5 Options for Transferring Large Files

011414-transferlargefiles-0There comes a time in every business owner and employee’s life when you need to share a large file or a large amount of data with someone else. Whether that person is across the hall or across the country, here are five ways you can transfer a large file from your computer to someone else’s.


Email can be the fastest and easiest way to transfer a file; just drop it in as an attachment and click “send.” But, for extremely large files – think bigger than 5 MB – you need to consider whether your email system (or the recipient’s) can handle a file transfer of this size. Large files can clog an email system and slow everyone down.

If you must transfer by email, set up an email account for your business on a web-based email service like Google, Yahoo, or Hotmail, and ask your recipient to do the same. Most of these services will allow you to email a file up to 25MB.

A tip: Whenever you’re sending a file to someone, touch base first to let them know it is coming. Most smart email users will not open an unsolicited email attachment, even from someone they know.

The Cloud

No matter where you and the person you want to share a file with are – whether you’re close or miles away – sharing through the cloud is an easy and often free option. Services like Dropbox and Evernote allow you to create folders (Dropbox) or notebooks (Evernote) and then share them with whoever you choose. The person is then sent an email that you’ve shared a folder with them, and they can then access and download the files. Most of these cloud services have free and paid options, the difference being how much you can store in their system and whether there are ads present.

USB Thumb Drive

Sometimes a physical solution is the best way to transfer a large file. If you’re going to be seeing someone in person – or can just walk across the hall – put your file onto a USB thumb drive that can then be plugged into the other person’s computer. Be aware, though, that for security reasons, some computers – especially government-owned ones – cannot accept a thumb drive.

Make sure your thumb drive is large enough for your file! There’s nothing worse than promising to bring a file to a meeting and then realizing it’s too big for your drive. Plan ahead!

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP is a standard method for transferring files from one host to another over a network, typically the Internet, though you could also use this to transfer files internally on your business’ network. A user on your end logs into an FTP client (see some free recommendations below) and uploads a file to a folder on your public or private network.

And this is the big advantage to FTP: Files uploaded by FTP can be viewed in a browser, meaning you can send your recipient a URL to the file via email. They can then view or download the file.

Not sure you have FTP set up for your business? We can help you determine whether an FTP is already set up for your business, and if not, we can set it up for you and show you how to access and use it.

Some recommended FTP clients, all free: FileZilla, Free FTP, or WinSCP.

Over Your Network

If you’re transferring a file to another computer in your office or on your business’ computer network, you use your network to drop the file on someone else’s machine or into a shared folder. How-To Geek explains how to set up simple file sharing between two computers:

To enable simple file sharing in Windows, head into the Control Panel and go to Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center. Hit Change Advanced Sharing Settings and make sure network discovery, file and printer sharing, and public folder sharing (the first three options) are all turned on. Then, head down the list and Turn off password protected sharing, and check "Use user accounts and passwords to connect to other computers".


To share files in Windows, open up Windows Explorer; you should see all available computers (regardless of operating system) under Network in the Explorer sidebar. If you click on one, you can access its Public folders, in which you have both read and write access (so you can copy files to your machine, as well as copy files from your machine to theirs).

Not sure what the right solution is for your situation? PNSolutions can help! Customers of our help desk services can call us anytime with questions like this. Contact us today to get started.

Or, we can help you set up an FTP server or enable your computers to share files with each other. Contact us today so we can help.

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