Store It on the Web

All your important files--text documents, spreadsheets, music and videos, you name it--may start out sitting safe and snug on your PC's hard drive. But what if the drive goes belly up, or runs out of room? And what if you'd like an easy way to share those files with coworkers or friends? Web-based storage services let you back up your data, store your files on a Web server, or share them quickly and simply with anyone, often at no cost. Of the 17 services we tried, our favorite backup service is IBackup, while the GoDaddy Online File Folder is our pick of the storage sites. And for sharing files, we like the free 4shared.com service.

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Also, before you select a service, see our safety tip below.

Safety Tip: Online Perils

A word of caution to anyone using online storage: Servers crash, and companies go out of business, both without warning. Never trust an online storage service with the only copy of your vital data. Also, while all of these services take measures to lock down your data, the privacy and security of your files is ultimately up to you. Be sure to encrypt all files holding personal data, and plan for the day your online files disappear.

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