or even an elephant) in the cloud, without paying for cloud storage.

NetDrive also supports SFTP file transfers. Unlike the original FTP protocol, SFTP encrypts commands as well as data, preventing sensitive data like passwords from being transmitted in clear text that can be intercepted by eavesdroppers.

Your (Android 4.1 or higher) smartphone can become a virtual drive on your Windows PC if you have NetDrive installed on the PC and the free AirDrive app installed on the phone. Get AirDrive on Google Play.

You can connect unlimited resources via NetDrive for up to 30 days; thereafter, you’re limited to just one resource unless you pay an annual fee of $40. NetDrive isn’t the only solution to scattered storage bins, and it isn’t the most fully-featured; but it is the least expensive option for basic cloud storage consolidation and management that I have found. Here are some more sophisticated but pricier options, each with a limited free version.

Primadesk is available for Windows, Mac, iOS (iPhone/iPad) as well as Android devices. It even supports multiple email accounts in a single user interface, and social media accounts such as Facebook and Pinterest. A free account supports up to 10 cloud services. Support for unlimited cloud services is $5 per month or $50 per year.

Webdrive has versions for PC, Mac and mobile devices. It can connect to FTP sites, corporate file servers, Amazon S3, Google Drive, and other cloud services. Webdrive offers a 20-day free trial, and costs $60/year.

Otixo supports unlimited cloud storage accounts with all paid subscriptions, starting at $47.90 per year or $4.99/month. Otixo also features “workspaces” in which you can share files from multiple cloud resources with colleagues.

If you're using more than one cloud storage service, any of these tools that make the cloud look like just another drive or folder on your PC, Mac or mobile gadget will simplify your life. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Juggling Free Cloud Storage Services?"

Posted by:

26 Mar 2015

I must be old fashion. I have no good reason to use the cloud computing at all. I still want to have control over all my documents and every thing else I do on my computer. There haven't been anything I need to do that Photoshop or Excel wasn't able to do for me. Windows movie maker can try your patience on times, but combined with a few free programs like DVD Flick and VLC Media player, I can do every thing I want without filling my computer up with Apps that I believe in the future will cost us all more than we can afford.
When the web was trying to get everyone connected, there was no limit to all the free material available. Not anymore! I believe the cloud and all those free Apps will go the same route.
I will continue to use my old system even if it is a off line system just to be able to do things the way I enjoy.
No better time than now to find good used computers at a real good price with real storage and RAM that I can keep on using down here for a while yet. I Enjoy your articles Bob.

Posted by:

peter loppe
26 Mar 2015

If I end up having to pay a monthly fee for consolidation free cloud service anyway is it not simpler to use that money to purchase sufficient cloud storage coverage from a single supplier directly?

Posted by:

26 Mar 2015

These have great potential.

I pay for a big dropbox limit (TB?) which has all kinds of shared files/folders. I'm thinking about creating a second free dropbox to literally put on my smaller laptop (that can't handle having all the files on it). Then I can only share those files that I really need on the smaller computer. That way the necessary files are available offline.

So, will it mess with the apps in your article if I have priary@gmail.com in the app as a drive letter and a different@gmail.com email dropbox physically residing on the computer? I would think that would be okay, but curious.

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
26 Mar 2015

Shouldn't I be leery about giving Bdrive, Inc., or anyone else for that matter, the log-in credentials to all my cloud storage services?


Posted by:

26 Mar 2015

Unless you ONLY upload files that have no personal details, there are enough risks involved in relying on Free Cloud Storage for your backups without also sharing all your log in details with another app or website!

I do use a couple of Free Cloud storage facilities to back up non-sensitive data. But I have never yet had to restore files from them because I have two portable USB drives to which I backup all my non-sensitive data and Windows Images daily. I also have a VerCrypt drive on both of my USB drives for all my encrypted sensitive data.

Posted by:

Tom R
26 Mar 2015

Thanks Bob! I'll give it a ride. One question: When will it be hacked to gain access to all my credentials for all my cloud storage?

Posted by:

Smoky Lowe
26 Mar 2015

I for another would never use the cloud for anything. I will keep my stuff on my hard drive where I know where it is safe. I may be old fashion also but the new junk is just that and have no use for the good hard drive and back up drives. Thank you, keep up the good work but think of us old timers some times.

Posted by:

26 Mar 2015

I guess I'm missing something here, because I can't see any compelling reason to use any of the services mentioned above. If all these do is give you folders or drives, how does that change what you already get from these cloud storage systems since the main thing is to store and keep files, so you generally create folders accessible from Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. Keeping them synced so that on your PC and Mac and mobile devices also have access to the storage.

Organization might be the key, so, for example, my photos, I create a photos folder on my PC and Mac desktops, then I have shortcuts or aliases to the various photo folders in the various cloud services. I guess it takes some discipline to manage this, but none of above apps takes the discipline away, they just make things the same way as my photos folder does, plus my solution keeps them all in one place and it is free.

Posted by:

John F
26 Mar 2015

Ransomware. One of the reasons to backup to the cloud as redundant protection is in the event of a ransomware incident. Would the ransomware then be able to encrypt all files saved through these cloud consolidation applications? If so, then I need something that insulates the cloud storage sources, but makes them accessible at the same time. Big order to fill. Thanks, J

Posted by:

Larry M
26 Mar 2015

I see a lot of comments from people saying they would rather keep their data "safe" on their own Hard Drive or USB device. And I understand fully where they are coming from but there are other dangers. Dangers such as fire and theft. I you are not going to utilize a cloud service I would recommend at least keeping backups somewhere off site. Just my two cents.

Posted by:

26 Mar 2015

What about I-drive you touted?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Apples and Oranges. iDrive is cloud backup. This is software to manage cloud storage.

Posted by:

Mike Higgins
27 Mar 2015

I must be missing something. Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive are all three installed on my computer...and all are listed as Favorites in Windows Explorer...so I can drag and drop now...just without Drive Letters. Why do I need more?

Posted by:

27 Mar 2015

Perhaps, I am missing something and, perhaps, it is not as feature-rich as NetDrive/Primadesk/Webdrive/Otixo but I like and use CarotDAV.
"CarotDAV is a Simple WebDAV / FTP / OneDrive / DropBox / GoogleDrive / Box / SugarSync / Copy / IMAP client for Windows OS, available free of charge."

Posted by:

21 Jan 2016

WebDrive is actually now only $40 and the license lasts until a new version is released--you no longer pay yearly renewals. There are also some added connectors such as OneDrive for Business and Box. Download a free trial here: http://southrivertech.com/products/webdrive/download/

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