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AOL Xdrive Desktop Lite Online Storage Software

At a Glance
  • AOL Xdrive Desktop Lite

    PCWorld Rating

AOL's new Xdrive Desktop Lite application makes accessing the files and folders in your Xdrive online data-storage account even easier. The app, still in beta, has some useful features--such as the ability to preview media files--but it can be confusing to use.

An Xdrive account with 5GB of storage is available for free (a 500GB account costs $10 per month). Previously, you could access the storage space only via your Web browser or through the Xdrive Desktop utility, which assigns a drive letter to your virtual Xdrive in Windows Explorer. Unlike those two options, Lite runs in its own program window. It uses the Adobe AIR platform, which allows Web-based apps to run outside a browser.

The Lite interface looks very similar to Windows Explorer, with main folders such as My Music and My Documents listed on the left, and files and subfolders on the right. The right side of the screen displays the contents of your Xdrive in a pane at the top; a collapsible section in a pane at the bottom displays items stored on your hard drive.

To move files to your Xdrive account, you can drag and drop from Windows Explorer or your desktop into the Xdrive folder in the Lite program window, or from the hard-drive section in Xdrive Lite to the Xdrive section. Files automatically upload to your online storage space. You can queue up multiple uploads or downloads at once, and they'll show up under a separate section of your program window until they're finished.

Lite lets you preview music and videos in a built-in media player, and you can also use the program to share files. However, the sharing tabs--Email Share, Embed Code, and Share Status--lack explanatory text and can be confusing. Email Share allows you to share files by e-mail, Embed Code gives you the code you need to place a file on a Web site, and Share Status displays the files you are sharing currently.

Creating a new folder is another less-than-friendly process. The folder appears with the default 'New Folder' name, and you're not prompted to choose a different one. To rename it you have to know to mouse over the folder in the icon view and then click an arrow to find a drop-down menu with the rename option.

Right now, most users will find the more feature-rich, Explorer-integrated Desktop utility more appealing. But AOL says it will be adding features, such as automatic file syncing, so Xdrive users should keep an eye on Lite.

--Erik Larkin

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Desktop Lite is too light on features and can be confusing.


    • Lets you preview media files
    • Easy way to access your Xdrive account


    • Confusing to navigate
    • Can be taxing on your system
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